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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Recruiting picking up for N. Calif. cousins

By Erik McKinney

If the weather in March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, the opposite seems to be true for running back Harris Ross and cornerback Xavier Crawford (Pittsburg, Calif./Pittsburg). The two cousins were relative unknowns in the recruiting world at the beginning of the month, but strong showings at the NLA Las Vegas 7-on-7 put them on the map, and unofficial visits to UNLV, UCLA and Cal have kept them there.

This week, both players picked up their first scholarship offers, as Crawford received his from San Jose State and Ross from Sacramento State.

"It feels great getting my first offer," Ross said. "God is really good. All I have to do is continue to work hard and my blessings will be answered."

Last year, Ross, 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, rushed for 828 yards and five touchdowns on just 71 carries in only eight games. He is spending this offseason working on catching the ball out of the backfield to become more of an all-around back.

Crawford, 6-1, 190, said he was blindsided by the offer from San Jose State, which he picked up on the way to an unofficial visit to Cal.

"I didn't expect to hear that," Crawford said of the offer. "I thought I'd just be getting to know them, but they ended up offering. First of all, I was just excited. Basically, they liked my tape and they felt like I had tremendous upside and I'd fit perfectly with their program."

The offer came as a cornerback for Crawford, who registered 52 tackles and two interceptions last season, but also is a capable wide receiver.

"To be honest, it doesn't really matter where I play," he said. "Wherever they put me -- I just want to play."

It has been a busy month for both players, as the tour of unofficial visits still isn't done. They very much enjoyed their trip to UCLA, which Harris lists as his dream school. The tailback said they were able to spend time with defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin as well as tour the campus and football facilities. Harris said they will be back in June, for UCLA's summer camp.

On Wednesday, Harris and Crawford were at Cal, visiting with the Golden Bears coaches.

"It was a good experience," Crawford said. "The campus was nice and they showed us around. They want me and Harris to come to their junior day on the 23rd."

That won't likely be the only junior day both players attend this spring. With a busy tournament and camp schedule ahead, these two have a chance to be heard from plenty more this year.

"At first, the recruiting process started off slowly, but lately it's been picking up," Crawford said. "Getting recruited with Harris has been fun and hopefully it will help bring scouts back to our school because there are a lot more players there."