Countdown: Crawford Headed to Florida
by Gary Curreri
, 14 March 2017
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Growing up, Oliver Crawford played tennis, football, travel baseball and basketball.
It wasn't until age 12 that he played in his first tennis tournament. Fast-forward five years and the 17-year-old Spartanburg, South Carolina, teen is headed to the University of Florida
after signing a national letter-of-intent with the Gators.
"I always wanted to be playing sport and my mom thought that this would be better than paying a babysitter," Crawford said. "I began hitting a tennis ball at the age of two and a half at my local club (Carolina Country Club) with Anthony Stewart (club professional) who is still one of my coaches."
Crawford, who is ranked 17th in ITF and 26th according to TennisRPI, helped solidify the Gators' second ranked recruiting class. The school was just one point behind the top-ranked class at California. Crawford is the top-ranked player in South Carolina, number two in the Southeast and fifth nationally.
"I am excited to be going there this fall," said Crawford, who has home schooled since his freshman year of high school and has taken classes at Laurel Springs School since the 11th grade. "(UF) has great coaches, a top class team and wonderful facilities."
Crawford, who has compiled a 38-18 record since 2016, including 12-5 against other Blue-Chip players, looked at a number of colleges and narrowed his decision down to UF, Virginia, Stanford, and North Carolina.
"I was focused on finding the school where I felt that I could best develop my tennis game and that required excellent coaches who could help me get to develop my game, and who understood my ambitions," Crawford said. "I needed a team who would motivate me to play my best.