Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation articles, a project that aims to bring our readers greater insight into the Class of 2018 signees. Land of 10 Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse are visiting the Iowa incoming freshman class to show you more than its 40-yard dash times and recruiting rankings. We talked with 4-star safety Dallas Craddieth, but before we bring you the full profile on the Hazelwood Central (Mo.) star, here is a sneak peek at what you can expect.
FLORISSANT, Mo. — The only downside of Dallas Craddieth’s four years as a starting safety at Hazelwood Central High was he never got to play at the same level as his younger brother until his final season.
Craddieth, a 4-star signee with Iowa, is a year older than Darius Watson, who is now a junior. But last fall, the brothers teamed up on different sides of the ball to elevate the Hawks to a 10-2 record and a Class 6 state quarterfinal berth. The victories were important, but the bond they shared on the football was immeasurable.
“It was exciting,” said Watson, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound tight end drawing interest from Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois. “All my life I looked up to him; mostly, I’ve seen his accomplishments that he’s been able to do. I’ve wanted to emulate that and try to have as much success and fun as he did on the football field.”
“It was pretty cool,” Craddieth said. “We never played with each other besides in baseball. It was really exciting. I finally got to go out on the field with my little brother. That’s not something you get to do all the time. Just to play with him, show him the ropes of how we do things on varsity. I think he’s picked up a lot. He’s going to be a great leader next year as a senior.”
Craddieth (6-0, 197) was a superstar at Hazelwood Central, which competes in Missouri’s largest football class. He was named either first- or second-team all-state in his final three seasons. The Hawks were 41-7 during his career and he picked off 15 passes. Craddieth held offers from 19 Power 5 schools spanning four conferences until he selected the Hawkeyes. As a National Honor Society inductee, he also had an offer from Yale.
Watson doesn’t have his brother’s accomplishments, but his profile is starting to grow. Schools such as Iowa, Iowa State, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois have shown interest. Watson was invited to Iowa’s spring game next week.
“Darius is, basically, I like to call him a child in a man’s body,” said Ken Taylor, Hazelwood Central’s track and assistant football coach. “He doesn’t know what to do with himself. He’s getting to the point now where he’s maturing. He’s going to be even more monstrous when he gets everything together. He doesn’t quite have the instincts and everything but the athleticism is off the charts.”
The brothers are close off the field and have enjoyed St. Louis Cardinals baseball games together since they participated in Redbird Rookies as children. They also serve as huddle leaders for the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, and they plan meetings for every other Monday.
“We come from a Christian household. We go to church on Sundays. We got baptized together,” Craddieth said. “We’ve been to some church camps together through FCA. They have a thing called guys weekend. A lot of guys from different background and different sports, we all come together and learn about each other. We play our sport through Jesus and just give our all on the field for Christ and realize who we’re doing it for at the end of the day, no matter what the score is.”
“We’ll find a way to help the athletes that come to our meetings and listen,” Watson said. “Afterwards, if they have any questions to ask us, we’ll make sure we have the answer and help them through their situation or their problem that they’re going through. We’re mostly listeners for them and a teacher at the same time.”
The brothers have had fights, but they don’t stay mad for long. Their love for each other is evident as is their joy for the other’s success.
“We’re homebody kids,” Craddieth said. “We like to stay at home. We will play a
game together. But he broke one of the controllers, so we have to take turns playing a game.”