CULVER - Friday afternoon, CMA Football star defensive-end and Indiana Mr. Football candidate Deontae Craig announced on Instagram that he intends to join the Iowa Hawkeye Football's incoming class of 2020.
Craig, a Fort Wayne, IN native and one of the top DE prospects in the Midwest had his pick of exceptional programs, receiving offers also from Indiana, Tennessee, Michigan, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Washington State, Washington State, Ball State, and Indiana State.
The 6'4" 240 lbs dual-threat student-athlete and three-star football recruit narrowed his decision down to Iowa and Indiana in late July after taking his official visits to both schools near the middle of June. "It was a really tough decision," said Craig. "Both schools have so much to offer and I'm grateful for the opportunities they have extended to me."
As to what ultimately separated Iowa in the end, Craig said, "Iowa's coaches have longstanding history with one another, and those relationships among the staff gave me a lot of confidence as I got to know them through the process. They have a track record of developing guys in my position for the NFL, and it's my goal to one day reach that level."
The appeal Iowa Football's positive relationships extend beyond just coach-to-coach and player-to-coach, though. Craig continued, "with no professional teams in the area, Iowa Football is very important to the community, and the fan base is incredible. The fans add to an already amazing program culture."
Craig was one of just ten underclassmen named as a member of the Indiana Football Coaches Association's Top 50 All-State Team for the 2018 season. Twenty-four defensive players received the honor, and Craig was one of only five members of the 2020 class selected. Craig was also honored by the Indiana Football Digest as a Prime Time 25 Player, tabbing him as one of the top 25 players in his class.
On the gridiron for the Eagles, Craig managed to record 32 solo tackles in nine games during 2018, including 13 for losses and 8 sacks. During his Culver career, he has notched 84 solo tackles, 46 TFL, 21 sacks, and at tight-end has caught 22 passes for 225 yards including one touchdown.
"Deontae has an unbelievable motor and desire to compete," said CMA Football Head Coach Andrew Dorrel. "He relentlessly pursues the football and is just as imposing tracking down ball carriers from the backside as when offenses run at him. In my twenty years as head coach, he is by far the most dominating player I have ever coached." He went on to add, "equally important, though, he is a phenomenal team player who leads in the locker room as well as on the field. We are very proud of him for the maturity he displayed through the recruitment process. He handled himself professionally and made the decision on his own timeline."
As a sophomore in the four-spot, Craig's compete level helped lead the CMA Basketball team alongside classmate and Indiana Basketball commit Trey Galloway to the 2018-19 IHSAA 3A State Championship and followed with a State Finals appearance in 2019. Additionally, he was chosen alongside Galloway to take part in IndyStar's Indiana Junior All-Star program, which took place at the beginning of June.
In the midst of CMA Football's preseason camp, Craig has been sure not to lose focus on what lies directly ahead. "Our coaches and players are committed to getting better every day," he said. "We have a great group of younger guys and as a senior I'm excited for the chance to help bring those guys along and help them answer the call every Friday night."
Craig is currently the 582nd nationally ranked football recruit according to 247sports, the 22nd ranked DE in the country, and the 4th overall recruit from the state of Indiana. He intends to pursue a business degree, in accounting or finance, during his career at Iowa.