In Focus: Senior Deep Snapper Joey Crappell
Joey Crappell Strives for Perfection on Every Play
Growing up, Joey Crappell III wanted nothing more than to play for the LSU Tigers. People told him that he couldn't do it. They said he wasn't good enough or athletic enough. Had he listened to those people, he wouldn't be trotting on to the football field in front of over 92,000 fans on Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium.
Crappell is in his third year as the Tigers' starting deep snapper. The senior has successfully completed every snap - both punts and placekicks - for the Tigers, including the game-winning snap on a field goal in this year's victory over Alabama.
The easy-going product of Patterson (La.) High School is proud of the position that he is in today, but he doesn't forget the hard work he put in to get there. He stands firmly behind the saying, "if you're going to do something, you better do it right." He learned this from years of watching his favorite football player, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
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"Every time he did something, he did it to perfection," said Crappell. "That really sunk in and helped me in my craft and football career."
His football career began 17 years ago on a football team that consisted of six-year-olds through eight-year-olds. At that time, running the ball in after a touchdown was worth one point, while kicking the ball was worth two points. The coaches on the team made the most of this rule. One coach taught his son how to kick the ball. Another coach taught his son how to hold it the ball. Joey's father taught him how to snap it.
"He didn't know much about it, but he knew just enough to get me where I am now," said Crappell.
Joey credits both his mom and dad for his success in snapping. His father helped him improve his technique as the years progressed, challenging him day after day in the family's backyard. If there was a day his dad had to work, his mom would get out in the yard, watch his drills and offer corrections.
As Crappell became more proficient in snapping, he began to see the many opportunities that laid before him. The biggest one came in his junior year of high school when he attended a football camp at LSU.
"I had the chance to snap in front of Les Miles and all of the coaches, and we got to talking about my college career," Crappell recalled.
His childhood dreams were about to become a reality. There were talks of a scholarship offer, but Joey knew that walking on to the team would be the best deal from a snapper standpoint. The tradition of excellence in LSU Athletics attracted him to the school and the fact that three of his uncles attended LSU played a part in his decision. He proudly stated that he wouldn't walk on for any other school.
"I wanted to go to a place where I could have the biggest competition, improve and be the best," said Crappell. "That's why I'm in this position today."
Crappell's first time taking the field as a Tiger was in Seattle against the University of Washington in the 2009 season opener. He felt excitement, a little nervousness, but he mainly felt a sense of accomplishment.
"I felt like everything that I had worked for since the age of six was about to pay off," said Crappell. "I was going to make history not just for me, but for my family name."
His first time taking the field as a Tiger in Tiger Stadium provoked a different range of emotions.
"Running out from the tunnel in front of 92,500 people is huge. I get goose bumps every time," chuckled Crappell. "I don't know how to explain the feelings or the emotions I've had doing it, but not too many people can feel that way and I'm very fortunate."
This December, Joey becomes the first of his immediate family to graduate from LSU. He plans to continue his snapping career post-graduation and give the NFL a shot. Regardless of where life takes him, Joey Crappell can rest easy knowing that he will leave big shoes for the next No. 50 to fill.