It’s not always easy to gain the trust of your teammates. Through hard work and dedication to Bemidji State football, senior Cory Crosby has earned the respect of his coaches and teammates. His peers proved that this offseason when they named him a captain for 2012.
“He leads by example,” said assistant coach and co-defensive coordinator Brent Bolte. “I don’t think he has ever been late for anything or missed a team meeting. He has done that since he was a young player, so that gets the confidence, trust and belief of the players that he will be there through thick and thin. He sacrifices and puts the team first. He has always done that and that is why guys really respect and look up to him.”
“I lead by example. I’m going to try and do the best I can and work as hard as I can and I hope they follow along with it,” Crosby said.
The Cold Spring, Minn. native has had to prove himself since he stepped on campus five years ago. A defensive lineman in high school, Crosby was moved to outside linebacker in the fall of his redshirt season, then to inside backer in the spring.
“It was really confusing at first,” Crosby said. “I show up here not knowing anything, then all of a sudden they put me at a new spot. I played there the whole fall, come back for spring and they put me at inside linebacker. It was interesting, but I got to learn from a lot of inside linebackers like Andrew Eagan, he taught me a lot and I modeled myself after him.”
Crosby got one spring session and a fall camp of experience at inside linebacker before beginning the 2009 season, but he would have to learn quickly after inside linebackers started to go down with injury. At Northern State Sept. 26, 2009, just minutes into the fifth game of the season, the depth chart shrunk to show Crosby’s name at the top.
“I remember that game,” Crosby said. “I told my parents not to come because it was too far away and I wouldn’t be playing much. But then all of a sudden Alex Mock goes down, so I was thrown in there.
“I was so nervous, but it was a lot of fun and I realized I loved playing inside linebacker.”
“He had the opportunity to start at the weak side position and really the rest is history, he has locked it down ever since then,” Bolte said.
Locked down he has. A week later, Crosby heard his name called for the first time - oddly enough against his hometown college team, St. Cloud State University - and hasn’t missed a start since.
“It was pretty cool and really exciting,” Crosby reminisced. “My parents and I made it a big deal that I was starting. I had family and friends up, so it was a lot of fun, especially playing St. Cloud State.”
Crosby finished his freshman campaign fourth on the team in tackles, then followed that performance by leading the Beavers in tackles as a sophomore, finishing second in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in the category and earning Second-Team All-NSIC honors. He posted the second most tackles on the squad a season ago, another year where he was recognized as an all-conference performer.
“Cory is just a really smart, physically gifted football player,” Bolte said. “He is steady and doesn’t make big mistakes. That is what, especially early in his career, made him stay out there. He outplayed and out-produced his competition.
“He is a very accountable young man that has done a lot of great things for us and made a lot of big plays in crucial situations and that started fairly early. For being a young player he did an outstanding job limiting those mistakes and keeps producing year after year. He is very cerebral and knows how to be at the right spot at the right time.”
His production has earned him the right to start his 31st consecutive game today. Crosby’s steady play has led to 238 career tackles, just 29 shy from inserting himself in the Bemidji State football record book. But it is just more than numbers on the gridiron that his teammates entrusted the honor of being captain in 2012.
“I hope it was my hard work and how I carry myself in the classroom, as well as the extra responsibilities I have outside football. I hope that is something they can look up to,” Crosby said.
A chemistry major, minoring in physics, math and business administration, Crosby hopes to enter the chemical engineering field after graduation in December.