WEST POINT, N.Y. — Berkeley Prep football coach Dominick Ciao made his best call for Jordan and Julian Crockett as time was running out in their high school careers.
Four years ago, the twin brothers from Wesley Chapel were sending their highlight videos to college recruiters when Ciao urged them to include the military academies.
His suggestion initially was met with some reluctance, Jordan said, “but he was like, ‘I really feel like you guys would fit in well. There’s just something about it. Just do it.’ So, of course, we said, ‘OK.’ Coach was pretty persuasive.”
Now seniors at the U.S. Military Academy, the cadets soon will exchange their gold football helmets for the gold bars of Army second lieutenants. If each has his way, Jordan will learn to fly Apache helicopters while Julian serves in the field artillery branch.
Regardless of their assignments, Ciao expects his former team captains to excel as military officers. “They were great leaders, dedicated young men and held the respect of their peers,” he said. “They led by example.”
A model of perseverance is Jordan, a cornerback who has yet to be sent into a game and just this season began to regularly join his teammates along the Michie Stadium sidelines and on road trips.
“The first couple of years, it was pretty rough because you come here and you really want to play, and you can’t really see all the work that you put in pay off,” he said.
Still, Jordan, an engineering management major, refused to fold up his tent.
“I wanted to give my all for the team,” he said
Julian, a running back who contributes almost exclusively as a kickoff return specialist, played only once in his first two seasons but earned a commemorative ring by making the roster of the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl team that notched a 16-14 victory against Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Still, it felt like the continuation of an extended guilt trip with his brother always left behind.
“For me to think like he might not ever be able to have that opportunity to travel, it kind of made me feel guilty,” Julian said. “It was really hard. If I was in his position, I probably would have quit, to be honest. But he stuck through it and finally made the travel team.”
During the college selection process, the Crockett family wanted nothing to do with any football program that didn’t embrace both four-time lettermen.
“Because our mom said we’re a package deal, that kind of scared off a couple of teams,” Julian said.
The twins – who have older twin sisters – had considered abandoning the sport to join their friends at Florida State University before West Point beckoned. “Yeah, Florida State would have been fun,” said Julian, a foreign language major, “but the opportunity to play football, and then the opportunities after school, we couldn’t pass it up.”