Princeton's Craft-Hawley sign with Methodist
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 15, 2012 1:49 PM
Two friends and teammates got to see a dream come true when they signed their respective letters of intent to play football at Methodist University this week.
James Hawley and Tyler Craft will continue their education and their playing careers together and the duo would not have it any other way.
"It is a great thing for both guys because they have kind of gone through the recruiting process side by side," Princeton head coach Russell Williamson said. "They have earned everything that they have gotten on the football field and in the classroom."
Hawley, a two-year starter at center, chose Methodist for its Religious Studies program. The chance to play football and compete at an up-and-coming Division III university was a bonus.
"I went and saw the facilities and met the coaches and it was a good fit," Hawley said. "After my sophomore year coach (Bruce) Proctor came to me and told me that I might have a chance to play some place. It turns out that he was right and that place was Methodist."
At 6-foot-2 and 302 pounds, Hawley has prototypical offensive line size. Playing time at center and guard are both a possibility. Over the summer Hawley plans on working on his quickness and his upper body strength.
"I really have to work on my quickness," Hawley said. "I am going to be in the weight room every day getting stronger and improving my foot speed."
Speed will not be an issue for Craft.
The fleet-footed wide receiver boasted eye-popping numbers in two years as a key cog in the Princeton spread offense. Craft caught 32 balls for 522 yards and three touchdowns during his senior season.
"Playing in that kind of spread definitely helped me get noticed," Craft said. "I was able to send game tape to a couple of different colleges and it worked out because Methodist runs a very similar offense to what I have seen the past two seasons."
Reuniting with former Princeton teammate and current Methodist receiver Patrick Jacobs also factored into Craft's decision.
"Patrick kept telling me about the program and about the coaches and how much he liked playing at Methodist," Craft said. "He gave me some really good feedback."
The 5-10, 170-pound Craft will likely move from an outside receiver spot into a slot position at the college level. He plans to major in science.