• John Macon Gillespie

Fortius Spotlight: Kam Crooks

Following an impressive performance at the Fortius Project on Saturday Kam Crooks was not shy about where he stood. Along with DeMario Mays of Madison Central, he felt that he was the best defensive back on hand.

Admittedly he felt his techniques could have been better in some areas. However, that did not prevent him from testing well in the drills. Then the competitive portions of the camp, he was on another level. Those portions brought out the best in him. It’s no surprise that he felt he did well in the 1-on-1s and 7-on-7s.

“From the time we signed up until the time we did devotion I could look around and see it was bigger than a game. Interacting with other athletes and meeting new people that I will play in the future was exciting,” Crooks told SES Mississippi.

The rising junior will be looking to make a splash for Northwest Rankin Cougars next Fall. Specifically, he looked like a guy who will step in alongside the likes of Jalen Hoover, Logan Vanderberry, Onias Parks, Timothy Lindsey and others to make for a stout defensive unit.

“We showed the unity and drive we have to come together and perform with some of the athletes around the state. We have a bond,” Crooks said about his and his teammates combined impressive performance at Fortius.

The bond comes from something that the coaches at Nortwest Rankin have been preaching for over a year now. Crooks says that work on the field and off has made the team closer. It is a bond where each guy knows that they can count on the other guys for anything. Also, they know they are in place for one goal.

So in order to play his role next season he is using this offseason as a learning experience. While also utilizing the time to improve some of the physical aspects of his game, along with the mental areas.

“My coaches teach me that you can never know too much of anything,” he said. “I’m trying to improve my ball recognition, my coverages and I’m trying to get stronger and smarter. Most of all I’m trying to be more athletic and faster. Speed kills.”

“I set a goal to be the best defensive back in 6A and in the State. We plan on going to state and getting the program on the right track. Coach Collums expects excellence.”

The moments when Crooks is around his teammates, combined with the thought of being great are two things that drive him to compete, like he did on Saturday, and on Friday nights. With one step towards his goal down after the Fortius Project, now he will continue to work until the season arrives. Games really bring out the best in him.

“That feeling you have when you’re in a game and you just have something come out of you that you didn’t know you had in you. That’s amazing and what I love most of all about football,” Crooks explained.

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