TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As a star high school quarterback looking to compete against the best in college, there's not a better place to live than Tuscaloosa right now. Hillcrest High School's signal-caller Ethan Crawford has that dream, and he has had the privilege of playing just down the road from the dynasty that Nick Saban has built at Alabama.
"My hometown has really shown me a lot of potential, so it really just makes me want to go even harder," Crawford said. "You know, you’re doing it for something.
"Being around a lot of the athletes that have made it out of Alabama makes me feel like they can produce anybody. Throwing with Mac (Jones) and Tua (Tagovailoa), Tua there being my trainer, throwing with Bryce (Young), throwing with Brian (Robinson Jr). It just makes you feel like what you’re doing means something."
Standing at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Crawford led Hillcrest to an 11-3 record in his junior season, making dynamic plays at the quarterback position. Crawford leads the way for the Patriots, as he excels at running the ball as well as stretching the field with his strong arm.
Brian Robinson Jr, a Hillcrest High alumnus, starred at running back for the Crimson Tide this season. Robinson was a member of the legendary 2017 recruiting class for Alabama, and he waited his turn to be the starter in the backfield.
"Honestly, I think they molded him into a great big brother to me and a great young man off the field. I’ve known 'B' for a long time, and he has been a great big brother to me, telling me all about the school and how it is over there," Crawford said. "I feel like they’ve made him so much better and so much more confident in himself."
Crawford has been in touch frequently with Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, who has visited Hillcrest High multiple times to see the star QB. It's assuredly a convenient recruiting stop for the Crimson Tide's play-caller.
"He’s come by my school at least three times already, talked to my coach probably every week. He contacts me a lot, so we just keep on making our relationship stronger. He’s showing a lot of attention," Crawford said.
As a quarterback, Crawford intently watched the play of Bryce Young, the signal-caller of his hometown college team. Young did not disappoint, as he was the first Alabama quarterback to bring home the Heisman Trophy with his play throughout the 2021 season.
"It just shows you what Alabama is really all about. They want to be the best in everything no matter what it is. I really like that about them, that’s a big thing for me," Crawford said. "At the same time, they compete against the best playing in the SEC. I love playing against the best. I’m the biggest competitor that I know, and that’s a big part in my recruitment right now. I want to play against the best and with the best.
"So, like Bryce Young’s dad told him, ‘If you’re the best in the gym, you need to go find another gym.’"
Crawford currently holds offers from Tennessee, UCF, Middle Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, and Southern Miss. Following his visit with Alabama this past weekend, he is looking forward to an offer from the Crimson Tide.
"It just makes me feel good as an athlete really," Crawford said, "especially knowing they’re the number one team in the nation."