By Rob Kiser
Brett Craft has never been afraid of a little bit of hard work.
On Thursday, in the Piqua High School commons, that hard work was rewarded with the opportunity to play football at the college level for the 5-foot-11, 239-pound linebacker.
The son of Amy Craft signed his letter of intent to play football for Cincinnati Christian University.
“I have been playing football since I was four,” Craft said with a smile. “This is like a dream come true to be able to continue to play. I am excited about it.”
Craft said the decision to go to CCU was an easy one.
“I loved it when I visited there,” he said. “I loved all the coaches.”
Particularly the head coach, who is none other than former Cincinnati Bengal all-pro safety David Fulcher.
“I am really excited about that,” Craft said about playing for Fulcher. “I feel like if I work hard, there is an opportunity for me to go in an contribute right away.”
And hard work is the definition of Craft’s game.
If there was a high school version of Jon Gruden’s NFL “Gruden Grinders”, Craft would be on the time.
“I am definitely a grinder,” Craft said. “I have always enjoyed hard work. I am not someone who is afraid to put a little work in.”
It is that determination and commitment that led to Craft’s success on the gridiron for Piqua.
After one tackle as a sophomore, he played in eight games as a junior, picking up 13 tackles and helping Piqua advance to the postseason for the first time since 2007.
As a senior, he broke into the Piqua starting lineup.
In nine games, he recorded 26 tackles, including 13 solo.
He had a sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
His best game came against Franklin, where he recorded eight tackles.
“He has worked hard,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “He is definitely a grinder. He started out as a special teams player and worked his way into the lineup. He ended up being a great player for us.”
Nees said Craft has a lot of untapped potential.
“Definitely,” Nees said. “He enjoys getting in the weight room, working hard at practice — all the things that make you a better football player. He kept himself in shape this winter by wrestling, which is going to help him.”
Nees said playing for Fulcher is a great opportunity for him.
“He is going to be playing for a former NFL player,” Nees said. “It is an up and coming program and they have recruited this area hard. It is a real good fit for him.”
And Thursday was a day for that hard work to be rewarded.
“It takes a little stress off,” Craft said. “Now, I know this is where I am going to play next year.”
And continue to “grind” his way to success.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.
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