You would be hard-pressed to come up with an Ohio State football player whose high school resume and recruiting rankings are more disconnected than freshman running back Marcus Crowley.
He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for 2018 in Florida. That’s a state that has produced a few players of some note over the years.
He rushed for 2,325 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior at Trinity Christian in Jacksonville, Fla., averaging 10.5 yards every time he carried the ball.
Again, this was against Class 5A programs – bigger than average high schools in Florida.
And yet, Crowley was ranked as a low four-star prospect by recruiting services, and the 44th-best prospect in his class just from his home state.
That disconnect is one reason why he’s among the more intriguing early enrollees to watch when the Buckeyes open spring practice next week.
Crowley knows he’s got a lot of work ahead of him in the six weeks before the Spring Game.
“Right now I got to get bigger, working on my speed,” he said earlier this month.
That process started during the Buckeyes’ winter workouts.
“It’s a whole other level up from high school,” Crowley said. “You got to get used to fighting through every rep that you’re not possibly able to do, but you got to fight through it anyways.”
With J.K. Dobbins back for his junior season and Demario McCall and Master Teague also likely to see a lot of action, Crowley may not get a lot of carries during the fall.
“J.K., Demario and Master, they’re all great backs, and I’m just trying to put the work in and wait my time,” Crowley said.
Part of waiting his time is adjusting to his new life. That means the rigors of college academics, Ohio winters, and a significant step up in competition from high school to a national powerhouse football program.
“It’s a big jump, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily too big or really big,” he said.
One reason the jump has stayed manageable is players like Dobbins, McCall, and Teague have made a point to help Crowley get his feet under him.
And heading into his first spring practice, he is focused on the big picture.
“I got trust. I trust in (running backs coach Tony Alford), I trust in all my teammates. All I can do is wait my time.”