E.A. Sports Today

Crump ready for JSU

Ohatchee receiver accepts offer to become preferred walkon for Gamecocks

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE — Blayde Crump knew he was going to play college football somewhere in the fall and for the longest time it looked like he’d be going away from home to do it.

But his best opportunity wound up being closest to home.

Crump had just about resigned himself to playing at Huntingdon until John Grass entered the picture. The Jacksonville State coach invited the Ohatchee receiver to watch a practice and later hinted how he’d like to have him in camp as a preferred walkon.

On Wednesday in the school library, with family, coaches and senior teammates around, Crump signed his letter of intent with the Gamecocks.

Crump said he never really considered JSU before because he wanted to spread his wings, but the opportunity was too good to pass.

“It was just unreal,” he said. “I didn’t really believe it at first. I just thought it was my dad maybe trying to make me feel good or something like that. Then he showed the messages Coach Grass texted him.

“I never expected I’d get the opportunity to play for a Division I school that’s really up there. I’m perfectly fine with this.”

The plan is for Crump to attend JSU on two years on academic aid, redshirt next fall to get stronger and faster, then as he rises up the depth chart move into an athletic scholarship for the remainder of his eligibility. The Gamecocks have a history of developing walkons into productive members of the lineup.

Crump was a reliable and valuable receiver in then-new Ohatchee coach Scott Martin’s spread offense in 2014, but the passing priorities dwindled when the Indians went to a more power running attack last season.

He was still the go-to receiver from the wing, but with fewer chances to catch and run he developed into a better blocker.

In 2014 he caught 24 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns. Last season he had an 18.2 yards per catch average, rushed 39 times for 150 yards and scored three times.

“His being able to go to JSU as a preferred walkon is a testament to his overall ability as an athlete,” Indians football coach Scott Martin said. “In college football, just like professional football, the more you can do, the more diversified you are, the better chance you have.

“There’s a lot of guys out there who can catch a ball but won’t stick it up in there and block. He’s physically tough, he’s mentally tough, he comes from a football background. I think he has a lot of potential that he wasn’t maybe able to show this past year because we kind of modified the offense.

“Was it what was best for him? No. But it says a lot about being a team player and doing what we asked him to do. I have nothing but admiration for what he’s been able to accomplish and I look forward to him being successful at the next level.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login