Last season, Tennessee started two true freshmen at cornerback, and both players excelled despite their youth and their inexperience playing the position. Both Bryce Thompson and Alontae Taylor had strong debut seasons with the Vols, and their development and success has caught the attention of other cornerbacks looking to find their college home.
Kitan Crawford is a four-star cornerback/running back who plays for John Tyler High School in Tyler, Texas. The talented athlete has been on Tennessee’s radar for months, and he just tweeted out his three finalists on Thursday afternoon. The Vols were included along with Oklahoma and Texas.
— Bug💂🏾♀️⚡️ (@KitanCrawford) June 6, 2019
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Crawford is the No. 298 overall player, No. 16 athlete, and No. 48 player in the state of Texas in the 2020 class. Along with his three finalists, he also holds offers from Texas A&M, Arkansas, Houston, Virginia Tech, Baylor, and others.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound athlete picked up an offer from the Vols back on February 21st of this year, and he’s already taken an official visit to Knoxville. Crawford came to UT’s campus on an official visit the weekend of the Orange & White Game. He also unofficially visited Oklahoma at the beginning of this month.
Back in late April, Crawford announced he had a final three of Tennessee, Texas, and Baylor. But in the weeks since then, Oklahoma has supplanted Baylor and are now in Crawford’s top three.
Not only does Crawford excel as a football player for John Tyler, but he’s a superb track athlete as well. Tyler has been timed running the 100 meters in a blazing fast 10.49 seconds, and he’s run the 200 meters in 22.16 seconds.
As far as his performance on the football field, Crawford is an exceptional athlete who flourishes both as a cornerback and running back. On offense, Crawford uses his speed and shiftiness to be a deadly ball carrier. He has good vision and is slippery, weaving in and out of tackles with ease. On defense, Crawford shows fluid hips and uses that same awareness he does on offense to break up passes and read quarterbacks. He has a good backpedal and can even hold his own against receivers who are taller than him. He doesn’t show off a lot of press coverage, so it remains to be seen how well he does with that aspect of being a cornerback.
In his junior season, Crawford totaled 30 tackles, two interceptions, and 12 passes defended on defense and picked up 269 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and 78 receiving yards and a score on three catches on offense according to MaxPreps.
Right now, the Vols’ only cornerback commit in their 2020 class is from four-star JUCO cornerback Art Green. Tennessee doesn’t have any players committed to them from the state of Texas in their 2020 class as of yet.
Crawford seemed to really like Tennessee on his official visit back in April, and UT is so far the only school to get an official visit from him. But the emergence of Oklahoma is concerning for the Vols’ chances of landing him, and Tennessee is clearly the program furthest away from him. Both Texas and Oklahoma are far closer to Tyler, TX than Knoxville.
If distance isn’t a major factor for Crawford, then the Vols have to like their chances with him. But Texas has been involved with him for a bit too, and Oklahoma has to be intriguing for any dynamic athlete coming out of high school right now. Tennessee is in a good spot, but they are far from the clear cut leader.