Welcome One Piece Lovers and One Piece Fans...
As the title says, Is Crocodile able to awaken his Devil Fruits before he even met Luffy? I see many post where they are telling that Crocodile has awakened Devil Fruit.
Let's define devil fruit awakening first..
Devil Fruit powers can, in rare occasions, be "awakened" , increasing the abilities of the user. The details of how a Devil Fruit can be awakened are so far unknown, but the increased abilities have been seen to allow significantly more power, as well as new abilities. The effects of the awakening depend on the type of the Devil Fruit.
For Zoan-type powers, awakening grants the users much larger transformations than other Zoan, while also gaining even more physical strength and durability, the latter contributing to a higher recovery rate. The Jailer Beasts of Impel Down are all awakened Zoan users.
For Paramecia-type powers, it allows the user to change the landscape around them to match the properties of their Devil-Fruit, and to manipulate and deform the landscape through force of will. Donquixote Doflamingo, with the Ito Ito no Mi, is confirmed to have awakened, and has used it to create massive amounts of string to either serve as a shield, pierce opponents with masses of string with highly compressed tips, or to simply trip-up opponents by making the ground unstable, with all but his most powerful attacks not requiring him to move his body unlike his non-awakened attacks; Luffy commented that such a feat makes it appear that it is no longer a mere Paramecia.
As Doflamingo said. "Once a devil fruit user go through the awakening, they can affect everything around themselves." He didn't say Paramecia only so that means Logia users "might" have the same awakening if they can affect their surroundings.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that awakening can just affect the surrounding, in fact I believe that awakening has also different levels just like Haki.
Now let's go to the topic where Crocodile might awakened his Devil Fruit.
I've seen this image being compared to what Doflamingo said about awakening. Crocodile stated "Depending on how you use and train them, devil fruit powers can be very strong in battle." If you will ask me, I think he is talking about devil fruit techniques just like Luffy able to come up with second, third and fourth gear.
Crocodile knows about awakening in Impel Down but that doesn't mean that he himself can do it.
Another one stated that if Crocodile's devil fruit is not awakened, how can he turned everything into sand when he fought Luffy. Just to be clear, Crocodile did not turned the place into sand. He turned it back to sand. There is a big difference between "turned" and "turned back". Check the image below.
So my take is that Crocodile didn't have an awakened devil fruit when he fought Luffy. Does he have an awakened devil fruit at the moment? No one knows until Oda show it to us.
This is my honest opinion only so please don't hate me.