[This is the eighth in our annual series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the previous season’s freshman class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming season. Up next is running back Marcus Crowley.]
A 4-star running back from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, Marcus Crowley showed up on Ohio State’s radar relatively late in the 2019 recruiting cycle.
It wasn’t until October of 2018 that the Buckeyes finally offered Crowley, who was committed to the Miami Hurricanes at the time. Three weeks after they offered, Crowley took an official visit to OSU. He quickly decommitted from Miami and committed to Ohio State that same weekend.
Crowley then went on to finish up an incredible senior season where he rushed for 2,325 yards and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Florida.
The senior year performance and interest from the likes of Ohio State and Alabama raised Crowley up the recruiting rankings, but only so far. In the final 2019 recruiting rankings, he was the No. 26 running back and No. 370 player in the nation overall. He was also deemed the No. 44 prospect in the state of Florida.
Crowley signed with Ohio State over offers from Miami, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Penn State, Bowling Green, and many others.
Crowley enrolled early and showed pretty quickly that he would be able to give the Buckeyes some carries as a true freshman.
“Marcus Crowley’s really shined,” said Buckeye head coach Ryan Day late in spring ball. “He’s a young guy who was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida and he’s got a lot of experience down there playing but not in college. So he’s working through those reps and he’s learning every day and he knows what he’s doing and he’s playing fast. He’s a big, strong back running downhill.”
Crowley ended up finishing fourth on the team with 237 yards on just 25 carries (9.5 ypc) and one touchdown. He played in seven games before suffering a knee injury against Maryland. He had rushed for 82 yards on eight carries against the Terps when his injury occurred.
Six of Crowley’s 25 carries went for at least 10 yards last season, three went for at least 20, and two went for at least 30. His long carry was 53 yards.
So Now What For Marcus Crowley
Crowley showed himself to be a tough runner with good vision as a true freshman. His health this spring is still up in the air, however, so Ohio State isn’t yet talking about what he may or may not be able to do.
In fact, Ohio State has been pretty quiet about the injury entirely, so who knows what Crowley’s prognosis for 2020 looks like.
Even with a significant injury like an ACL tear, the start of fall camp would be right in line with that 9-10 month recovery period that normally happens.
Crowley should eventually get to carve out a spot for himself in the running back rotation. And if he’s healthy enough, he will compete for the starting job.