Citadel football’s Crochet is not an average Joe

#5 Joe Crochet.  One of the rocks on the D-line

#5 Joe Crochet. One of the rocks on the D-line

By: Jeff Hartsell, postandcourier.com
Oct 29 2015

Ah, the life of a Citadel football player. Bulldogs defensive end Joe Crochet sleeps in until about 9:30 a.m. on a typical morning in his Mount Pleasant apartment. He runs some errands, grabs something to eat and heads to campus for practice. Two nights a week, he takes classes at The Citadel. Saturdays, of course, are reserved for football games.

“My teammates remind me every day how nice I have it,” says Crochet, a 6-2, 245-pound redshirt junior from Stone Mountain, Ga. “It’s nice to be able to experience Charleston as sort of a normal college student.”

Make no mistake, though. Crochet put in his time as a knob and in the barracks, rising early, going to classes and eating in the mess hall with his classmates. Crochet earned his Citadel degree in just three years, graduating last May with a degree in business administration. He’s playing this season and will play next as a graduate student, and is on track to have his MBA by the time he’s done playing football.

Joe sans helmet & jersey

Joe sans helmet & jersey

That’s what taking 20 hours per semester and six hours every summer will do for you.

“At The Citadel, there’s not really much time for distractions,” said Crochet. “It’s academics, football or the military. The Citadel’s structure made it easy for me to do, but it was a grind.” Crochet hatched his early graduation plan after redshirting as a freshman. He figured he could do it in 3 1/2 years, but was able to beat even that ambitious timetable. “I came from a pretty disciplined household,” said Crochet, whose brother Dan is a sophomore football player at Cornell. “And I guess I was motivated to leave the barracks as soon as I could.”

Crochet has come into his own on the football field this season, starting all seven games so far for one of the Southern Conference’s top defensive units. He’s got 22 tackles, with one sack and two fumble recoveries as the Bulldogs (5-2, 4-0) prepare to face Mercer (3-4, 0-3) on Saturday.
“Joe is maybe one that doesn’t get a lot of attention,” said Citadel coach Mike Houston. “But I definitely see him as one of our core leaders. He represents everything you want as a Citadel cadet and a team leader — always working hard, smart and tough and physical, and has a knack of making plays when you need it.”

Crochet is part of a growing trend of NCAA athletes competing after graduation. According to the NCAA, the number of Division I football and men’s and women’s basketball players competing as postgrads has doubled since 2007. But it takes a special effort to get there. “It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do,” Houston said. “And to do it at the rate that Joe did it, and to excel while doing it, not many can do that.”

That’s why Joe Crochet came to The Citadel — to do something different. “I came here because I wanted the challenge,” he said. “It’s the road less traveled.”

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