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Ohio State: Contact-loving Marcus Crowley ready for spring camp push

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Ohio State early enrollee Marcus Crowley is pushing for playing time right away. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Ohio State: Contact-loving Marcus Crowley ready for spring camp push

His coach only could shake his head.

Once again, Marcus Crowley had broken into open field and then sought out some unsuspecting defender to punish.

Verlon Dorminey had seen it all, time after time from the four-star back who has already signed and reported to Ohio State and went through his first spring practice under new coach Ryan Day on Wednesday.

“Absolutely, no doubt he was looking for contact,” Dorminey, the 28-year veteran head man at Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.), told Lettermen Row. “There were times he was running in the middle of the field and chose to run over somebody instead of just making a quick move and running by them.”

Like Georgia transfer-quarterback Justin Fields and the rest of the early enrollees for the Buckeyes, Crowley is now in his first collegiate camp this week. Dorminey, who doubles as a real estate agent and has sent dozens of prospects into major college programs, has a first-hand scouting report of the strengths and areas requiring improvement for the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Crowley.

“A lot of his strength is as a between-the-tackles-type kid, he did a lot of that for us,” Dorminey said. “Once he gets in an open area he does have the speed to outrun people.

“But probably [work on] his vision a little bit. He has a tendency early on not to keep his head up and run with his eyes as well as he needs to. That will change.”

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Ohio State early enrollee Marcus Crowley has a chance to help the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Part of that, Dorminey already noted, has been Crowley’s willingness to embrace contact and take on would-be tacklers. Part of what the coach sees as a key attribute for future success at this level is Crowley’s ability to rise to the occasion.

“He pretty much was banged up his junior year — we still relied on him a lot, still had a great year,” Dorminey said, “But this year when we played, kicked off the season with a school called Braden River (Fla.), a big 7A school from downstate. We were down 10, 11 points in the third quarter and he just took over the game.

“He had a 9-yard run and then come right back and broke off another 30-, 45-yard run to put us ahead. He just wore them down. Just running that hard and playing that well.”

A longtime Miami commitment who switched late to the Buckeyes, Crowley has positioned himself with his early arrival to carve a potential role in a thinned-out Ohio State backfield led by J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague. Mike Weber is preparing for next month’s NFL Draft.

Miami’s bewildering close under since-resigned Mark Richt coupled with another tour de force through the Big Ten for the Buckeyes enabled Ohio State, with dogged pursuit from Tony Alford, to land Crawley.

“He started getting attention early on in tenth grade and he committed early,” Dorminey recalled. “That kind of knocked some attention off of him, and he pretty much stayed with it until Coach Alford came in this year and really wanted to put pressure on him about going to Ohio State. And Miami was really having struggles.

“One thing really changed his mind, the atmosphere and everything that takes place at Ohio State compared to Miami. They just don’t have that on-campus atmosphere with their stadium elsewhere.”

That first real taste at the Horseshoe will come soon enough. For now, Marcus Crowley will have to settle for contact on the practice field.

John Brice

With more than 20 years’ experience, John Brice is an award-winning journalist and former sideline reporter who primarily has covered SEC athletics, including a lengthy stint on the University of Tennessee beat.

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