TYLER — There are two sacred numbers at John Tyler High School. There’s No. 1 because head coach Ricklan Holmes believes that number is only for clear-cut leaders who are the best player on the team. And there’s No. 24 — the number that Holmes himself wore during his playing days at John Tyler.
Four-star athlete Kitan Crawford wanted to wear No. 24 entering his junior season. Holmes declined.
“He wore No. 36 until the fifth or sixth game of his junior season because he wasn’t playing consistently enough to earn the (24) number,” Holmes said. “He matured and played with confidence early last season and earned the right. I was proud of how he handled it.”
Top 3.. pic.twitter.com/fZRUJJnhr7
— Bug💂🏾♀️⚡️ (@KitanCrawford) April 5, 2019
Crawford has always been immensely talented. He checks in at 5-11, 200 pounds and is one of the state’s top 100-meters runners. That strength and size combination is tough to teach. He’s ranked as an athlete by recruiting services because of his exploits at running back in high school. But he’ll move to cornerback full-time once in college.
“I’ve been mostly working on cornerback,” Crawford said. “I’m working on my off-man and jam coverage.”
Crawford is a top-300 national prospect, per the 247Sports composite. He’s the No. 17-ranked athlete in the country, holding 23 offers. Texas, Tennessee and Baylor are his top three schools with an official visit to Texas expected in late June. Crawford wants to pick a destination by the end of summer so that he can fully focus on his senior season. He’s currently splitting time between spring football and track.
“Texas provides a great education. It’s the No. 1 business school. It’s close to home,” Crawford said. “Coach (Jason) Washington is like my dad. He’s cool. I can call him whenever and I know he’ll pick up the phone.”
Holmes watched Crawford blossom into an elite-level recruit from raw, talented youngster. The key was consistency.
“He played timid as a sophomore, and I’m not sure he really trusted his talent,” Holmes said. “He learned that he can’t afford to take days off and be ‘the guy.’ He’s had a great offseason and I love that he’s willing to get on the football field with his track responsibilities.”
Holmes sees himself in Crawford. The head coach was a cornerback and track star at John Tyler. Both were big, powerful prospects. The only difference is in the personality. Holmes was a talker. He describes Crawford as an old soul. A listener. A kid who hasn’t let the college attention change the daily grind.
“He’s done a great job staying grounded and listening to the people close to him throughout the process,” Holmes said. “He’s always asking questions and taking feedback. He understands the importance of staying focused. He knows that the work it took to get here is the work needed to remain in this position.”
Crawford is taking his role as leader to heart.
“I’m trying to get everyone on board for a new season. It’s bittersweet as a senior,” Crawford said. “We need everyone to have a positive attitude and be working.”
Texas needs Crawford with many in-state options already off the board. He’s one of 12 cornerbacks with an offer. The top target remains five-star Kelee Ringo of Saguaro High in Scottsdale, Ariz. In-state offers Jaylon Jones (A&M), Jalen Kimber (Georgia) and Ryan Watts (Oklahoma) are off the board, leaving prospects like Jahari Rogers and Joshua Eaton remaining within the state. Texas signed two cornerbacks in 2019.