Dudley E. Dawson is a reporter for Hawgs Illustrated. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a voter for the Heisman Trophy.
New Arkansas O-lineman Crawford a great talent
On the morning of Dec. 29, there were four sure things on my mind when my wife Petra and I arrived at Physicians Specialty Hospital in Fayetteville.
One, I never have been and never will be a morning person. A 5:30 a.m. arrival again proved that.
Two, I was doing the right thing in getting my right knee replaced, one that at age 57 had given all it could to me and was simply done. I had gotten to the point of not being able to walk or sleep much and it was doing a number on what is normally a daily positive mental outlook.
Three, there was excitement that after a two-day stay I would be home to watch Arkansas’ battle with the TCU in the Texas Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Finally, I believed that I would come back to the beginning of college football’s free agency with Arkansas being a player to land Ty’Keist Crawford, a former Carthage, Texas four-star offensive line recruit and then current Charlotte freshman.
Technically free agency is not what it is called, but might as well be since the rumblings were that the NCAA was going to approve a one-time transfer rule that would make any player immediately eligible.
It was a proposal developed by the NCAA Working Group on Transfers in November and was forwarded to the Division I council for a vote in January.
If the Texas Bowl hadn’t been canceled - something that happened as I was in the recovery room - I had offered up how someone could have played for TCU in the bowl game and then transferred and then played for the Razorbacks in Arkansas’ 2021 season opener.
But a funny thing happened along the way to what was thought to be just a formality for the legislation.
Instead of approving the the blanket waiver, the NCAA Council chose to table and delay it. They derlayed them at the request of NCAA President Mark Emmert, who strongly recommended that votes on the eligibility rule and one on student-athletes being able to use their name, image and likeness for profit.
With a new political administration about to take control and several cases headed toward the Supreme Court, Emmert wanted more time.
I understand that in regard to the name, image and likeness legislation, but not sure what it factors into the immediate eligibility rule.
Since that time, Crawford made his decision to transfer from Charlotte to Arkansas. The Hogs offered him out of high school along with Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Notre Dame and others. Eligibility issues forced him to Charlotte.
The engaging Crawford made the decision to come to Arkansas on Jan. 5 and was enrolled and in classes five days later.
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman and offensive line coach Brad Davis are thrilled to have Crawford in the program after he played in all of six of the 49ers games last season whole starting the final three.
Crawford is one of 15 early enrollees from a 2021 Arkansas recruiting class ranked 20th nationally by ESPN, 21st by 247Sports and and 23rd by Rivals.
“I think he has rare, elite talent,” Davis said. “He is 6-4, 345 pounds, but he is nimble and quick and has a great motor. I think he is an elite player and that’s the reason we have been chasing him for so long. He started as a true freshman at Charlotte and that says a lot so we have very high expectations of him and we think he has a great future here.”
Crawford will have five years to play four for the Razorbacks, who would love to have him ready to go right away if the immediate eligibility rule does get passed.
It’s also something that Carthage head coach Scott Surratt would love to see for a young man that has been a part of a program that has won 30 straight games, back-to-back state championships and 70 of its last 71 contests.
“He deserves it,” Surratt said. “He has worked his butt off on and off the field. He was a great player for us here. He did not give up any sacks in high school and was a staple for us at left tackle. The quarterback never had to worry about him on his drop backs and we ran behind him in the run game. He was a great player for us, had a great attitude and I know is extremely excited to be a Hog.”
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