ALL HE CAN BE: Oil City’s Cam Crocker Chooses to Continue Football and Academic Career at Army
But, here he was in early January, touring the United States Military Academy.
The army made the senior on the Oil City football team an offer. A lot of other schools, from Division I down to Division III, made similar overtures.
But the one from West Point stuck out. Big time.
“It was kind of a shock, to be honest,” Crocker said. “Just seeing the name of a coach from a school like that pop up was just like, ‘Wow.’ It was overwhelming.”
Crocker was compelled to schedule a visit.
It ended up being a life-changing decision for Crocker, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound tight end/offensive tackle with the strength to move piles and the agility to run pass patterns and make receptions — not that the Oilers did a lot of that with Ethen Knox running wild this past season.
There was nothing about West Point that Crocker disliked.
“It was an amazing campus,” Crocker said. “The facilities were outstanding — top of the line.”
It made his decision easy — Crocker committed that same day.
It put to an end what was a whirlwind process for Crocker, who wasn’t even sure if he wanted to attend college at all.
“It was (stressful) in the sense that I didn’t know what I wanted to do because I go to school for welding,” Crocker said. “So I wasn’t sure if college was even my route.”
Crocker had considered joining the military as an option.
Now he will do it while also playing football.
Crocker will spend his first year at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School before he is formally enrolled at West Point.
“Then I’ll move up with the big dogs, per se,” Crocker said.
Only nine percent of applicants are admitted to USMAPS.
Crocker was certainly an attractive candidate because of his size and his ability to dominate.
This season, he helped open big holes for Knox, who led the nation in rushing yards per game and finished with 3,705 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Crocker was recognized for his ability when he was named to the Pennsylvania Football Writers All-State Team, along with Knox, in Class 3A.
“I wasn’t really expecting that, because I’m really an offensive tackle that plays tight end,” Crocker said. “I wasn’t sure where they’d consider me, but they picked me as a tackle and it felt great.
“With Ethen breaking records all year, it was great to be one of the ones out in front of him. Every time he scored that touchdown, I’d feel it.”
Crocker has begun preparing for life at West Point.
Already heavily into weight training, Crocker has ramped up the time he spends in the weight room. He’s also working on other aspects of his physical fitness to prepare for the rigors of Army life.
Army’s offensive scheme is certainly familiar to Crocker. The Black Knights are famously a run-heavy team.
Crocker is also prepared for the long commitment to the military. After he graduates, he must serve for eight years in a combination of active duty and reserve.
He’s ready. It was an opportunity he just couldn’t pass up.
“At first it was very hard to believe,” Crocker said. “It’s really starting to sink in. I’m on cloud nine.”
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