WACO, Texas — It’s unseasonably cold in central Texas. The heavy coats don’t give it away as much the way everyone is walking on their heels because their toes are numb. It’s not typical Texas high school football weather, even in the fourth round of the playoffs.
Jaquayln Crawford is moving like that between snaps, but something changes for the Rockdale (Texas) High School receiver/cornerback once the ball is snapped. That bounce returns as he takes off and explodes out of a break.
The 4-star receiver and top-rated pass catcher in Oklahoma’s 2018 class put on a show Friday night in Rockdale’s 42-20 victory over Teague in the Class 3A-1 quarterfinals.
The individual statistics don’t tell the full story of Crawford’s impact. He’s had bigger receiving games than 3 receptions for 71 yards. Crawford’s 5 rushing attempts for 51 yards weren’t anywhere near a season high. An example of one of those carries is below.
But early in the second quarter, Crawford snags a 48-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers the lead for good. Quarterback Torry Locklin lofts a perfect pass down the sideline. Those are easy throws. Overthrowing Crawford is difficult.
A couple minutes later it’s Crawford who does the throwing, connecting with Tyler Lehmkuhl for a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Defensively, there is the interception in the end zone late in the second quarter to go with the drive-killing pass breakup in the end zone when Teague had taken the momentum back in the third quarter.
Throw in a key block to set up the Tigers’ final touchdown drive and you see why Rockdale coach Jeff Miller is so fond of him.
“Obviously, he’s one of the best athletes in the state of Texas and he’s explosive and he’ll do the other stuff,” Miller said. “He’ll throw blocks when has to and make tackles and do all the things. He’ll do the dirty work too. He’s just special.”
Jaqualyn Crawford wants to enjoy it while it lasts
There’s something special about a Texas high school football team in the midst of a playoff run. Rockdale (population 5,800) showed up in force for the fourth round of the Class 3A-1 playoffs. Looks like nearly 20 percent of the town packed into the visitor’s side of Waco ISD Stadium for the game Friday. The 70-mile drive north up U.S.-77 and the need for winter gear wasn’t a deterrent.
“It’s indescribable,” Crawford said. “The feeling of being in a small town and having the whole community behind you and being able to play every Friday with your brothers and the guys you’ve grown up with your whole life. The whole town is behind [us] and there’s no better feeling.”
The feeling won’t last forever. Crawford’s days as a full-time resident of Rockdale tick down daily. He committed to Oklahoma in July. He already had a plan in place to make sure he was in Norman by June 2018.
“I wanted to commit before my senior year just in case I got hurt and schools couldn’t drop me or whatever. It was perfect timing and meant to be,” he said. “It was definitely a stress relief. I know where I belong. Now I can focus on getting a state championship with my brothers.”
What Jaquayln Crawford brings to Oklahoma
Receivers are rarely in short supply for the Sooners. The 2017 season underscored that assumption. What Crawford brings is another quick and fast option at either the slot or outside receiver spot.
What stands out most about Crawford is his burst. When he runs, it looks like he’s gliding. Then there’s the burst when he kicks it into gear. It was most visible when playing defense. Crawford can give that illusion that a receiver is open and then erase the gap when the ball is in the air.
“He’s a stud. He can flat-out fly,” said Oklahoma 2018 commit 4-star quarterback Tanner Mordecai from Waco (Texas) Midway High School.
But that’s not where Oklahoma will use him. Crawford is another weapon for an offense trying to stockpile all of them it can.
Crawford cited the Sooners offense as the reason he’ll enroll at Oklahoma in January.
“I figured it would it would give me an amazing opportunity to play early and that’s what I’m trying to do — get on the field up there,” Crawford said. “Get up there and get those spring practices in and get used to the offense. It was the best decision for me.”
It would be a surprise if he doesn’t make an impact in the 2018 season.
“I’m telling you, he’s one of the smartest kids I’ve coached in 25 years off the field, too,” Miller said. “But his football IQ is incredible and it makes it really simple. He learns quick and he’s a good leader. He does the work.”
The post Oklahoma recruiting: 4-star Sooners commit Jaquayln Crawford does the work appeared first on Diehards.
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