May 5, 2013

Incoming Freshman Report: Lucas Crowley

Coach Larry Fedora has made it known to anyone that will listen that he intends to win championships at UNC, a message that has been heard loud and clear by his top recruits.

Ponta Vedra (Fla.) Nease offensive lineman and 2013 UNC commit Lucas Crowley spoke with Tar Heel Illustrated Saturday afternoon and said that was one of the things that stood out about UNC during his recruitment.

"Definitely had a lot to do with the school itself and what a great school it is," said Crowley. "Also the coaches, after seeing how they did this year and winning the coastal division for the first time in forever, you know that's the a big eye opener to see what we could with the players coming in if we all work hard together."

Everyone knows about the sanctions that prohibited UNC from playing in the postseason last year, including Crowley.

In some similar situations, players have decided to leave a program once such sanctions are handed down.

But once again,Fedora was able to impress the Florida big man with the way he handled that situation.

"That was one of the first things I asked when I got there was if the players had bought into the new coaching staff. He told me 'all of them except for one' and the one was a walk-on punter," said Crowley.

According to Crowley, Fedora and the staff are ready and excited to see what the future entails as they begin to bring in their own crop of hand-picked players.

"He said everyone's loving it and stuff so he's excited about our recruiting class because it's his first official 'just him' recruiting class (at UNC) and he's excited to see what kind of mold he can build since he's brought the players that he thinks can fit the program," said Crowley. "He's excited to see where we can go."

When asked if it's sunk in that in just a few short weeks he'll be a college student walking the halls of UNC's campus, Crowley admitted it's snuck up on him a bit.

"Not quite. It's hard to believe how fast it came."

Crowley's been working hard to get his body prepared for the rigors of his first college training camp. The UNC coaches are confident he's ready to go in one department while still giving him the same speech they give every incoming player getting ready to become a Tar Heel under the Fedora system.

"They couldn't stress enough on the running to get in shape for the speed of the offense," said Crowley. "They said that I knew I'd be ready as far as weightlifting goes, I'm already there. So the only thing they stressed was being in shape when I get there."

Crowley became an accomplished high school weightlifter, competing on his high school team and advancing far in competitions.

"You have sub-sectionals, then sectionals and then state finals. I won the sub-sectional and sectional and then finished second in the
state finals for 1A (in Florida)," said Crowley when talking about how far he got in the state weight lifting tournament last year.

He believes his weight lifting has complimented the workout schedule the UNC coaches have given him to help get him shape for the summer practices ahead.

"Ever since they sent me the workout schedule I've been following it by running and working out. Little things come up like I have a weight lifting competition for my high school," said Crowley. "At the same time, it helps, I've been working out hard as well as running."

Crowley will bring a versatile skill set to UNC, both on and off the field.
He played at the center position last year but has plenty of experience at all offensive line positions and is willing to help the team wherever they may need him.

"I know for a fact I can play guard. I've only played a year at center so I am comfortable there, very comfortable there. I've played in high school at the tackle position so I know that I can get the guard position down," said Crowley. "Tackle wise, I'm not sure I'm tall enough or lengthy enough to do it, but I know for a fact I can play guard. If they needed me there I would jump right on it but I can definitely play guard or center."

Crowley isn't much of an in-your-face kind of personality. But he expects to show his teammates he's a leader by the example he sets on the playing field.

"At my high school I was known as being a quiet leader. I didn't vocalize until we came to game time. I like to lead by example," said Crowley. "As far as versatility goes, I would know what the other players on the offensive line were doing so I would know what they are doing, where I'm going, where their supposed to be and where I'm supposed to be."

Any incoming freshman has likely given some thought to what uniform number they would like to wear. Crowley has as well but recognizes he may need to get comfortable with a different set of digits than the one's he wore in high school.

"I've actually through high school worn 68 and I wanted to wear 68 at UNC but I know big James Hurst wears 68 so I'm not real sure," said Crowley. "I don't really care as long as I play. I would like to be 68 but it'll definitely be a year before that happens."

As excited as Crowley and the coaching staff at UNC are that he's soon to be a member of the Tar Heel family, maybe nobody is more excited than Crowley's actual family back home in Florida.

"My family is very excited about UNC and my choice. They were a big part in helping me to make my decision. When I chose to go there they couldn't be happier," said Crowley. "They've been buying UNC stuff and stickers and shirts and hats and whatever they can get. My whole family is excited to see what happens."

When asked what he's most looking forward to about getting to college, Crowley said he's ready to just get the ball rolling and get familiar with being a college student.

"Just looking forward to getting acclimated and getting used to the college schedule between workouts and study hall."

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