In the hallway outside the Lafayette High football locker room, there is a board that lists the top five players in conditioning and weight lifting categories which are recorded annually during fall camp. These particular categories consist of squat, bench press, dead lift, clean lift, and 40-yard dash.
In the group consisting of running backs, tight ends and linebackers only one Mighty Lion player appears in the top five in all five categories — junior linebacker Oliver Craddock.
“He’s one of those guys that he is here every time we open up the doors,” said Lafayette High head coach Rob Pool who’s team plays at Southside High Thursday night. “He’s first in and he stays late. He works out extra whenever he can.”
The 6-foot, 210-pound Craddock is the epitome of consistency when it comes to weight and conditioning training.
Craddock is second (in his group) on the Mighty Lions in squat (405 pounds) and dead lift (405 lbs.), fourth in clean (225 lbs.) and 40-yard dash (4.64 seconds) and first in bench press (255 pounds).
“I just have a love for the game and try to what I can to help my team,” said Craddock who’s two older brothers Everett and Bowman were star swimmers at LHS. “That’s why I spend so much time in there. I need to get better.”
Even though Craddock may spend an exuberant amount of time lifting weights, the Mighty Lion starting linebacker may spend even more time in the film room.
“I am just always trying to get faster and just learning more what offenses do — learning those little things they do so I can see the play before it happens,” said Craddock who leads the Mighty Lions in tackles (49).
“He’s a real smart kid,” Pool said. “He’s real good at film study and he understand what the offense is trying to do to us out there. He’s also really good at leverage and forcing the ball where he wants it. His ability to watch film allows him to play fast on the field.”
All of that additional time spent breaking down game tape of opponents has allowed Craddock to blossom in a new role this season.
After playing outside linebacker as a freshman and sophomore, Craddock was moved to inside linebacker this season. Craddock currently leads the team in total tackles (49), solo tackles (20) and is tied for the lead in interceptions (2). Craddock also has a pair of interception returns for touchdowns which leads the Mighty Lions.
“It’s always fun to get a big hit or an interception because it gets a reaction from the crowd and rest of the team,” said Craddock who attended camps this summer at Tulane and Trinity College. “But to be honest the thing I might enjoy just as much making sure our defense is set and everyone is the right place.”
What will the future right place be for college? Craddock admits that he has dreams of playing college football and that also fuels his passion when he walks through the doors into the weight room.
“For the college level I am kind of undersized already,” Craddock said. “So I can’t allow a lineman to block because they have been in the weight room more than me. They already have weight on me so I have to get stronger.”