Oct. 27, 2003
By Matthew Shoultz, USC Sports Information
Not very often do you hear of football players earning scholarships to major college football programs after playing just one year of high school football. That is the case, however, with USC defensive back Ted Crawford displayed such incredible athletic ability as a senior at South Gwinnett High School in suburban Atlanta, that the Gamecock coaching staff did just that.
Carolina offered Ted the opportunity to be part of something special that head coach Lou Holtz was building. Crawford played both wide receiver and cornerback in high school and earned his way onto the Gamecock roster as a receiver before moving to cornerback in 2001. The senior is quick to point out that his high school quarterback, Georgia’s David Greene, helped him reach the next level of organized football.
“David is a very good quarterback,” said Crawford. “If it was not for him, I probably would not be here. He threw the passes in high school and all I had to do was run under them and show off my speed. I can honestly say that he got me here.”
After redshirting his first year at Carolina, Crawford saw action at receiver in 2000 by playing in all 12 games. The redshirt season allowed Crawford to slowly adjust to the higher level of competition while learning a game that was still relatively new to him.
“The redshirt season helped me in my transition to major college football,” said Crawford. “It was difficult at first because the players were so much bigger and faster. Since I only played one year of high school football, the game was still kind of new to me. I just had to learn to adapt.”
The three-time letterwinner has become one of the Gamecocks surest tacklers this season. Crawford, who is tied for third on the team in tackles, more than makes up for his size when it comes to bringing down opponents in the open field.
“I just try to be physical,” stated the 5-10, 185 pound cornerback. “No matter how bad the tackle looks all that matters is putting the guy on the ground.”
Crawford prefers defending receivers rather than making a tackle on a running back. The Lithonia, Ga., native, admits that the hardest part of being a cornerback for him is forgetting about plays that took place earlier in the game.
“I enjoy pass coverage because that is my job,” said Crawford. “I like to match up with the receiver; it’s just me and him on an island together one-on-one. However, the most difficult part is trying to forget the previous plays because you might have just given up a reception. You have to forget that play and know that you have more plays to go.”
Crawford hopes to achieve big things as a team and as an individual in the last half of his senior season and thinks that is possible because this team believes in one another.
“Individually, I want to help this team win by doing whatever I can,” said Crawford, “whether that means making big tackles or making interceptions. I need to get an interception and hopefully I will get one soon. As a team we want to make it back to a bowl game this season.”
As Crawford’s career as a Gamecock comes to an end, the senior remembers the struggles that he has encountered and realizes that they have helped him become a better football player and a better person. The thing that Crawford embraces the most is the relationships that have been forged with his Gamecock teammates.
“My time at USC has been fun and I feel blessed to be here,” added Crawford. “It has had its ups and downs, I went from receiver to defensive back, but overall I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here. I enjoy hanging out with my teammates more than anything else. I have made many new friends since I have been here and these guys are like family to me now.”