Eastern Michigan defensive end Maxx Crosby may be the 2019 NFL Combine biggest winners. He entered the weekend relatively unheard of outside of the circles of NFL scouts and MAC fans but walked out as a star.
Crosby was dominant in the explosion drills —topping all defensive ends with a broad jump of 122 inches and the third-best vertical with a 36-inch leap—and he also had an incredible 4.66 40-yard dash, an excellent mark for someone who weighed in at 255 pounds.
According to our own Kent Lee Platte’s Relative Athletic Score, it was one of the greatest combines for a defensive end ever recorded.
I was lucky enough to have a chance to talk to the defensive end after his combine performance to find out more about his combine experience, his football career and to learn more about the guy underneath the helmet.
Shaheen: Introduce yourself, Maxx. Who are you?
Crosby: My name is Maxx Crosby. I’m from Eastern Michigan, a defensive end. I’m super excited for this opportunity to take this next step in my life and continue playing the game I love.
S: How did you get into football? How did all of this start?
C: I started playing football in second grade. I’ve always been obsessed with the sport and if I wasn’t playing football right now I’d probably be doing something along the broadcasting side of things. But yeah, I’ve just always been a humongous fan of the sport, and I’m just living the dream right now.
S: So if you weren’t really good at football you think you’d be in broadcast journalism? In sports in particular?
C: Yeah, I’ve always wanted to do like, a podcast or something, and I might do that eventually, once I start making a name for myself. Once football is done or possibly when I’m playing.
S: So [Sunday] you took part in the combine and did really well, what the prep work like in the time leading up to the combine?
C: I’ve been training out in Phoenix at Exos, and I’ve just been preparing every single day of the week. Just working out and getting ready for this opportunity. I’ve been grinding for months and doing everything I need to be as ready as I possibly can. You know, it’s not easy work, but I’m enjoying every minute of it. Just to be in my shoes right now is a big deal. Not many people go [to the combine] from my high school or anything like that. Nobody in my family played at the next level. I’m just trying to soak it up and have as much fun as I can with it.
S: You’re gonna be the first person in your family to go pro, but is football something that has been a staple in your family in the past?
C: Absolutely. My family, we love football. We love all types of sports, football, basketball, MMA all that type of stuff. My brother played at SMU, my dad played in college as well. We’ve always been a football family, and I just trying to keep taking it as far as I can.
S: Were you a Cowboys fan growing up by any chance?
C: Haha no, so actually I grew up in Michigan and live their till I was about 10. Then I moved to Texas and was there for all of middle school and high school. So I always grew up a Lions fan, I’ve been a die-hard Lions fan since I was really young.
S: That’s actually really cool! So back to the combine. Is it as awkward as it sounds? I hear a lot of horror stories. You walk in and it’s just you in your underwear being inspected like a piece of meat. Is it that bad?
C: I wouldn’t say it’s that bad but yeah, definitely some of those stories are probably true. It’s definitely a different experience. You’re constantly waking up early in the morning and doing things you never thought you’d be doing. Doing medical two days straight for hours on end. Just doing a bunch of stuff.
It’s definitely a different experience but you’re only there for like four and a half days, so you just gotta go with the flow and do everything you can and stay positive because you know you’re there for a reason.
S: So you hear stories of prospects getting asked weird questions. I think this Texas corner got asked if he had both of his balls. Did you get anything weird like that, or did they leave you alone for the most part?
C: No I didn’t. I didn’t have any crazy questions like that. I definitely, the formal meetings are definitely a different type of interview. Nothing like [anything] I’ve ever experienced. But no, I didn’t have any crazy questions or anything like that.
S: Were you a little disappointed you didn’t get any crazy questions?
C: No, you know going into it I knew they would be super critical of the negatives on film and stuff like that. I was prepared for it. Obviously I’ve still got a lot of room to grow. But it was nothing I wasn’t expecting. I had to answer every question honestly and that’s all you can do. Keep a smile on your face and just be positive.
S: So you obviously have links to Michigan but why Eastern Michigan? Was that a dream school? Was it a school you always planned on going to? Was it just an opportunity that fell in your lap and that you felt was best?
C: It wasn’t my initial dream school, but they were the only team that offered me. My dream has always been to play D1 football and Eastern gave me that chance, so I took it and I ran with it.
S: So you guys had a weird field. A gray field. How did you feel about that field? I’ve always wanted the perspective from someone who played on it.
C: I liked it. It was normal to me. I was used to it, practiced on it all the time, thought it was cool.
S: So EMU is in a city outside of Detroit called Ypsilanti, how do you like the city?
C: I like it a lot. When I first got there I didn’t really know what to expect but the campus is super nice and you’re around your teammates 24/7 and it’s all football all year around. So it was a good experience to say the least.
S: So you’re a Lions fan too, would you be overjoyed if they drafted you? Is that your dream selection?
C: Absolutely. I would love to play for the Lions but honestly I really don’t care where I go. As long as the team truly wants me and welcome me as part of their organization, either way it’s gonna be a dream come true. Really I don’t have any preference but playing for the Lions would be amazing.
S: So you went to high school in Colleyville, Texas. Tell me a little more about Colleyville.
C: In high school [football in Texas] is a big deal. We were a 6A team which is the highest level, and it was crazy. Every single game was sold out and it was a big deal. Every single game was an awesome environment to play in, and I got to grow really fast and figure it out. Coming from Michigan high school wasn’t really the same... in high school down there it’s a religion. The stadiums are legit and there was about 15,000 people in the crowd for high school games and it was awesome getting to play there.
S: So it was a true Friday Night Lights experience?
C: Oh yeah. Absolutely!
S: Did you grow up playing Madden, by any chance?
C: Yeah, I still play Madden to this day.
S: So you’re gonna be in Madden, like the next one that comes out. Is that cool? Is that something your nervous about?
C: Nah, I don’t really [think I’m] nervous, I think it’s a dream come true. It’s crazy. Four years ago I never really knew what my future was gonna hold but, yeah, it’s crazy. Two days ago we got to do our Madden profiles and took all those pictures down in Indy and it was crazy just to be a part of it.
S: If Madden comes out and you’re not happy with your rating are you gonna call someone? Tweet about it? Quietly sulk?
C: Yeah, I don’t think I’m gonna be tweeting at anybody but I just gotta prove myself and slowly keep building that overall rating. It’s crazy and a blessing to be in the game. It’s honestly crazy to even be talking about it.
S: Any other sports you played outside of football?
C: I grew up playing football and basketball from a super young age, and I played basketball all the way up to high school. I played a little bit of baseball in middle school as well. But yeah I’m a huge basketball fan and I love basketball.
S: So is your favorite basketball team the Pistons?
C: So growing up I was a huge Pistons fan but James Harden is my favorite player so I root for the Rockets as well. I’ve always been a huge James Harden fan. So I’m kinda rooting for both which is kinda not normal I guess in other people's eyes but [Harden] is my favorite so I gotta root for them as well.
S: So football was always obviously your best sport but, when did it click for you that you were more than good? Like “Hey, I’m not just good at football, I can make a career out of it.” Did it ever click for you that “Hey, I’m really [redacted] good at this”?
C: Honestly, after my redshirt sophomore year, I started seeing a lot of success. I started getting a lot of attention for the things I was doing on the field. That’s when it kinda hit me that this could really happen. And it was always a dream to take it to the next level and play in the league but it started getting real about two years ago. I’ve always worked for it and it’s starting to come true.
S: What do you think is your personal best performance in a football game? College, high school, youth, best performance even in a game.
C: Probably [against] Central [Michigan] last year. I had a strip sack for a touchdown and ended with three sacks. I was making a bunch of plays and I had the hot hand to start that game and rolled that way the whole game.
S: Anything else you want fans to know?
C: I hope to come to the Lions, it would be a freaking blessing. It would be a dream come true. Just know I’m gonna keep working and keep my head up and try to be the best player I can be at the next level. So, I’m just super excited for what’s next and you’re gonna be hearing my name pretty soon.
S: What’s your favorite bird?