Howard, Crutcher poised for big success

Friday, July 22, 2016
Marshall County High School senior wide out Jay Howard, seen here sprinting to the end zone for a touchdown last season, is one of the major cogs in what looks like a very potent offense for the Tigers. Tribune Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The fruits of a successful season for the entire Marshall County football team during the 2015 campaign have translated into opportunities for two Tiger wide receivers during the summer with Jay Howard and Tre Crutcher both receiving offers to continue playing after the 2016 season.

Howard, who finished with 82 receptions and 970 yards receiving on the way to being named All-District, All-Region and All-Midstate, holds five offers at the moment from Morehead State, Valparaiso, Arkansas Tech, Lindenwood University and Cincinnati Christian, but lists favorites as Mississippi State, Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Western Kentucky, and Kentucky.

Southeast tour

Senior Tre Crutcher, one of the state's serious deep threats, will give Marshall County opponents fits in the passing game.

Howard has been camping all over the southeast this summer attending junior days at Tennessee, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and MTSU and was also named top performing wide out at the Wake Forest camp.

Crutcher, who led the team with 1,181 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on just 66 receptions, picked up an offer from the Ohio Valley Conference when Morehead State reached out to the senior last month.

"Morehead (State) called me the night before my camp in Nashville and said they loved my film and wanted to offer me," Crutcher said. "I was surprised. Honestly, (the offer) was just out of the blue and it boosted my confidence a lot."

"I went to five camps this summer," Crutcher added. "MTSU, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech, Goodpasture camp and Elite 3 6.0 camp and I'm camping at UT- Chattanooga on the July 23. I do plan on going on a visit. I'm supposed to be going to Morehead State during the fall sometime but that's all that I got on that."

New QB

Both receivers thrived last season catching balls from Mr. Football Finalist Ashton Posey, who passed for over 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns with the majority going to Howard and Crutcher.

This season a new quarterback will take over the system as sophomore Bryce Wallace will debut as the starter against Franklin County on August 19.

"Bryce and I have always had a teammate chemistry," Howard said. "It started last year as he came into his freshman year giving him the confidence he needed to get through the season and uplifting him as he made freshman mistakes that could easily be fixed." "Now that we have his brother Bo Wallace as a coach he doesn't make those little mistakes he once made, which makes the wide receiver core and the QB even stronger," Howard continued. "Bryce and I are getting better and better every single day in practice and in seven on sevens."

"My chemistry with Bryce feels like we've been playing for a while," Crutcher added. "He puts the ball in my area and he knows I got him. I feel like we will connect a lot during the season."

Depth excels

Although most eyes will be on the senior duo when the team steps on the field Howard feels that the position he excels at will have plenty of depth when the season starts.

"All of our wide receivers are working their butts off to get better each and every day but if I had to pick (the up and comers) it would definitely be the freshman wide receiver Devon Wilson and sophomore Dagon Stacey," Howard stated. "They have been working their tails off and opening eyes since we've been playing together. They will definitely be big targets for us this season."

Focus on winning

Most Tiger fans will remember Crutcher leaving the field at Knoxville Catholic with a concussion which kept the senior out of the majority of basketball season, but Crutcher is healthy and ready to continue back where he left off in November.

"Honestly when I had to take a break from it all I thought about things differently," Crutcher noted. "But it just made my love for the game stronger and it encouraged me to get back and make a huge comeback for my team. My position hasn't changed and I'm doing more than last year and I'm still gonna give my team my all and leave it all on the field."