Whistles blow before Hillcrest safety Collin Dunn goes toe-to-toe with quarterback Ethan Crawford.
“They always make me ‘no contact’ before I really get to meet him one-on-one (in the) open field,” said Crawford, the Southern Miss football commit. “We’ve been talking about that since we were growing up, always wanting to meet each other in the open field and (see) who wins that battle.”
Dunn, who committed to Kansas State on Tuesday, and Crawford have been friends since their youth football days with the Central Falcons. They have had heated exchanges with each other on the field that push them to work harder. Crawford says the Wildcats will get a “dog” with Dunn.
“He’s a straight dog on and off the field because, (at the) end of the day, you will never see him slacking and not working,” Crawford said. “That’s why I always keep him around me.”
Dunn, the No. 39 recruit in Alabama according to the 247Sports Composite, selected the Wildcats over 10 other schools. Hillcrest coach Jamie Mitchell was proud of Dunn and his family when Dunn announced his commitment. Mitchell compared Dunn’s style of play to the 2022 action film “Top Gun: Maverick.”
“He is a playmaker,” Mitchell said. “He plays at an exceptionally high rate of speed. He’s just a super-instinctual player. It kind of reminds me of those guys flying those jets, making split-second decisions (and) doing it full time.”
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At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Dunn is a versatile defender, who has played at strong safety, outside linebacker and nickel corner. Mitchell says Dunn’s speed allows him to be a team’s Swiss Army knife.
“He’s fantastic in the run game (and) really, really good in the pass game,” Mitchell said. “He can do a lot of things for us, and he’s a great special teams player as well…
“He’s a guy that will beat you before you realize it sometime. Just a very high-level defender for us (and a) big-time playmaker.”
Mitchell says one area where Dunn needs to improve is his coverage.
“His coverage skills have gotten better (but) still has to grow there,” Mitchell said. “That’s probably the area where he’s got to continue to develop and continue to grow. That’s going to happen as he develops and evolves as his body continues to catch up with him.”
Derrian Carter is a sports reporting intern for the Tuscaloosa News. Contact him at DCarter@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter @DerrianCarter00.