Justin Crawford will sit out Heart of Dallas Bowl

LAWRENCE, KS - SEPTEMBER 23: Justin Crawford
LAWRENCE, KS - SEPTEMBER 23: Justin Crawford /

Justin Crawford had a decent career for the WVU football team. He has played his final game with the Mountaineers.

This week, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen announced that Justin Crawford will sit out the Heart of Dallas Bowl in order to prepare for the NFL Draft.

From an individual standpoint, it’s a good move. Crawford has a chance to hear his name called in the NFL Draft, however he is likely to be a third or fourth round selection, at best. Even more personal, Crawford has a family and he has long wanted to provide a better life for his wife and kids.

When Crawford first arrived in Morgantown, he worked the night shift at Taco Bell, according to ESPN, while also juggling classes, practice and his family care. His mind is in the right place and he is putting others in front of himself. Crawford probably didn’t get enough credit for being the genuine person he is and the man he is becoming each day.

Justin Crawford’s season was a bit of roller coaster. He started out on fire and slipped in the bottom half of the season. As the West Virginia offense was surging early on, Crawford was helping that charge on the ground. He five-straight games of 100 or more rushing yards.

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He dropped off starting with the Texas Tech win and had three-straight games of rushing for no more than 47 yards. After two more games with 100-yard performances, Crawford finished the year by missing that mark twice, against Texas and Oklahoma. In his final game with the Mountaineers, Crawford carried 17 times for 97 yards.

All in all, Crawford’s career at WVU lived up to expectations. He played well in his two season finishing with 1,184 yards in 2016, making him the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year, and 1,061 yards in 2017, making him the third leading rusher in the conference.

He made waves even before coming to West Virginia as a star running back in the deep south. While at Northwest Community College, he was featured on the Netflix Show “Last Chance U” as a highly regarded star. He was the opposition in a big game for the school featured on the show, East Mississippi Community College. Crawford was regarded as the No. 3 running back in the junior college circuit, according to 247sports.com.

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The absence of Justin Crawford will limit WVU’s offensive choices in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Utah. But what is more alarming is this trend of players nixing their final bowl game in hopes of staying healthy for the NFL Combine and Draft. It may be good on an individual level, but from a team perspective, it may feel like a letdown.