For Harry Crider, it came down to the realization of a dream.
The Columbus East senior, who had committed to Virginia in June, changed his mind after receiving a scholarship offer from Indiana University. Crider is now headed to Bloomington next year to begin his college football career.
“IU has always kind of been a dream school for me,” Crider said. “I have two siblings that have graduated from there, so I’ve definitely been involved. They finally came around to recruiting me, and it definitely sparked my interest. That was definitely a dream come true and definitely something I wanted to pursue.”
After Crider committed to Virginia, he said IU coaches began recruiting him a little harder. They came through with a scholarship offer on Aug. 7, and Crider visited the campus last week.
When he returned home, he talked with his family and decided IU was what’s best for him.
“That was actually kind of a blessing,” Crider said. “They’re definitely fired up about me and were hitting themselves in the head for not getting on me earlier. But it all worked out, and I think it’s definitely the right decision. I think I’ll fit right in there.”
Chances are, he’ll fit in better on the offensive line than on the defensive. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Crider, who played some on defense for the Olympians last season, was a Junior All-State selection last fall and is entering his third year as the starting center.
Hoosiers offensive line coach Greg Frey has earned a national reputation with his work the past few years. Tackle Jason Spriggs was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, and Columbus North graduate and center Jake Reed signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons. This year, Dan Feeney is regarded by some as the No. 1 guard in the country.
“Coach Frey has told me that Jason Spriggs actually came into IU weighing less than me,” Crider said. “He told me that’s not something to worry about — coming in a little lighter — because I’ll grow into my natural frame.”
At IU, Crider plans to major in something business or biology related.
“My question to him was, ‘If football was out of the equation, where would you want to go be a student?'” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “Where do you want to get a degree from? Because that’s what scholarships are all about — getting a degree — and he said he felt comfortable there.”
Not that he didn’t feel comfortable at Virginia. Crider fell in love with its campus after visiting on June 11 and committed the following week.
But the Hoosiers beckoned.
“Virginia has been outstanding,” Crider said. “There’s nothing wrong (with) them. It’s just IU has always been my dream school.”
Gaddis said the recruiting process is brutal, and it’s getting more brutal because coaches are wanting commitments earlier. They start recruiting kids when they’re freshmen and sophomores.
Crider had scholarship offers from seven other schools, including Dartmouth and Indiana State.
“He’s a great talent, a great worker and he leads by example,” Gaddis said. “As I told several college coaches when they came through last year, I’m glad he’s playing for us.”
Crider also plays baseball for the Olympians. He played basketball his first couple years, then wrestled last winter.
For now, Crider is focused on putting the East football team in position to win championships.
“Of course, I want to lead our team to the state title,” Crider said. “I think we have the potential. We just have to come together as a whole and have to have our senior leaders step up. I think when it comes around, we’ll be ready.”
Name: Harry Crider
School: Columbus East
Position: Center, defensive tackle
Sports: Football, wrestling, baseball
Favorite sport: Football
Other school activities: National Honor Society, Key Club, Youth Leadership Bartholomew County