Under The Helmet with Devin Crawford-Tufts

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GopherSports: Devin, when did you know you wanted to be a Gopher?

Devin Crawford-Tufts: I really did not get any attention from the Gophers until I was going into my senior year at Edina. I went to Minnesota's three-day camp and looked at the facilities - the weight room, the indoor facility and the stadium - and then I kind of knew then that I wanted to come here. I grew up in Minneapolis and have been around this area. It is beautiful and I love it.

GS: You mentioned TCF Bank Stadium. What makes it so special?

DCT: This year, I have noticed that our fans are two or three times louder than they had ever been before. It is good to know we have support from our community, and we try to go out and help the community as well too.

GS: Did you come to Minnesota games growing up

DCT: I never got to go to any games growing up, but I watched them on TV all the time. Once I got my first TV in my room, I watched their games like it was my job. I tried to get my dad or mom to take me every so often, but it never happened. But I did watch the games.

GS: How did you get into football?

DCT: When I was younger, I watched it on TV a lot. I used to go to middle school in Eden Prairie. They had fourth-grade tryouts and my parents asked if I wanted to play football. I said, "Sure, I guess." So I went and tried out and became an offensive lineman my first year. I loved it. Even though I really did not get to touch the ball, I have loved it ever since.

GS: You started as an offensive lineman, but now are a speedy receiver. Take us through that position change.  

DCT: My first year I played offensive lineman. Then I played quarterback, running back and middle linebacker for six or seven years. Then I went to Edina and started playing receiver and have played that ever since.

GS: You were an accomplished tack star in high school as well. Did you think about doing both sports in college?

DCT: It was definitely something I thought about. When I was being recruited they knew that I ran track and knew it was something that I might be interested in. We talked about it and then coach Kill came in and he said the same thing and was open about it. But when I got here, things just happened and football became my No. 1 sport and this is my focus right now.

GS: How does your track background help you in football?

DCT: It helps a lot actually to have that running form and being able to get out of breaks. I am able to bust out of breaks and have that explosive speed that sprinters have, just like Marcus Jones and Derrick Engel have as well. It helps when I have an angle and I know that all I have to do is get by my man and I will be gone.

GS: There is a lot of fast guys on this team, but who do you think is the fastest?

DCT: I honestly could not tell you. We have never raced more than 10 or 15 yards, so we have never really gotten a good estimate of who is the fastest. I would say that I am pretty close up there though.

GS: We know you do not have a lot of free time, but what do you like to do away from the football field?

DCT: School and football. That is basically my life right now, school and football. That is how I want it right now. It is a lot of work, but I love it. But I still try to get out and do things around my community and around Minneapolis. I actually take trips around campus and drive downtown on my moped. I like to look at the different building and architecture. I go on walks around campus and go to Coffman Memorial Union a lot because they have a lot of stuff going on over there, like the bowling alley and everything else. I am always looking for new stuff to find that is close to campus. My mom and my dad know a lot of stuff around here too and know the good restaurants, so they always take me. There is always fun stuff to do around here.

GS: You also said you like to give back to the community. What are some of the things you have done?

DCT: Last winter, I spent a lot of time volunteering at Second Harvest. I enjoy helping package and ship food out to different homeless shelters around Minneapolis and around the Midwest. As a team, we have also volunteered at Kids Against Hunger.

GS: You and a number of your teammates shaved your heads recently in support of teammate Connor Cosgrove who is battling leukemia. Was that an easy decision?

DCT: Yes. Everyone knows about Connor Cosgrove and what he is going through. We are all family here and I consider him to be my brother. He is going through something and needs help with it, so that is what we are trying to do and that is what we did by shaving our heads.

GS: What are your long-term goals?

DCT: The dream is definitely to be a professional ballplayer, but I have not sat down and thought about life after football yet. I have not declared a major yet, but I have begun to look around and try to figure out what I want to do with my life. That is what is so great about playing football, as it helps me figure out what I am interested in. I get to talk to different people who have different backgrounds and see what they are doing and see how they have progressed from freshman to senior year and how things worked out for them. It gives me a good way to look up to other people and see how they went through everything. 

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