Tyrone Crowder stands head and shoulders above just about everyone he meets.
His appearance at Thursday’s WSOC Big 22 press day was no different.
Because of his size, he was the focus of everyone’s attention. Crowder, who is 6-3 and 320 pounds, was the only offensive lineman to hit the Carolina Panthers practice fields as a member of the Big 22. Even with a handful of Panthers going through a workout in the background, Crowder cast a big shadow.
Crowder was there with quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers and he looked like a fish out of water amongst the players he tries to clear a path to the end zone for each Friday night. He outweighed his fellow selections by at least 100 pounds.
While his size made him appear out of place, his talent did not. Crowder is the 97th ranked player in the country and is the No. 2 guard according to ESPN. Crowder is so highly thought of, he received an invitation to Nike’s The Opening at its national headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. with other top prospects.
“Offensive linemen are generally not in a group like this,” Richmond coach Paul Hoggard said. “He’s one of the top recruits in the state, in fact, one of the top lineman in the nation. For Tyrone to be here speaks very highly of him.”
Crowder’s list of schools which have offered him a scholarship is like glancing at a Top 10 poll – South Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, Auburn and the reigning national champion, Alabama. Other members of the Big 22 are being recruited by or have committed to similar teams like Oregon, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia Tech.
Even though the glare of the spotlight shines brightly on him, Crowder prefers to remain in the shadows. Events like the Big 22 and The Opening aren’t Crowder’s forte although his coach would beg to differ.
“It’s not his favorite thing to do,” Hoggard said. “Once he starts doing it, he handles himself pretty well.”
At times during the activities, Crowder looked as if he wanted to be anywhere else in the world, including the dentist’s office, rather than in front of the camera and talking about himself.
“It comes with the territory,” Crowder said. “At first I didn’t really want to do things like this, but I’m getting there slowly.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org