Making it official: Dadeville’s Rod Crayton signs with Southern MissPublished 10:46am Thursday, February 7, 2013
By Ed Bailey
Dadeville’s defensive line anchor has made a decision on where he will attend college and play on Saturdays.
Rod Crayton, the highly-touted defensive tackle of Dadeville High School, has decided to commit to the University of Southern Mississippi.
According to Dadeville head football coach Richard White, Crayton made the decision about a week ago, shortly after his official visit to Hattiesburg, Miss. on Jan. 25.
Southern Miss was a late addition to the list of possible destinations for Crayton, who at one point in time held offers from more than 15 schools.
Among those potential destinations were LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Mississippi.
Crayton is one of the most decorated defensive players from the region. The 6-foot-1 310-pounder was the 2012 Class 4A Lineman of the Year, and was a finalist for the award last season.
In addition, Crayton was named to the Class 4A All-State team in 2011 and 2012. He was also named to the All-Outlook team in 2011 and 2012 and he has been named to the All-Outlook Super 12 team for the past two seasons.
He accumulated 157 tackles, four sacks and recovered six fumbles for Dadeville this past season.
Crayton is ranked as the 11th best senior football player on al.com’s A-List.
The run-stuffer said his decision came down to where he felt most at home.
“Most of the schools that recruited me, I didn’t feel as comfortable with them as I did with Southern Miss,” he said. “With Tennessee, I hadn’t talked to any of the new staff up there. I could have gone to Arkansas, but I didn’t know their staff.”
Another deciding factor was Crayton’s grandparents, who he said have supported him from a young age.
“It means a lot to me,” Crayton said of playing closer to his grandparents. “They’ve rasied me since I was a little boy. They went to a lot of my football games at high school. I wanted to be close so they could come and watch me at the next level.”
The senior lineman said that he was happy that the process was over and added that the Southern Miss coaching staff expects him to see the field early in his collegiate career.
“It feels good,” Crayton said of his decision. “I’m ready to get down there and compete and do what I need to do.”
Crayton said he looks forward to playing well and making his hometown proud.
“There are a lot of good players that have played at Dadeville,” he said. “Coming from a small town and knowing that I’m going on to represent them, it means a lot to me. I like it.”