National sports briefs: Texas Tech’s Crabtree branching out to NFL

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Associated Press
PLANO, Texas ó Two years of college football, two years of being chosen the best receiver in the country.
There wasn’t much left for Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree to accomplish. Now he’s eager to see how he’ll do in the NFL.Crabtree said Tuesday he’s giving up his final two years of eligibility because he thinks he’s ready for pro football. The first challenge is finding out how high he’ll go in the draft.
“As far as I’ve seen, top five. That’s what I’m striving for,” Crabtree said.
Tall, strong and fast enough, Crabtree averaged 120.3 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game in college, extraordinarily high numbers even in coach Mike Leach’s video game-esque offense.
He finished his two-year career with 231 catches for 3,127 yards and 41 TDs.
Crabtree held his news conference at an upscale hotel in a suburb north of Dallas. It was orchestrated by Deion Sanders, and there was talk of the advice he’s gotten from another buddy, Michael Irvin.
Former Olympic champion Michael Johnson will oversee Crabtree’s pre-draft training. The top priority is improving his speed, although he also must get over an ankle injury that slowed him during the Cotton Bowl, when he was held to a career-low 30 yards receiving.
A running quarterback in high school, Crabtree doesn’t even remember the scant number of passes he caught.
“About two?” he said.
Texas Tech defensive end Brandon Williams also announced Tuesday that he’s entering the draft. The reigning Big 12 sack leader is projected to be a third-round pick.
n Ball State quarterback Nate Davis has decided to give up his senior season to enter the draft.
n Receiver Jeremy Childs will enter the NFL draft, leaving Boise State after his junior year and as the school’s No. 2 all-time pass catcher.
n All-American defensive end Aaron Maybin will skip his final two seasons at Penn State and declare for the draft.
n Georgia cornerback Asher Allen has joined the list of players leaving early.
n All-American safety Taylor Mays has decided to return to Southern California for his senior season.
n LSU running back Charles Scott and offensive lineman Ciron Black have scheduled a joint news conference today to announce whether they’ll remain with the Tigers or enter the draft.
CLEMSON, S.C. ó C.J. Spiller has been named the team’s offensive MVP.
Left to be determined is whether Spiller returns to school for his senior season or enters his name in the draft.
Spiller has until Thursday to make his choice. Earlier this week, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says his star tailback is torn between going pro and staying in school.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Utah coach Kyle Whittingham may have been the only coach to cast a No. 1 vote for his team. Tuesday, his fellow coaches gave him a consolation prize by naming him the American Football Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year award in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The other coaches of the year included Mike London of Richmond in FCS, Mel Tjeerdsma of Northwest Missouri State in Division II, Larry Kehres of Mount Union in Division III and Kalen DeBoer of Sioux Falls in NAIA.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó San Jose State’s Dick Tomey took over as president of the American Football Coaches Association, replacing Tyrone Willingham.
STANFORD, Calif. ó Jim Harbaugh set the record straight Tuesday: He plans to stay put coaching at Stanford.
There has been speculation in recent weeks that Harbaugh might interview for NFL openings in Detroit or Oakland and that he reportedly had met with the New York Jets last Thursday about their head coaching vacancy.
San Diego State
SAN DIEGO ó Former NFL MVP Brian Sipe was hired as quarterbacks coach at his alma mater. He played for the Cleveland Browns for 10 seasons and was honored by the league in 1980.
LOS ANGELES ó Eric Scoggins, an outside linebacker who helped Southern Cal beat Alabama in their big 1978 matchup, has died of Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 49.