North Dakota State running back John Crockett made a great choice by picking the Packers as an undrafted rookie free agent.
And no, it’s not because he doesn’t immediately need a new wardrobe since the yellow and green of the Bison are eerily similar to the green and gold of the Packers.
“I really truly feel like I’m in the best place for me,” Crockett said after the Rookie Orientation Camp practice. “All they talk about is winning. And that’s what I’ve always been accustomed to and that’s what we talk about. The mindset of a champion is still the same.”
He’s right. The shifty running back has racked up a 44-2 record and three Division I Football Championship Subdivision national titles. The kid that is No. 2 on the NDSU all-time rushing list, in only two-and-a-half years mind you, knows the winning formula and more importantly, doesn’t let complacency creep in after helping NDSU win a title in his sophomore season.
The one knock on Crockett is because of the FCS. Most teams avoided him at all costs just because they didn’t think his level of competition was hardy enough to compete at the pro level.
He was so good that in 2013, he was the No. 2 running back on his own team, yet was still fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference and 19th in the NCAA with 1,277 rushing yards. He even sports the nickname ‘Tazmanian devil’ because of his never-ending movement.
Everybody wants to win. It obviously helps if you have a pretty good understanding of how that happens. And it’s that knowledge, combined with the small chip on his shoulder that will only increase over time which will lead him to being a contributor.
Another drawback on Crockett is that he runs upright, which makes it easier for defenses to take their shots. Crockett does have a tendency to run upright, but that didn’t stop Darrell Thompson from getting drafted in the first round.
Crockett had to sleep on various couches in high school because his mom had to deal with an emotional problem that was linked to stress.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for all the people who went out of their way to help me at Totino-Grace (High School),’’ Crockett said. “I also wouldn’t be where I am today without one big thing in my favor: a hunger to succeed.”
Crockett knows where he’s been. He knows that this is his shot and if he’s going to do anything as a pro, it has to happen now.
Judging from his past failures and how he quickly spun those into successes, I’m sure that Crocket doesn’t need a reminder as to how important the next step is.
James Starks better start looking over his shoulder. Because an undrafted rookie free agent that has a smooth combination of confidence and grittiness is every coach’s dream.
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn