The sounds of helmets crashing together and the roaring of the crowd can still be heard at War Memorial Stadium as the Razorbacks retake the field in Little Rock to open the season against Missouri State. Fourth and one with 21 seconds left, down by six, and no time outs, Casey Dick’s pass shreds the Tigers’ defense to the corner of the end zone, London Crawford reaches up, TOUCHDOWN! It was a Razorback classic as Arkansas defeated LSU 31-30 in the final moments of the 2008 season.
“It is the greatest feeling in the final seconds to have my coaches and team believe in me to make that play,” senior wide receiver London Crawford said. “All 11 players on the field were doing it right.”
The play was a finalist for the Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year in 2008.
Crawford is no stranger to the spotlight playing in 37 games and starting 17 while at Arkansas. A recruit from Mobile, Ala., he instantly made an impact as a true freshman playing in all 14 games. In his first year, Crawford totaled five receptions for 117 yards, two touchdowns and led the team with an average of 23.4 yards-per-catch. Crawford has been a part of two bowl games, playing in the 2007 Capital One Bowl against the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers and the 2008 Cotton Bowl against Missouri.
Crawford has had an impressive career at Arkansas considering much of his time the quarterback was handing off the ball with a run-oriented offense featuring future NFL stars Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis in the backfield. He has a career total of 40 catches for 575 yards and four touchdowns. In 2008, he had a season high of three catches for 51 yards and a long reception of 34 yards against Texas. His catch against Texas was the second longest for a Razorback in 2008 and the longest by a wide receiver. He ended the season with 27 catches for 311 yards and one touchdown.
“I have made immense progress from where I was last year and am very excited about this year and how I am playing,” Crawford said. “I love my coaching staff, they have made all the difference.”
A new season begins, new stars emerge, and leaders will develop and among those leaders, Crawford stands with a commanding presence on the field and playmaking abilities. He has earned the respect of his teammates leading by example with a strong work ethic and passion to succeed.
“As a senior they look to me to lead this team,” Crawford said. “I am ready to step up and answer the call.”
The 2009 offense will feature an array of new talent fighting for starting positions. Greg Childs, Jarius Wright, Cobi Hamilton and Joe Adams are a few of the young names to watch for this season. The continued development of the underclassmen has created competition that has forced the veterans to work even harder.
The 2009 offense has come together as a cohesive unit with all the ingredients necessary for a solid season. Crawford is experienced and if he gets momentum early in the season, he will gain the confidence to have a breakout season that the Razorbacks need. His blend of size, speed and athleticism make him a vital weapon this season for the Razorbacks.
As he writes his final chapter wearing an Arkansas jersey, he is ready to start the season giving it his all. Crawford will be a player to watch this season with his capability for a standout year and hopes to build off his electric performance against LSU a year ago. Crawford is anticipating the start of some hard-hitting gridiron action at War Memorial Stadium.
“Little Rock fans are fired up and wired up, they love me and I love them, ” Crawford said. “Being there is an adrenalin rush, the sounds of the stadium surround you and makes you feel that you are a part of something truly special.”
Crawford embraces the passion that Arkansans have for the game and uses the crowd’s energy to help him execute big plays.