October 22, 2008

4-star JUCO sees Rebels' weakness

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt has cautioned since last spring that a weak area on the 2008 Rebel football team is in the secondary and it only took watching Saturday's Sports Center highlights for Butler C.C. four-star cornerback Rudell Crim to see enough evidence to agree.

Last Saturday against Alabama, the Ole Miss secondary was hit on two long touchdown passes - one for 26 yards and then another for 30 yards- all in the first half.

"I didn't get to see the game on Saturday, but I watched the highlights and I was thinking that (Ole Miss) is a great team and I could help fix their problems in the secondary," Crim said on Tuesday evening. "I was thinking about how I really would fit in down there, but I also think I may fit in at some other schools. I want to look at the schools that have offered and look around, research some depth charts, and then decide what's best."

Crim was a highly recruited two-star rated prospect as an athlete coming out of Tallahassee (Rickards HS), Fla. in 2007. He received offers from Illinois, Louisville, Indiana, and Georgia Tech and drew interest from host of other schools, including Florida, before going unsigned and enrolling at Butler C.C. due to academic considerations for the 2007 season.

At Butler C.C. he's blossomed into a highly coveted four-star cornerback prospect that has been helped along due to his height (6-foot) and speed (4.4).

He has offers from Ole Miss, Iowa State and Louisville, and caught the attention of several other programs. Oregon, Arkansas, and Kansas State have recently offered.

While Crim says he's currently open and has no favorites, he talked very positively about the Rebels on Tuesday and indicated that, in all likelihood, Ole Miss would be a destination for one of his official visits.

Coach (James) Shibest (Rebels special teams and tight ends coach) was up recently," Crim said. "We talked a lot and he's telling me that they really need some help and I could provide that. But he's not pressuring me or anything."

In addition to the relationship with Shibest, who was formerly the head coach at Butler C.C., Crim has a relationship with Chris Vaughn, the Rebels' recruiting coordinator who played at Godby High School in Tallahassee in the mid-1990s.

"He's real cool, I've talked to him before," Crim said. "I guess you could say that he's been in my ear. We talk a lot about Tallahassee and the high schools and how the programs and teams are going."

Vaughn was also instrumental in recruiting Crim's former teammate at Rickards High School, Arkansas running back Michael Smith, who was a senior at Rickards when Crim was a freshman.

For now, Crim doesn't want to say which schools will receive official visits.

"I just don't know how far we will go in the play offs and how much time I'll have to take official visits," Crim said. It may be where I only have time for two or three visits. I just want to keep my options open, focus on my season here, and kept track of the schools recruiting me and those that might start recruiting me. Then I'll make that decision."

Grades and different qualifying standards could also impact Crim's decision and eventual destination.

"I can graduate in December, but I may want to stay here (at Butler) through the spring," he said. "I'll finish up all my English requirements and could sign with some schools and start school in January. But if I want to play in the SEC or ACC, I'm going to need one more math class, which I'd have to take here. I don't have any problem with staying here another semester."

While the general NCAA rule is that non-qualifiers must graduate from junior college to be eligible at the Division I level, the SEC imposes more stringent requirements regarding math and English requirements than most other conferences.

Education is also an area that Crim is taking serious in addition to football.

"I'm the first out of my family to go beyond high school and get a college education," he said. "Like a lot of other athletes, my dream is to play in the NFL. But I want to get my education and my degree where I'll have something to fall back on in case the NFL doesn't work out.

Crim reports that he has approximately 30 tackles on the season with two interceptions. Butler is currently ranked No. 3 in the country and has gone undefeated since losing the season opener against Blinn C.C.

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