In a flurry of commitments over the last week, Port Gibson athlete Maurice Crutison became the latest member to join the list. While he plays all over the field now, after undergoing knee surgery, he expects to play defense for the Bulldogs. What made him pick State? He and his coach, Harry Brown talk about the decision.
"I did it Tuesday," Crutison commented. "They had laid a scholarship out on the table and I had had surgery, and since someone still wanted to sign me after I did that, I decided to take that offer since it was on the table instead of letting it pass by.
"I haven' had a chance to get up there, but they are trying to get me up there for a Saturday. Coach Beamer called and they came by the school, but I wasn't at school that day."
"It was a quality SEC team coming and knocking at his door this early and he was kind of overwhelmed and he really did want to stay in state," coach Brown added. "We kind of talked about what coach Croom was doing with the team and the direction he was going in it was a good situation for him."
Crutison is being recruited by coach Shane Beamer, and after playing all over the field in high school, he is not sure where he will play in college, but he is sure which side of the ball it will be on.
"I don't really know, but he said he was looking at me on defense and how I was hitting and everything," he said. "I played inside and outside linebacker, but I like inside."
At 6-1 ? and 210 pounds, Crutison ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds before his injury.
"He is very explosive," Brown described his star player. "He is one of those what you call difference makers on the field. If he's on the right, he's going to run stuff down on the other side of the field. Then if they come at him, he is going to blow that up. He makes a lot of plays.
"On offense we use him several ways. He ran three kickoffs back. He had one reception for 97 yards. He is a difference maker on the field."
So with all of the talk about his injury, what happened and how is it progressing?
"I tore it up in football season (his ACL), but the doctor told me I didn't have to have surgery and that I could let it heal on my own," Crutison explained. "I tore it again during basketball season, and I just let it heal on my own again. Then I started running track on it and the doctor told me I would probably be best going ahead and getting the surgery, than to get it later in the year and mess with my football.
"When I started track it was doing good, but it started bruising up on me when I would run. I ran one track meet and ran four races in that track meet and went to a couple of practices and it started hurting me again so I went to the doctor and he told me I should go ahead and get the surgery.
"I already started rehabbing (after having the surgery performed on April 18), and I went to the doctor yesterday (Wednesday) and he said I should be walking by the next visit. I have been doing therapy and they have given me exercises to do at home. I should be running on it no later than June or maybe by the end of this month."
After a slow start academically in his ninth grade year, Crutison has made strides and should be on track to qualify now. He plans to take some summer classes this year to be on the safe side. He is also just one point shy on the ACT, so with a year to go, things appear to be in order.