FAYETTEVILLE — Beginning in 2023, Sam Pittman won’t be the only Grove (Okla.) alum with the Arkansas program.

On Wednesday, Grove running back Emmanuel Crawford, 5-10, 170, announced he has accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the Razorbacks.

“I chose it for a lot of reasons,” Crawford said. “But when I was on my visit it gave me an atmosphere that I hadn’t felt at other college campuses that I’ve been on. That kind of home feeling. There’s good culture around the whole entire program from the coaching staff to the academic people who help you. I just felt it was a place I needed to be and wanted to be at.”

As a senior this fall, Crawford posted some amazing stats. He carried the football 230 times for 2,304 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 546 yards and seven touchdowns. He helped Grove to a 13-1 record and spot in semifinals of Class 5A playoffs.

Crawford is the all-time leading rusher in the state of Oklahoma for Class 5A. In the four years Crawford played on varsity, he’s had 6,777 rushing yards and 93 touchdowns to go with it. He also has 13 receiving touchdowns. Crawford admitted he and Pittman talked about the two being from Grove and playing for the Ridgerunners.

“I’ve talked to him a couple of times and that always gets brought up,” Crawford said. “Definitely having a head coach that went to the same high as you and played with the same football program as you that’s definitely a special connection. It helped in a way with my decision.”

Crawford talked about his strengths on the field, which are plentiful obviously with his statistics.

“I’m pretty fast,” Crawford said. “I’m good at reading the field and adjusting to things mid-play. If you watch my highlight tape that’s the best way to get an idea of who I am as an athlete. I would definitely say I’ve kind of been put in the shadows as far as attention with football nationwide and I’m totally fine with that because God has a plan. It might not go with mine, but that is how I would describe myself.”

At Arkansas, Crawford will play for assistant coach Jimmy Smith. Crawford is impressed with his future coach.

“He’s a phenomenal guy,” Crawford said. “Last time I was there and talking to him he was very upfront with what’s going on. There’s no information he won’t tell you. I really appreciate that he cares about his running backs and cares about who he is bringing in. He isn’t going to bring in someone he doesn’t feel can play at Arkansas. Just talking to him and going over the entire situation it was just a great feeling knowing that they want you there and need you there.”

At Arkansas, Crawford will get to spend one season with running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders who was second in the SEC in rushing this season. Crawford is looking forward to learning from Sanders.

“He’s a phenomenal athlete,” Crawford said. “I watched him play a couple of games and he’s big-time. It’s gonna be an honor to watch him play and learn things from him. As somebody who is older than me and has played running back at Arkansas for awhile. Just getting tips from him when I get there will be great.”

Crawford runs the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds. Crawford talked about the facilities at Arkansas where he will be playing in the future.

“They have phenomenal facilities that are second to none,” Crawford said. “Just getting there and seeing the indoor, the field, the weight room and the locker room you can tell the community and people who donate money to the school really care about the football program really care about the school and they’re taken care of.”

Crawford chose the Hogs over offers from Air Force, Georgetown, Northern Colorado, Dartmouth, Army, Navy, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Central Oklahoma, Southeast Missouri and Pittsburg State as well as preferred walk-on invites from Oklahoma State, Tulsa and Kansas State.

Click here for photos from Dec. 3 visit to Arkansas.

Click here for highlights.

Click here for photos from Nov. 5 visit to Arkansas.

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