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Glastonbury's Mr. Everything

By Ned Griffen

Publication: The Day

Published October 03. 2013 4:00AM   Updated October 03. 2013 2:15PM
Dana Jensen/The Day
Kyran McKinney-Crudden starts at linebacker and H-back for Glastonbury, but has played many different positions.
McKinney-Crudden is as good off the football field as on it

Glastonbury - Kyran McKinney-Crudden can speak four languages. The Glastonbury High School senior didn't offer this bit of information.

His grandfather, Brian Crudden, did.

That would be Brian Crudden, football coach at Windham and the unofficial mayor of Willimantic.

"He didn't tell you?," Crudden said. "He wouldn't. I tested him. … He speaks Spanish, Chinese and Russian. After one football game, I said, 'Okay, hot shot, let's go to a Chinese restaurant.'

"He started talking to the young lady there and, holy mackerel, she lit up. They talked and, hey, we got good Chinese food."

McKinney-Crudden has been blessed with smarts and athleticism to match.

He's a football co-captain carrying a 4.6 grade point average (yes, 4.6). He's played several different positions and hopes to be attend Yale University next fall.

Somehow, someway, McKinney-Crudden has found a way to balance it all.

"It's definitely something you have to learn," he said. "That's one of the things that I take pride in, being able to balance all of my schoolwork and football."

Glastonbury coach Scott Daniels has his players pick their captains, and he knew McKinney-Crudden would be one of those chosen.

"He challenges himself in the classroom," Daniels said. "He's not a kid who's just going to take an (easy) elective. He's going to take something that challenges him. He embraces it and he does well.

"No one is going to tell him, 'you can't study this stuff and play football.' He's going to do it. He has no trouble balancing it. He's our team captain. He's our voice in the locker room."

McKinney-Crudden is an H-back, linebacker and defensive back this season.

He's also played (deep breath) running back, tight end, receiver (at either the outside or the slot), quarterback and long snapper and, new for this season, punter.

"We had lost a really good punter'" Daniels said. "He said, 'Okay, coach, I'll try it,' but he's already thinking that we'll need another long snapper."

McKinney-Crudden said, "I grabbed the ball and I kicked it. I thought, 'that was easier than I thought it would be. I don't know (why I tried it). I was just like, 'Hey, I'll try to punt.' Turns out I could punt. I didn't even know that I could."

McKinney-Crudden is just as well-rounded in the classroom — he's taking AP classes in calculus, physics, and Spanish.

Some seniors want to ease up a bit on their course work. McKinney-Crudden is going full throttle.

"My parents, they always want to push me on the field and off the field," McKinney-Crudden said. "They know that I'm smart and that I can do it, so they want me to do it.

"My friends all think I'm crazy, too. It's not too bad."

Academics and athletics have been cornerstones in the Crudden and McKinney families. Mother Jessica is a teacher in Manchester.

Anthony, his father, played football at UConn and was with both the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings in 1996.

Brian Crudden was a New England high school wrestling champion at Bishop Hendricken (R.I.). Bran, Brian's son, was a three-time CIAC State Open wrestling champion and a recent Brown graduate.

"We thought we did a pretty good job with our kids," Brian Crudden said, "but Jessica just really outshined us."

McKinney-Crudden would like to attend Yale and has talked with Patriot League schools as well as Georgetown.

He's a math guy and does well at physics, so he wants to study mechanical engineering.

"I thought he was going to use his language skills to be an ambassador," Brian Crudden chuckled.

n.griffen@theday.com

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