Stepping into Memorial Stadium in a crimson and cream jersey, touching the symbolic Hep’s Rock before every game and playing for the Old Oaken Bucket Trophy in front of a capacity of almost 53,000 fans singing the Indiana University fight song is just around the corner for freshman Harry Crider.

The former Columbus East football standout led the Olympians to the Class 5A state finals as a senior and earned himself a full-ride scholarship to play Big Ten football as a center for the Hoosiers. Crider wasted no time jumping from one field to the next when he was already moved into the Ashton dorm on the Bloomington campus two days before his high school graduation.

Football camps have been in session for about two weeks now.

“I don’t know if (playing in the stadium) has settled in yet,” Crider said. “Once we get out here Aug. 31, it’ll definitely kick in, but I’m excited. I don’t really know what to expect at this point, but it’s going to be pretty special.”

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The Hoosiers will open the season at home against Ohio State on Aug. 31, but the work for that game has already begun.

While some high school graduates may be enjoying their summer mornings sleeping in or hanging out with friends before they part ways, Crider is up and on the field by 7 a.m. He starts his mornings with a team run before going to study hall, where he gets any help he needs on the assignments for his intro to media and society class.

Yes, Crider is already getting a head start on his academic workload.

All incoming players are required to take a summer class during camps and attend study tables. He is hoping to be accepted into the Kelley School of Business as a sophomore and is preparing himself by taking some introductory business courses this fall.

“Football and academics combined is not an easy workload, so you have to use your time well,” Crider said. “It’s definitely great to get a foot in the door starting off here. Having that one class under my belt going into the school year will be a huge advantage. I can already see how the workload is different than your typical high school class, so yeah, a lot of work from here on out.”

Crider heads to class after study hall before getting lunch and going right back to another study table. He ends his day in the weight room and is done around 5 p.m. before it starts all over again the next morning.

Crider originally committed to Virginia before coach Tom Allen and the rest of the IU coaching staff steered him from moving more than 500 miles away from home. Now, his parents can hop in their car to drive no more than an hour down State Road 46 instead of cashing out on a round-trip plane ticket anytime they want to see their son take the field.

“Harry is an excellent student from a tremendous family, and he loves Indiana,” Allen said. “Harry played for a state championship, and that’s a common theme you see from the guys in our signing class. They are from great programs, are leaders and team captains. That’s the kind of guy we want here at Indiana.”

Moving out of his parents’ house to live on his own was a big change for Crider. Luckily, the coaching staff made sure to help all of the first-year athletes get settled in and feel right at home. The upperclassman on the team also have helped welcome Crider with open arms, making it feel like he has been there his entire life, Crider said.

Crider already has befriended a large amount of teammates from all over the county in the short time he’s been in Bloomington. Everything is pretty new for all freshman involved, and Crider said their shared experience thus far has created a special bond among the underclassmen.

Division I football hasn’t been as nerve-racking as Crider thought it would be to this point, but he still has a 12-game season ahead of him to play. He also has a full workload of classes coming this fall that he is pretty anxious about.

He won’t get the entire experience what college is like until the rest of the student body comes back from summer break. But for right now, he is getting as small dose of what life will be like for at least the next four years.

“There’s not many people here over the summer, so I don’t know if I have the full effect quite yet, but I will soon, and it’s been a ride,” Crider said. “It’s great. It’s like one big family, and I love it here so far … I’m definitely going to have to be on top of my game this fall, and it’s going to be like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.”

New face on campus

Name: Harry Crider

High School: Columbus East

College: Indiana University

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-foot-4

Position: Center

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.