2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Merrick, New Yor
Channing Crowder, MLB, Florida
Height: 6:02.3 Weight: 247
Overview: Born Randolph Channing Crowder, the son of former NFL defensive lineman Randy Crowder was a standout linebacker at North Springs (Atlanta, Ga.) High. He was a consensus All-American choice as a senior, recording 114 tackles with 7.5 sacks while also seeing action at tailback, where he gained 800 yards. Crowder was also named one of the state's top four linebackers by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But that season's high soon gave way to the realization that Crowder might never play college football. Crowder first underwent knee surgery as a sophomore with an anterior cruciate ligament transplant. After his senior year, Crowder again underwent surgery, this time on both of his knees. Shortly after his 18th birthday, on Dec. 2, 2001, he had additional knee surgery. There was another surgical procedure on the left knee in April 2002 to fix complications from his sophomore operation. He worked diligently to get back in shape, but had to sit out the 2002 season without enrolling at Florida to save a year of eligibility. He enrolled in January, 2003, but ran into a series of off-field problems in which he was arrested twice for fighting at a night club and once for vandalizing several automobiles with other Florida football players. A highly intelligent person, he was a member of the National Honor Society, carrying a 3.5 grade point average. On the field, he is brash and cocky, but has the talent to back up his bold outbursts. He earned National Defensive Freshman of the Year honors from the Sporting News and All-American accolades from the Football Writers Association in 2003, starting nine games at middle linebacker. He led the nation's freshmen in 2003 with an average of 8.2 tackles, and finished second on the squad with 106 tackles (65 solo), including a pair of sacks, five stops for losses and four pass deflections. As a freshman, he started nine times, earning a pair of starts in the middle and six others at weak-side outside linebacker, missing the season opener vs. San Jose State while serving a suspension (for his arrest at the night club). Crowder started eight of nine games in 2004, sitting out the Middle Tennessee game after again being charged in a fight and the Vanderbilt and South Carolina games after he strained tendons in his right foot early in the first quarter against Georgia. He still managed to finish as the team's third-leading tackler with 73 hits (44 solo), two sacks, 8.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, three fumble recoveries and an interception. In two seasons with the Gators, Crowder started 17 of 20 games. He produced 179 tackles (109 solo) with four sacks for minus-28 yards, 13.5 stops for losses of 44 yards and one quarterback pressure. Crowder also recovered three fumbles, caused two others, deflected four passes and had a 22-yard interception return. With his mentor, Ron Zook, fired as Florida's coach and taskmaster Urban Meyer taking over as head coach, Crowder decided to not return to the Gators in 2005 and test the NFL waters.
Analysis: Positives Crowder plays with a vengeance and shows great urgency in his play. He is quick to fill the rush lanes, but will struggle at times to disengage when he does not use his hands to keep blockers off his chest. In pursuit, he has exceptional acceleration to the ball and an explosive jolt on contact. Crowder displays very good body control on the move and the ability to make open-field tackles. He throws his body around recklessly to make the play and shows no fear on the field. He has a good blend of power and aggression, showing fluid moves and quick decision to generally always be in position to make the play. In pass coverage, Crowder is a little a stiff in his hips, but shows an excellent burst and quickness out of his breaks. He is like a safety in short area coverage, as Crowder can easily cover tight ends and running backs to the flats. He is also a solid deep coverage defender who can easily run with receivers in his zone. As a blitzer, he explodes coming off the edge and is very disruptive and productive in the opponent's backfield. He is very active working down the line and moves quickly to get into position to make plays. Rarely will you see him take false steps in zone coverage, staying in control to make proper reads. When Crowder is in motion, it is very difficult for an offensive lineman to block because of his shiftiness. Even when he is blocked, he gets rigid and holds his ground with strength. Crowder will generally use his hands effectively to slip away and makes plays through the blocks. You can see the hip stiffness when he misses some tackles, as he sometimes fails to stop his momentum. He is very effective at filling the rush lanes, demonstrating the power to shed, stack and control at the point of attack. He uses excellent closing speed and sideline-to-sideline range to get upfield quickly and position to make the big play in the backfield. Crowder has a relentless motor and never takes a play off. He shows good urgency working down the line and showed improvement playing in control during the 2004 season. As a freshman, he would get a little too reckless in his play and his momentum would see him overrun the action. He still must do a better job of taking proper angles to the ball. When he fails to position correctly, he will revert to arm tackles and he loses his lower body base in doing this. Crowder also must learn to play at a lower pad level, because when he gets too high in his stance, he can be washed out at the point of attack. As far as playing ability goes, Crowder is obviously the blue chip of the class, but his series of knee injuries and off-field issues will scare off a few teams. Crowder is blessed with incredible field awareness, outstanding speed and natural power, but durability and character issues will certainly come into play before a team makes a decision on whether to draft him. If someone can harness that energy and help him mature, he will be very productive at the next level. Still, with his speed and range, I wonder if he might bring better value as a weak-side linebacker than he can in the middle.
Agility tests: 4.62 in the 40-yard dash...360-pound bench press...580-pound squat...343-pound power clean...34-inch vertical jump...33 -inch arm length...9 -inch hands.
High school: Attended North Springs (Atlanta, Ga.) High, playing football for coach Kevin Whitley...A highly regarded linebacker, he garnered prep All-American recognition from Super Prep and that publication ranked him among the nation's top thirty linebackers. ... All-American pick by Prep Star and that publication ranked him among the Southeast's top 10 linebackers. ... Recorded 114 tackles in 2001 with 7.5 sacks while also rushing for over 800 yards as a senior. ... Named one of the top four linebackers in the state of Georgia by Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ... Named to the AJC's Super 11. ...Team MVP in 2001. ... Member of the National Honor Society.
Personal: Social and Behavioral Sciences major. ... Son of Randy Crowder, an All-American defensive tackle at Penn State (1971-73) who played in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins (1974-76) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1978-80) before spending two seasons as an assistant coach back at Penn State. ... Mother is Pauline Pope. ... Born Randolph Crowder Crowder on 12/02/83 in State College, Pennsylvania. ... Resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
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