The Virginia Tech Hokies are set to bring in a large group of defensive backs this recruiting cycle with 4 already committed and VT looking to add 2 or 3 more. The good news is that the Hokies have been able to get commitments from some of their top targets including three-star CB DJ Crossen.
Crossen is well-regarded by the recruiting rankings with ESPN having him as a four-star recruit while ESPN, Rivals, 247 Sports, and the 247 Sports Composite all have him as one of the top 20 North Carolina recruits. Crossen is also regarded as a top 40 cornerback by ESPN, 247 Sports, and Rivals,with ESPN having him as the 33rd best CB, 247 Sports having him 36th, and Rivals having him 38th.
The first thing that stands out with Crossen is his length at 6’2”. In an era where defensive coaches are looking for longer, bigger cornerbacks; Crossen fits the bill with the length to cause problem even when he is behind the receiver he is covering on a play.
Crossen also is a fairly athletic cornerback that has the athleticism to go up in traffic and make a quality play on the ball. Crossen isn’t the fastest cornerback, but he has good speed that will help him be reliable on the outside while also having the acceleration to close down on opponents on quick passes or recover well if an opposing wide receiver gets behind him in man coverage.
Crossen has a lot of awareness and does a good job of keeping his eyes on the quarterback helping with his positioning and intercepting a couple more passes. Crossen also has great ball skills that allow him to make some impressive pass breakups along with the reactions to quickly adjust and get an interception.
In open space, Crossen is a solid tackler that has pretty good technique and does a good job of wrapping up sometimes while,also trying to always make sure he can grab an ankle and trip someone up when possible. Crossen also does well at keeping his eye on the backfield and watching the running back to position himself well.
One area where Crossen still has lots of work is in man,coverage as while he projects well athletically in coverage, he still has some technical things he needs to improve including his back pedal and his ability to get better positioning off the line of scrimmage. Crossen definitely has a lot of upside in man coverage but he still has a lot of room to grow there.
One thing that definitely stands out from his tape is that he plays with a great mentality and toughness that Bud Foster will love to have on the outside. Crossen also has an aggressive, physical style that should serve him well on the outside against big, outside receivers along with having the size to handle that at 6’2” and 190 pounds.
Crossen is projected to enroll early according to VT’s commit list on 247 Sports which should be to his benefit especially with the Hokies set to have lots of opportunity on the outside with Brandon Facyson and Greg Stroman graduating, and Adonis Alexander having the potential to leave early for the NFL Draft.
DJ Crossen has a lot of potential and is a solid pickup for the Hokies as someone who could definitely play early and will have the benefit of enrolling early and getting to be here for an additional spring. The Hokies have gotten themselves a talented young cornerback who should have a good career for the Hokies and could play quite early.