FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
Here are 28 ITG Must See features FREE for all to read. From some of our Anonymous Player Q&A sessions to our Behind-the-Scenes look at Florida football. All FREE!
- Post Spring Anonymous Player Q&A Part II
- Post Spring Anonymous Player Q&A Part I
- Florida’s Terrific 10 Targets
- Defensive Replacements: How the Gators will fill starting roles
- Offensive Replacements: How the Gators will fill starting roles
- Evers continues to recruit top receiver target
- Former Florida Football Player Roundtable III
- Five-star talks Florida official visit
- Under-the-radar receiver talks setting his Florida official visit
- Redshirt Report: Wilcoxson goal is to be a key piece on defense
- Where are they Now: Shane Matthews talks Florida Football
During the beginning weeks of the off-season, Inside the Gators will take an in-depth look at how last season went for Florida's 2020 signees and transfers. Normally, the focus is on those who redshirted, but since the NCAA mandated that the 2020 season was 'uncounted' as far as eligibility is concerned, essentially every player redshirted.
Today the Redshirt Report series focuses on the freshman season of punter Jeremy Crawshaw.
The first and only time Jeremy Crawshaw set foot in the United States before joining the Florida Gators was while on his official visit to the University of Florida.
After a season with the team, the man from Emu Plains is preparing to take up the mantle and continue the line of successful punters at UF.
According to his mother, Ally Crawshaw, a physical education teacher in school inspired him to take up American football in a land where all other sports reign. It helped Jeremy learn something like sports can be used to gain an education.
Subsequently, Jeremy joined ProKick Australia. It’s an organization dedicated to training American football punters in Oz. It has produced the likes of Miami’s Louis Hedley, former Kentucky Wildcat (and first-team All-American and Ray Guy Award Winner) Max Duffy plus Ray Guy Award winner, former Texas Longhorn, and current National Football League punter Michael Dickson. Not to mention, back-to-back Ray Guy winner Tom Hackett.
“ProKick’s a really tight-knit community where they all support each other,” Ally Crawshaw said. “And the guys all do know each other… and if they need anything, they reach out to each other as well and get advice.”
Ally actually had a colleague at Cranebrook High School, where she teaches, tutor her in American rules football. She said she’s getting better at understanding the intricacies of the sport, but it is taking her a little longer because it’s so different from the sports played in Australia.
“The good thing is I'm getting to know who all the players are,” she said. “I’m remembering some that we met when we visited, so, that's good as well. That helps when you know faces and recognize people to be able to learn a new game.”
Ally jokes that she, Jeremy, and the rest of the family met just about everybody during Jeremy’s official visit. It was actually a game during one of Kyle Trask’s first starts after Feleipe Franks’s season-ending ankle injury.
She remembers the likes of Trask and Kyle Pitts. One of the family’s favorites is multi-tool player Kadarius Toney. They always say they adopted him as an Australian because they have an affinity for those whose play reflects the Aussies.
They also met all the special teamers. Plus, they’re now close with those families like the McPhersons and Ortizes. Funny enough, the only one they didn’t meet was the man Jeremy backed up: Jacob Finn.
Jeremy actually became Dan Mullen’s first signee of the Class of 2020. Florida received his letter of intent at 7 a.m. Florida time that Wednesday.
Being nine hours behind Gainesville time, it was actually 11 p.m. on Tuesday when Crawshaw was announced as a Florida Gator.
The time difference wasn't the only thing that took getting used to.
Coincidentally, one of the challenges Jeremy faced while in the States was a language barrier of sorts. Because Australian slang and English are a lot different than those of the US. Even the way his accent affected his pronunciation of some of his teammate’s names provided difficulty. Aussies sometimes put stress on different syllables or parts of a surname.
“It was a really steep learning curve that he had to kind of get over really quickly, especially with the language,” his mother said. “He used language that other guys, you know, their eyebrows would go up. To us, it's just some innocuous little thing that we say. At times, I think he felt a little bit like a fish out of water because he was the odd guy on the team from another country. But that’s part of the joy of traveling too.”
Not only that, initially, everything was different. Right down to the way Americans mix their food together. According to Ally, sometimes Jeremy would appreciate a good straightforward Australian meal. He even sent his mother pictures of the weird combinations and carb-laden meals they served to help bulk him up, which were hard to eat.
Bacon and the way they cook it differs. Australians actually cook theirs on the barbecue, or grill, whereas an American might cook it in a pan on the stove or the microwave.
Furthermore, Jeremy came to UF when Black Lives Matter served as a major topic of discussion for people. It was something he felt he should touch base with his parents on from time to time to help him understand what was going on.
“I know that he had a couple of different conversations around things with different people on the team, just working through why that was such a significant time and how or why people were feeling the way that they were,” Ally said. “Just talking those through with an Aussie as well, to get our perspective, because Jeremy's had such a different background going to the States at that time.”
However, being an early enrollee also was going to give him the opportunity to participate in spring practices and fully acclimate to the college setting along with the United States. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the young Aussie back to his homeland for the time being.
His mother said it was tricky being so far away from someone who needs guidance and doesn’t really know what was going to happen. Fortunately, for her, UF quickly decided to send everyone home and the Gators facilitated that for Jeremy. And while it was great to have him back home, that didn’t come without its challenges.
“His mates were all working day-to-day and carrying on with their lives,” Ally said. “And he was drifting, because he wasn't in his program. He had huge amounts of contact with the trainers and just with college, generally, but it wasn't the same. It was through the night and, and that kind of thing. He was trying to provide the structure for himself to keep his training up. And so that was really hard for him.”
He’d be in exams in late-night to early-morning hours during that spring semester. His parents couldn’t even come down to make coffee. He didn’t function during normal business hours. Not to mention, he didn’t have much opportunity for practice.
“We don't play gridiron every park here or anything,” Ally said. “It's not like he could reach out to other players and train with them. That wasn't really a big possibility, either. They're not the codes that are played in our local area. So, he was really out of the loop with everything and (it was) sort of a ‘paddling against the current’ kind of thing for a while.”
Eventually, Jeremy did return to the US for the fall semester and his first season as a member of the Florida Gators. Albeit he didn’t see the field until the Cotton Bowl.
When restrictions lifted in Australia, the Crawshaw family pulled all-nighters just to possibly see Jeremy on television. They would put out Gator banners each time Florida played. It was disappointing they didn’t see him play, but it came with a bright spot.
Of course, Jeremy felt frustrated but it was because he was so eager. That time allowed him to learn and the system was designed where time could be taken for some players.
“We liked the values that were being projected by saying ‘No, we're not just going to overlook somebody who's done their time just because a new kid comes in,’” Ally said. “Because, for us, it means that hopefully in the future Jeremy doesn't just get pushed to the side when he's older; (that) Florida will keep investing in their players so we actually thought that was really wholesome, that he was spending that time learning.”
The Crawshaw clan was excited just to see him hold for kicks a few games earlier. However, Ally screamed when he trotted out on a 4th and 13 with under 10 minutes to play in the third quarter of the Cotton Bowl.
Crawshaw punted twice in the game for a 49.0 average
“We were cheering and we were screaming, and I think the neighborhoods must have thought it was a Grand Final day here,” she said. “We were going bananas when he punted both times… we were very happy.”
Now, as the 2021 season looms off in the distance, Jeremy should be set in as the team’s new punter due to the transfer of Jacob Finn. Ally hopes restrictions are lifted enough for her and Jeremy’s father to travel and see their son play in-person in a packed Swamp with the rest of the Gator Nation.
“That will be exciting, when we can see him do what he's been training to do and what he wants to continue to do,” she said. “It would be nice to see him out on that field when those full-capacity crowds return. That will be huge for us.”