Justin Crawford thought a long time when he considered where he most hated to play, the hardest tackler in the Big 12 or who had the coolest uniforms in the league.
But when asked which Big 12 player was the best prospect for the NFL next season, West Virginia’s leading returning rusher didn’t hesitate.
“It’s me,” he said with a strong, unwavering voice.
Crawford’s confidence is understandable considering he rushed for 1,184 yards last season to rank second in the league. His 7.3 yard-per-carry average led the league and was sixth nationally.
The biggest reason for Crawford’s confidence stems from the way he has overcome a difficult upbringing in Columbus, Ga. From there, he spent two seasons at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
“Just because I’ve been through so much adversity, so many ups and downs,” Crawford said. “The struggle is beyond real. Just like everything I had to go through coming up.
“All of that stuff I just keep in and it motivates me and pushes me to go even harder.”
New QB should help Justin Crawford’s production
Crawford is excited about the arrival of transfer quarterback Will Grier. The former Florida standout’s passing abilities should loosen defenses and provide running lanes for Crawford.
“Teams won’t be able to stack the box against me,” Crawford said. “They’ll have to play the pass.”
Crawford rushed for at least 100 yards five times last season, including a monster 331-yard game against Oklahoma. The big effort ranks as the third-best rushing effort in school history.
With Grier’s arrival, Crawford is eager to see how defenses will attempt to stop the Mountaineers.
“It got frustrating at times last year,” Crawford said. “But good running backs can handle it. I tried to.”