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Blue Devil gets offer from Blue Devils

Another college scholarship offer came rolling in Wednesday afternoon on the campus of Escambia County High School with this offer coming for Blue Devils defensive lineman Dalvin Craft.

Craft, a junior at ECHS, received the offer from the Duke Blue Devils by way of Atmore native and Blue Devils associate head coach Ron Middleton.

ECHS Blue Devils head coach Mark Heaton said he had been speaking with Middleton throughout the day when the offer came in late that afternoon.

“I’d been working with coach Middleton throughout the day and at the end of the day, Duke decided to offer him,” he said.

The Blue Devils defensive tackle has been eager to receive his first offer from an interested university, but did not expect it to come from one with such prestige.

“This is an unbelievable feeling,” Craft said. “I expected to eventually receive some kind of offer, but not from a university like Duke. I’m just blown away from receiving it.”

The first offer for Craft is an impressive one not just in the fact that Duke is in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but in the fact they pride themselves in high academics.

Heaton said that Craft’s success in the classroom is “unique,” which made the offer even sweeter.

“Dalvin’s progress in academics is unique,” he said. “He takes a lot of pride in what he does in the classroom and makes sure he always does his best. He has passed all aspects of the Alabama Graduation Exam and has taken the ACT, so getting this offer is huge. Duke doesn’t just look at what a football player does on the field. They look at academics because that is something that they have a high standard for.”

Craft knows that he works hard in the classroom at Escambia County High School, it just never dawned on him how well he was actually doing.

His knowledge of Duke University is that they are strict on who they accept based on academics, but with a GPA pushing close to 4.0, Craft might be what the school needs.

“I knew that Duke is strict on academics and who they accept, so I didn’t know where I would stand,” Craft said. “I know I have good grades, but I didn’t realize they were that strong. Pushing myself in class is something that has always been in me, and I’m proud that my hard work is paying off.”

With another big offer coming to his program, Heaton showered praise from everyone involved at the school from his players all the way to the faculty and staff at the school.

“These offers are a huge, huge deal,” Heaton said. “I think our players efforts and desire has helped Dalvin, Tyler (Nero), T.C. (Brown) and several other players to improve their level of play. Our defensive line coach Karl Smith has done a tremendous job in helping these guys expose their talents on the field. The rest of our staff has been great to get these kids in the right positions to maximize their talents. Off the field, Mr. Byrd and our administration has been great with setting an academic standard and holding the students accountable to make sure they meet that standard and are the best they can be. From that point, our faculty here does a wonderful job of teaching our students and helping them achieve the grades they need to get to college. Everyone at this school has a hand in these offers and it’s a good thing for Escambia County High School.”

With this offer on the table and more on the horizon, Craft is looking forward to improving on a junior season that saw him record 44 tackles and four quarterback sacks.

The idea of playing college football is making him want to work even harder on and off the field to make sure he has that opportunity.

“Receiving a scholarship offer makes me want to put more work in,” Craft said. “I want to do even better in class and give an even better effort at practice and in games. I want the opportunity to get to the next level.”

Blue Devils defensive tackle Dalvin Craft received his first scholarship offer on Wednesday from the Duke Blue Devils.|Photo by Chandler Myers