London Crawford is a junior wide receiver from Mobile, Ala., recruited by LSU, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Louisville, Miami (Fla.) and Southern Miss. He finished his senior year with 31 receptions and 837 yards with seven touchdowns. As a junior he caught 21 passes for 546 yards with six touchdowns. Those numbers led Rivals.com to rank him the 30th-best receiver in the nation and the 11th-best out of Alabama. He was also tabbed the No. 24 overall player coming out of his home state.
With such lofty numbers and high national rankings one might ask the question, why Arkansas?
“Rather than just having friends and teammates, the guys here were a family,” Crawford said of his decision. “I grew up an only child, and basically these are my brothers. I feel like I’m really wanted and those guys keep me going.”
Growing up in Alabama, Crawford loved football from the beginning. He played basketball and baseball as well, but liked the contact of football.
“I really like contact,” Crawford said. “I was one of those kids where in basketball somebody would hit me, and I’d get mad I couldn’t hit them back. In football if you get hit, you can go hit them back. That’s why I liked football best.”
Now Crawford is a key ingredient in the Razorbacks campaign for success.
Crawford has been at Arkansas for three years, and began competition right away as a freshman. He played in all 14 games and was utilized as a split end and specialist in the return game. He caught five passes for 117 yards in his first year and his 23.4 yards-per-catch average was the highest on the team. He returned two kickoffs for 39 yards, his longest a 22-yard return. Crawford also played in the Capitol One Bowl against the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers.
As a sophomore, Crawford played his fair share as well, recording eight catches for 147 yards. Once again, he was part of the bowl game experience in Dallas, Texas, at the Cotton Bowl.
This experience is key for such a young Razorback team. He knows what it’s like to play on the big stage and in the spotlight. When the Hogs lose, he’s one of the older guys the youngsters listen to and Crawford knows he needs to be an example to his teammates.
“I keep my head up and show leadership by example,” Crawford said. “I keep smiling and stay positive, instead of breaking down, and saying man we lost another game. You have to stay focused and get ready for the next week.”
Being one of the Hog’s leading receivers, Crawford was excited about the offense brought about by new head coach Bobby Petrino. His role on the offense has taken a drastic change and he is enjoying it.
“It’s the coaches,” Crawford said of what he likes of the changes. “I’ve never had a coach run up and down the field chasing me. They tell me great job when I’m doing well and good job when I’m doing bad to keep my head up. When I’m doing good, they’re always still on me to do better. It’s good to have a coach that can be a father figure for me.”
This season, Crawford and the newfound offensive scheme are working together wonderfully, switching up plays and formations, and keeping defenses guessing as to what may come next.
In his three years in the Natural State, Crawford has learned to love his adopted home.
“There isn’t too much to do to get you in trouble, but it’s enough to keep me busy,” Crawford said. “It keeps me being a good guy. Everybody seems to like me around here. This is more of a football state that follows their team whether we are winning or losing.”
Crawford is one of the Razorbacks everyone is eyeing to be a leader and a standout player for the Hogs. He has two years of playing experience in big games behind big time players. He knows how to handle the tough situations and how to be a leader, which is what the younger Razorbacks need.