Standout class of 2014 two-way athlete Kevin Crosby is always playing with an offensive mindset.
In anticipation of the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, to be held at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta, the Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-Ehrhardt underclassmen figures that he will line up with the linebacker group. But that doesn't mean he won't be thinking like a tight end.
"In 7-on-7, I just play defense like I am on offense," he said. "If the ball is in the air and it is near me, then it is mine.
"It is either going to be me getting the pick or knocking it down. But I am going for the ball."
Crosby was named the No. 2 overall player at the recent Rivals.com/VTO Sports camp in York, S.C., playing both positions, but says that come June 22-24 he will be working at the position he feels most comfortable, inside linebacker.
"I feel like I play linebacker a little better and I like it a little more, too," he said.
The 6-foot-1, 226-pounder has been timed with a 4.69 in the 40-yard dash and while many of the running backs that will be at the invitation-only camp will be faster than that, Crosby says that he knows how to handle them.
"I just let them make all the little shifty moves they want," he said. "As long as they are in front of me and running into the flat it is anyone's ball. I just make sure not to get beat deep. That is how to neutralize the advantage they have out there."
The advantage Crosby has, he says, is his competitive fire. Already with more than 25 offers from around the country - and being one of just 20 underclassmen invited to the Rival100 Five-Star Challenge - he says his fire to compete is what pushes him ahead of others.
"I always want to dominate," he said. "No matter the difference in age I want to go out and show that the hard work I have done, the hard work I am doing right now, is making me the best."
And he doesn't want to hear the excuses for those who decline opportunities to participate.
"If you are a competitor you always come out and compete," Crosby said. "I go to a lot of camps and I hate to see guys with offers and stuff that just show up and sit there. You can always get better and it just isn't me to sit on the sidelines."
He is also thrilled to see others that have chosen to come and compete - including fellow underclassman, Jalen Tabor.
"I have been checking to see who is coming," he said. "I saw we got some really good cornerbacks on my team and that (Tabor) kid looks legit."
His invitation to the event, he feels, is validation that he is in select company.
"It's an honor," he said. "Getting a chance like this is something you can't pass up."
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Mike Farrell's take
Crosby is one of the most versatile athletes in the country in the 2014 class. He'll be going at linebacker at the Challenge but could also see some time on offense if his coaches want to give him that shot. He did a lot of his work on the offensive side of the ball as a sophomore due to an injury to a key teammate, but as a linebacker he's fluid in his drops and has good instincts. He's also a competitor, a kid who never passes up a chance to compete and get better, and he will look to hold his own against some older prospects in Atlanta. He'll be part of a strong linebacker group and he could have the best natural balls skills of any of the linebackers chosen due to his offensive prowess.
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