Crayton wins 4A Lineman of the Year, talks recruitingPublished 10:58am Thursday, January 24, 2013
By Ed Bailey
When Dadeville’s Rod Crayton gets his hands on you, it’s pretty much assured that you’re not escaping.
Opponents would attest to that, but now the three-time All-State defensive tackle has something else in his grasp, something that eluded him last year.
He officially has recognition as the best at his position.
Crayton earned the 2012 Class 4A Lineman of the Year award after a scintillating season where he consistently stuffed the opposition for the Dadeville Tigers.
The 6’1, 310-pounder racked up 157 tackles, a stunning number for a defensive tackle, and added four sacks.
Crayton was a finalist for the award in 2011 but did not win it.
He said that coming so close in 2011 provided extra motivation for his play this season, and the honor was monumental for not only himself but his community as well.
“It’s great,” Crayton said of winning the award. “It was something I definitely wanted to get. Being from Dadeville, which is a small community than not many people in Alabama know about, it’s a big deal to me to win this award.”
The stoic stonewall of the Dadeville front line admitted that being named a finalist for the second straight year and winning the award did rattle him a bit.
“If you saw my speech at the awards banquet, you’d know I was nervous,” Crayton said.
There hasn’t been anything nerve-wracking about his play for the Tigers, though.
Crayton, who entered this past season fresh off his second straight All-State selection after racking up over 160 tackles as a junior, said he had to take his game to another level this year.
“This year, I knew I had to be a leader,” he said. “I did what I needed to do.”
One of those things he said he needed to do was taking on double teams to free up his teammates, which he said was the best attribute of a game that seems to have no holes whatsoever.
The ability to beat those double teams and open things up for his fellow defenders did not go unappreciated, as Crayton’s fellow Tigers were amongst the first to wish him well on his honor.
“A lot of my teammates have congratulated me for it,” he said.
Now with the award circuit done, Crayton sets his sights on a new goal: choosing a college to attend. Crayton had originally narrowed it down to four schools, but his search is now wide open.
He said that he has no clear favorite right now, but there is one thing in particular that he’s prioritizing as he continues his search: a college degree.
“I’m just looking at all the options right now,” Crayton said. “I want to go somewhere where I can be there for four years and graduate.”
Even the opportunity to declare for the NFL draft early, should that come up, would not deter Crayton from his desires to walk across the stage during collegiate commencement.
“I’d still come back and get my degree,” he said.
Two new schools have come forward on Crayton’s list of possible destinations.
The senior run-stuffer said that Washington State has moved into the conversation and tomorrow he will take another official visit to a potential destination.
He added he would still take his time in making his decision.
“I’m taking an official visit to Southern Miss on Friday,” Crayton said. “My official decision will come on Signing Day (Feb. 6).”
So while Crayton looks for his next destination, he will do so with the same determination, strength and intelligence that has earned him numerous accolades.
Whether it’s a college education or an opposing running back, when Crayton gets his hands on it, no one will take it from him.
As a result, numerous colleges are trying to get their hands on Crayton, with no intention of letting him go.