The 2010 season was a special one at Kings High School. A year after the Knights stumbled to a 3-7 record, the team bounced back to finish 11-2 on their way to a FAVC Cardinal title and a post-season berth. Stacked with young talent, Kings will enter the 2011 campaign as a serious contender for an Ohio Division II state title.
One of the brightest young stars suiting up for head coach Andy Olds is junior-to-be Justin Crull. The 6-foot, 185-pound defensive back/wide receiver is an elite playmaker on both sides of the ball and on special teams.
As a sophomore, Crull led the FAVC with seven interceptions while finishing fourth in the league with 23.3 yards per catch and second on the team with 948 all-purpose yards.
His efforts were well rewarded a year ago when he was named a First-Team All-Conference defensive back, Second-Team All-Southwest District member and Honorable Mention on the Postseason All-TriStateFootball.com team. Despite the success Crull knows there is plenty to work on.
"This year I really want to work on my strength getting that up and my speed," Crull said. "I really want to work on my technique on offense and getting off the ball and getting off the defenders."
The youngster realizes that most of his individual success has been aided by the play of his teammates, particularly in the secondary.
"I have to give thanks to other DB's too," he claimed modestly. "They pose another threat so when they need to and throw it to my side I just try to make a play on the ball."
Crull already has two years under his belt and two more to go. He has learned a ton in his time and credits the strong senior leadership on the 2011 team for making an impact on him as a player.
"They just teach everyone to work hard," he said of the upperclassmen. "Even on days where you feel like you can't give it your all you still give your all and get a little better that way."
Despite being a force on both sides of the ball, defense is definitely his preference.
"I love that physical aspect of the game you can not only receive on the corner side and get a pick six, but you can also just lay someone out and I love that," Crull suggested.
Crull has a busy schedule ahead as he will be attending four combines as well as the Nike Football Training Camp at Ohio State over the next two months. In addition, he is attending Senior Camp at Ohio State, Cincinnati and Purdue.
"I am really looking forward to it," Crull claimed. "Right now everybody just looks great I am excited about next year and just showing what I can do."
FINAL TAKE: Crull has been tremendous through his first two seasons and the sky appears to be the limit. A strong performance over the next couple of months could sky rocket his recruiting stock heading into his junior season. Expect big things from him this year and beyond for the Knights. Crull is a Rising Star in every sense of the phrase.
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--Video Interview w/TSF
by Dan Clasgens, TriStateFootball.com