Miranda H. Lewis
Carter County Times
As thousands of student-athletes across the country have put ink to the paper to further their academic and athletic careers this winter, Hiram College has welcomed its newest member, Cole Crampton, to the Terrier Family.
Amid family, friends, and coaches inside the Harold L. Holbrook gymnasium, Crampton solidified his plans for the upcoming four years by signing his Letter of Intent on Wednesday.
Crampton spoke highly of Hiram’s coaching staff and the atmosphere and culture they have built in northeast Ohio.
“It feels like family,” he said about choosing Hiram. “They welcomed me with open arms and really acted like they wanted me to play for them.”
Crampton said he visited other colleges but ultimately chose the Terriers.
“It just felt right,” he added.
He will join the Terriers as a force on the offensive line as the team turns its sight to the 2023-2024 football season. With Crampton’s speed and keen scoring ability, Hiram will seek to increase their win total for the third straight year.
In his junior season, he broke two school records including, single season rushing yards in a game and most carries in a season, leaving his mark on West Carter.
Crampton shared that he will carry the advice of West Carter Offensive Coordinator Thomas Flannery with him as he pursues football at the collegiate level.
“He was my very first coach, he’s been with me since I was in fourth grade,” he said of Flannery. “He’s encouraged me to always give my best and to never quit.”
Flannery is in his fifteenth year of coaching; he has been the offensive coordinator at West Carter for five years.
He reciprocated the same respect and admiration for Crampton.
Flannery shared that he knew Crampton had the potential to be a special player the first time he noticed a then fourth grade Cole while he was coaching fifth and sixth graders.
“Immediately after practice, I found his dad and asked if he was interested in playing up a couple of grades for me,” said Flannery. “I have been coaching or very involved with him for the last nine or ten years.”
“Luckily for West Carter football he grew into what is now a fine young man that had a great career for us,” he added.
Crampton is a big play waiting to happen. In the 2A 2021 UK Orthopedics State Football Finals, he ran for 185 yards and scored two touchdowns to help secure the Comet’s victory over Martin County.
To put a cherry on top of what Flannery described as a “breakout junior season”, Crampton earned several accolades including being named District Player of the Year, making first team EKC and was an honorable mention on the Kentucky All-State team.
Crampton caught twelve passes for 199 yards, and he had eleven touchdowns for the Comets in his senior season.
He added a second first team All EKC nod to his resume in his final season at West Carter.
Flannery said that despite being plagued by injury during an emotional senior year that Crampton never displayed a bad attitude or poor body language.
As to what makes him stand out, the 5-foot-10 and 195-pound Crampton said, “hard work, dedication, and my work ethic.”
He continued, “I put all my effort into football.”
“His attitude and demeanor are what I am most proud of,” Flannery said. “His grit and work ethic are rare in adults let alone kids in a world full of excuses.”
While Crampton will miss his high school teammates and coaches, he’s thankful for the opportunity ahead at Hiram.
“Hiram Football is getting a tough and respectful young man that runs hard and loves the weight room,” said Flannery of the Terriers’ newest addition. “I believe Cole has a bright future ahead of him no matter what he chooses to study or where he ends up in the workforce.”
Crampton will make his practice debut with the Terriers at the beginning of August.
“I’m really excited,” he said.
Aside from playing football, Crampton plans to pursue a degree in environmental science.
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