Austin Crowley signs

Gordon Lee senior football player Austin Crowley signed with NCAA Division III Sewanee during a ceremony on Wednesday, May 6. Among those in attendance to witness the signing were Gordon Lee assistant coach Shane Cauthorn, Gordon Lee head coach Josh Groce and Gordon Lee assistant coach Derrell O'Neal.

Gordon Lee's Austin Crowley had been considering a few different colleges, including several quite a ways from home. However, it took just one visit to the University of the South for Crowley to discover that (Yeah!) Sewanee was right for him.

The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder will be heading to the top of Monteagle this fall to attend classes and begin his college football career with the NCAA Division III Purple Tigers.

"I talked to a couple of other (schools) and they almost had me, but I visited Sewanee and I swear it just felt like family," Crowley said at a signing ceremony at his house on May 6. "The first thing they told me when I was there was 'imagine going to college somewhere without playing you still want to go there?'

"That's where I see Sewanee. If I did happen to suffer an injury, which I hope I won't, I can still see myself going to school there."

Crowley said he has been slotted for the defensive line with the Purple Tigers.

"We just had a Zoom meeting with the team the other day," he explained. "We broke into groups and there is like eight or nine (incoming) freshmen defensive linemen. I think I can bring speed and strength and some of that, but I'm definitely not going to take anything for granted. I know I'm going to have to work."

Crowley enjoyed an accolade-filled senior season with the Trojans in 2019. He was named first team All-Region 6-A North and was named to the Walker County Dream Team first team as a defensive lineman after a second team Dream Team nod his junior season as an offensive lineman. He ended his final season with the Navy-and-White with 58 tackles, including two for a loss.

He also played up front on offense as a senior and was the named the team's Player of the Week for his performance in a 13-10 win over LFO in which he graded out at 85 percent, in addition to making seven tackles and three hustle plays on defense.

Gordon Lee head coach Josh Groce referenced a play from that LFO game in speaking about Crowley's effort and ability on the field.

"We were watching it later on film and he chased down LFO's quarterback to make a tackle about 45 yards downfield from his defensive tackle position," he said. "He's just got a high motor and he plays and practices as hard as he can. You talk about kids playing every snap as hard as they can, well, he's one kid that I can say in my 16 years of coaching that plays every snap as hard as he can.

"Plus, he's a great kid. He's a great team leader. He pushes other kids to do their best and holds his teammates accountable."

Crowley said he had originally been considering majoring in education, but says he is now leaning towards business and marketing.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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