The return of Roscoe Crosby

CLEMSON, S.C. (WACH) - When the new millennium started, Roscoe Crosby was the next big thing. His signing day was one of the most anticipated of the time in South Carolina.

He was a two-sport superstar out of Union County High School in football and baseball. A second-round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals. A millionaire with a big league contract by the time he stepped on campus to play college football at Clemson.

It was the perfect recipe for athletic and financial success. It didn't work out that way.

Fourteen years later, Crosby is back where it all started. Roscoe Crosby is back in class at Clemson again and about to begin work as a coach with the Clemson offense thanks to some help from coach Dabo Swinney.

"I'm still a competitor," Crosby said. "I'm still trying to win. But, my game that I play now, it's the game of life."

It wasnt' always like that. Clemson coaches said he was the best receiver they had ever seen once he hit the field for the Tigers. Despite several injuries his freshman year, including a sprained knee, Crosby finished the season with four touchdowns and was primed for a breakout sophomore campaign.

But, things weren't entirely perfect. He was still playing baseball in the off-season and the Royals were paying his way through Clemson. Five of Crosby's friends decided to drive to Orlando to visit him at minor league training camp. They never made it. Three died and two others were injured in a car crash in Georgia.

A short time later, doctors found a torn tendon in his arm. He was set for Tommy John surgery and was put on the shelf. No sports. He missed a football and baseball season while he recovered.

"The biggest thing for me, was I had no outlet," Crosby said. "My outlet became cars or going out to clubs. That was my outlet to make me feel better."

It didn't get any easier in 2004, when Crosby's teenage brother drowned.

He dropped out of Clemson and focused on baseball full-time to earn money for his family. Eventually, Clemson worked him back on campus, as he qualified for a hardship waiver. He enrolled in class once more, but his return to the Clemson gridiron was short-lived as he tried to pursue his two-sport dream again.

The Royals wanted him to focus on baseball and sent Crosby notice that he was in breach of his contract. His case ended up in arbitration.

Following the advice of his lawyers, Crosby didn't say anything about his case as it worked through the legal process, and one of the most celebrated athletes ever in South Carolina seemingly disappeared.

"People didn't actually know the story," Crosby said. "They put me in that (category). 'He's a great athlete but he done blew it.'"

By 2005, Crosby was working out again and was ready to return to what he knew best. This time it was professional football. He signed on with the Indianapolis Colts. He ended up getting cut and realized he needed something different in life.

Crosby went on to find work as a counselor with AMI Kids, a wilderness camp partnered with the state Department of Juvenile Justice. The former sports star was now leading at-risk youth through physical activities hoping to teach them values.

And now, he's back where it all started. Back at Clemson. Back on the football field and ready to start a new chapter in life.

"Life for me is becoming, trying to being a good father. Trying to be a good role model," Crosby said. "I'm trying to be a person that encourages other people not to give up on themselves. Because I've been there."

So maybe the story of Roscoe Crosby panned out after all.