MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - He was once the number one football recruit in the country. Now former Memphis Tiger Xavier Crawford is on trial for raping an 18-year-old pregnant relative.
Jury selection began Monday, May 14, for 42-year-old Crawford's rape and kidnapping trial. The number one Memphis recruit never made it to the NFL and now he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
In February, 2009, an 18-year-old pregnant relative was visiting Crawford in his home when according to court records, he forced her to perform oral, anal and vaginal sex and threatened to kill her with a large barbecue fork. Crawford held the victim in the home for five hours; during his escape police say he ran a block away, attacked an elderly woman, raped her, then stole her car. He was on the run for a day.
It's not the way Memphians expected their golden child to turn out. He was a star at Trezevant High School, wanted by nearly every college football program in the nation. In 1988 he chose to stay home. The "X-Man" as he was known, was seen as a savior to the unranked Memphis program. That was the same year he had his first encounter with police, when he was arrested for paternity issues.
The brush with the law was just the beginning of his troubles. In 1989 he was arrested for speeding. 1998 he was arrested for forgery and theft charges. In 1999 he was arrested for evading arrest and DUI. In 2001, he was arrested for sexual battery, convicted in 2002 and ordered to register as a sex offender. 2007 Crawford was arrested for DUI and reckless driving, and according to police, the 5'10", 200-plus pound former blue-chip prospect fought with them during the arrest.
Also in 2007, former Memphis City Council woman and Crawford's ex-girlfriend Pat Vander Schaff accused Crawford of beating her up. A month later she says he violated a restraining order and attempted to attack her again.
Now on trial for the attack in 2009, a guilty verdict could keep him in jail the rest of his life.
Crawford is on trial for aggravated rape and aggravated robbery. Testimony should begin in Crawford's trial on Tuesday.