WKU Hilltoppers Tab Josh Crawford as Outside Receivers Coach
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Football has hired Josh Crawford as Outside Receivers coach, head coach Tyson Helton announced Tuesday afternoon. One of the most successful offensive coaches in the nation’s high school ranks, Crawford has helped lead some of Georgia’s highest-profile teams to record-setting seasons in recent years.
“I’m very excited to be a part of the coaching staff at WKU under Coach Helton’s leadership,” Crawford said. “When you walk in the building it’s obvious there is a great culture here; I’m ready to get to work with an outstanding group of young men.”
Crawford most recently coached at Colquitt County High School (Class 7A) as assistant head coach and co-offensive coordinator. In 2020, Colquitt County went 7-0 in the regular season and were region champions. The team reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs and finished with a 9-1 record while averaging 40 points per game.
Prior to that, Crawford was at Valdosta High School from 2018-to-2019, where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Crawford was tasked with revamping an offense that averaged 18 points and 189 yards per game the year prior. In his two years, Valdosta was one of the most explosive offenses in the state and completed back-to-back quarterfinal appearances.
In 2018 Valdosta’s offense scored 501 points totaling 5,573 yards – rushing for 1,991 and passing for 3,582 – while averaging 38 points and 429 yards per game against one of the state’s toughest schedules. The offense produced a 1,300-yard rusher and three receivers who produced 900, 800 and 700 yards receiving. As Region 1 6A’s top offense, Valdosta produced five players who were selected First Team All-Region.
In 2019, despite five new starters in the offensive line and losing the top three offensive targets from 2018, Valdosta’s offense was the No. 1 scoring offense in Class 6A until playoff elimination, averaging 41 points per game. Valdosta’s offense eclipsed the 500-point mark once again, scoring 505 during the 2019 campaign while amassing 4,714 total yards and averaging 363 yards per game. Valdosta’s offense again led Region 1 6A while producing three First Team All-Region players, as well as a 1,000-yard wide receiver who tied the school record for touchdown receptions.
Most notably in Crawford’s tenure at Valdosta was the development of quarterback Tate Rodemaker. As a first-year starter in 2018, Rodemaker led Class 6A, completing 233-of-378 (62%) passes for 3,518 yards with a 15.1 per completion average. He broke three school records: yards in a season, touchdowns (31), and single-game passing record (491 yards) in the state’s toughest region. For his accomplishments, he was named the Region 1 6A Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-State, and was selected as the South Georgia Colony Bank Co-Offensive Player of the Year.
Under Crawford’s tutelage, Rodemaker continued to progress in his development with yet another stellar season in 2019. He again eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark, passing for 3,234 yards while completing 221-of-310 passes (71%); he broke his own touchdown record from the year prior with 43 touchdowns on the season. Once again, Rodemaker received several postseason honors, repeating as Region 1 6A Player of the Year, and First Team All-State, although this time was named South Georgia’s Colony Bank Offensive Player of The Year outright. He also received an invite to the prestigious US Army All-American Bowl.
After graduating from Morehouse College – where he played running back from 2004-to-2007, Crawford began his coaching career at Greater Atlanta Christian School (Class 2A) from 2010-to-2012. GACS posted a combined 27-9 record in those three years, reaching the playoffs twice, including a semifinal appearance in 2012. He then moved on to Jefferson County High School (Class 1A) for the 2013 season, helping develop a first-year quarterback who threw for 1,300 yards in only seven games.
Crawford then went to Colquitt County High School for his first stint with the program from 2014-to-2016, Crawford helped lead the team to a Class 6A State Championship and a No. 6 national ranking by the USA Today. That year, Colquitt County went 15-0 and set a record with 687 points scored. In 2015, Colquitt County went 15-0 once again and won the Class 6A State Championship for the second-consecutive season. This time, they were named National Champions.
After Crawford helped lead Colquitt County to a third-straight region title in 2016, he took a job at Lee County High School. During the 2017 season, the team went 14-1 and won the Class 6A State Championship, earning recognition from MaxPreps at a top 50 team in the nation. Lee County had two of the top three receivers in the region, including the state’s 6A receptions leader.
Over the past 11 years, Crawford has coached six All-State receivers. Those include Jaheim Bell at Valdosta (went to South Carolina), LeMeke Brockington at Colquitt County (went to Minnesota), Kiel Pollard at Colquitt County (went to South Carolina) and Darius Slayton at GACS. Slayton was a High School All-American who went on to play at Auburn before being selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. In two NFL seasons, he has 98 receptions for 1,491 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Josh and his wife, Jessica, have a 22-month old daughter, Ava Louise, and a second Crawford child is due in August.