By Will Patterson
Arkansas Media Relations
Rudell Crim hasn’t missed a game yet. Crim, a senior safety for the University of Arkansas football team, has started every contest for the Razorbacks since his arrival in Fayetteville. In his first season on the team in 2009, he started all 13 games at cornerback for UA, recording 43 tackles and tying for the team lead in pass breakups.
Crim hails from Tallahassee, Fla., and was childhood friends with former UA running back Michael Smith. Crim took his long-standing relationship with Smith into consideration when considering where to play.
“Coming to Arkansas after Michael Smith was just like high school again,” Crim said. “Following him here was like going from middle school to high school behind him. He pretty much was a nice percentage of why I came here.”
At the end of practice this past spring, Crim switched from cornerback to safety. He has 28 tackles and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions through six games this season.
Coming out of high school, Crim was a highly sought-after safety. He decided that junior college was his best option and attended Butler County Community College, known to have one of the best football programs at that level. In two seasons with the Grizzlies, he recorded 69 tackles and six interceptions. During his second season, Crim helped lead them to a National Junior College Athletic Association national title. Upon leaving Butler County, Crim was the seventh-ranked junior college player and chose to attend Arkansas over Ole Miss, Illinois, USF, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Oregon and West Virginia.
Crim was impressed with Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino during the recruitment process.
“Coach Petrino recruited me out of high school, but then he went to coach in the NFL. He came to Arkansas and actually took the time to find me so that really showed me how much he cared and that I was in the back of his mind.”
The extra effort worked for Coach Petrino, with Crim now making a huge impact on the Razorback defense.
All football players go through some changes and deal with adversity. Crim has had his fair share of them with two colleges and now two positions. He played safety in high school and junior college, then switched to corner his first year at Arkansas. The previous experience with corner has helped Crim with his new role.
“Having started 13 games at corner really helped me out in my transition to safety,” Crim said. “I’m able to know where the corner is supposed to be on certain plays, and that helps me out. As far as the coaches, they knew I had a background at safety and that I liked to hit hard from playing corner, so that has helped me with that transition.”
Crim admitted that playing the past two seasons for Arkansas has been special for him.
“This atmosphere is one of a kind.” Crim said. “You walk around and actually have people that speak to and know you. It’s not just because of football, either. They know you from the classroom. The whole atmosphere is one that you want to grow up in, and it’s what you dream about when you think of college. When I took my visit here I felt at home.”
Preparation is very important in football, and Coach Petrino and his staff keep the Razorbacks ready for every game. When game day comes, Crim is used to his routine.
“I usually come in and sit in my locker for about 10 minutes to get my mind right,” Crim said. “I get dressed a certain way every time. I take off my jacket and put it here, take off my pants and put them there, and then I put everything on left first. That’s basically how it goes.”
Experienced players like Crim have shown up to play every time the Razorbacks take the field. Crim noted the excitement is always there among his teammates when a home game is coming up on the schedule. Razorback fans undoubtedly feel the same way.