- Radi Nabulsi, Reporter, DawgNation
Offensive tackle Delando Crooks is heading to Jamaica tomorrow. Part of his last minute preparations included committing to Vanderbilt University.
“Delando committed to Vanderbilt about an hour ago,” said Crooks' uncle, Troy Vaccianna. “Vanderbilt was always one of his top choices and he just wanted to put things behind him, enjoy his vacation, come back and concentrate on his last semester in high school.”
Crooks has double-digit offers from programs all over the nation, including Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Stanford and Virginia Tech. He could not get out to all of the schools that offered him, so the three-star offensive tackle instead looked at what the schools offered in the classroom.
“It has been a stressful process for him because he has high academic standards,” Vaccianna said. “That is his main goal. During the season we didn’t get to visit everybody because it was a rough year. He was on the grind and putting in a lot of work. He also had a lot of Saturday games also. Schools like North Carolina, Purdue, and of course Georgia were all in there at the end too. But he made a decision after talking to his family and head coach to go ahead and get it out of the way and enjoy the rest of his high school career.”
Crooks has a 3.6 GPA and scored a 1450 on the SAT. He plays both ways for Carver, often lining up at defensive end.
“He could enroll early but he won’t,” Vaccianna said. “He decided he wants to finish at Carver. He is only 17 and wants to enjoy his friends and high school. He said once you leave high school there is no turning back. Furthermore he wants to throw the discus again this year with the track team. He wants to have fun and concentrate on his academics.”
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin led the Commodores to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in the program’s history. He was recently rewarded with a contract extension. That weighed heavily into Crooks’ decision.
“Coach Franklin is a great coach,” Vaccianna said. “He has a great staff up there and a great system. But, first and foremost, Delando says it matches him academically. Also, Vanderbilt is building a great program up there and Delando says he wants to create history instead of just being part of history.”