Shaun Crawford is a huge part of the plan for Notre Dame football in 2016.
One of the biggest names on the Notre Dame defense is a name that was never called once in 2015 as a player that made a tackle, or was even in on a single play. That name and that player is Shaun Crawford, sophomore cornerback.
Back in August of 2015, Notre Dame was in a desperate search of a third cornerback and more importantly at the time, a true nickelback. It didn’t take long for them to find exactly what they were looking for to do this job for Brian VanGorder’s defense with true freshman, Shaun Crawford.
Crawford was announced as the starter at nickelback, but then soon after he suffered a torn ACL. It was a huge blow for the possibilities of the defense, and one that they never fully recovered from during the season.
Fast forward to this spring, and once again Notre Dame has a need at cornerback and at the nickel, and once again all eyes are turned to Shaun Crawford. With a fairly good spring showing, Crawford eerily wore a green (don’t touch me) jersey for the Blue-Gold Game.
Here’s the thing though… How comfortable are we with a player that has not played a single down in college football? If you ask anyone that knows anything about Shaun Crawford, you’ll get the same type of response of just how good of a player Crawford is- but a bit slight in stature.
I could care less about the stature of a cornerback, but after the injury plagued last two years and a major injury to another top flight corner in Nick Watkins, it does give you some pause. You pause, and then you realize Crawford HAS to work out. It was painfully obvious that a few other options that were in place last year, were not ideal.
I’m not sure exactly how Brian VanGorder’s defense is supposed to work. I understand the theory, but his schematics are a little foreign. I don’t speak Chinese. What I do understand is that this defense require’s a lot from everyone involved on both the cerebral and physical level, and that is difficult.
Shaun Crawford seems to be that kind of player needed to make this work, I just wish I had more evidence to hang a hat on before they head to Austin Texas. Crawford will remain one of the key pieces of the defense as they gameplan this offseason, and we hope this confidence in him is justified.