Film Study: Notre Dame CB commit Shaun Crawford

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

CB commit Shaun Crawford, 5-9, 175; Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward.

The numbers: Crawford made an impact in almost every aspect of the game as a senior. The future Irish cornerback tallied 91 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles. In coverage, he allowed just five catches, intercepted seven passes and broke up 17 throws. On offense, Crawford caught 54 passes for 842 yards and nine touchdowns and ran 14 times for 211 yards and three touchdowns. On special teams, Crawford recorded one kickoff return touchdown and blocked two punts, one field goal and one extra point. St. Edward (13-2) won the OHSAA Division I state championship.

The rankings: Rivals – Four stars, No. 6 cornerback, No. 63 overall. 247Sports – Four stars, No. 18 cornerback, No. 165 overall.


First impression: Crawford plays bigger than his 5-foot-9 stature. Whether it’s shutting down opposing receivers or making plays with the ball in his hands, his size doesn’t seem to limit him. The fact that he has more than 10 minutes of impressive plays for this highlight film says plenty on its own. It’s easy to imagine Crawford being recruited as a slot receiver as well.

Strengths: Crawford erases space with closing speed in coverage and in chasing down tackles. If a receiver is able to find separation, Crawford is explosive enough to still be in range to break up the pass. He has shown the ability to play well in both man and zone coverage. Crawford, who has played both safety and cornerback in high school, doesn’t shy away from making tackles. He even looks comfortable blitzing on the edge. Crawford’s natural playmaking ability makes him tempting to use on offense and as a returner on special teams.

He did what? (1:14) Crawford catches a short pass and undresses his defender with a stop-and-go with a shake to get free for a touchdown … (1:28) Crawford slides to cover the flat but drops in coverage after watching the quarterback’s eyes and hauls in a one-handed interception … (4:34) Crawford comes from the backside of the play and hammers a running back trying to cutback and spin off a defender … (6:15) Crawford ducks behind one blocker to freeze four defenders on his way for a long touchdown catch and run.

Competition level: St. Edward played one of the tougher schedules in the country by combining a state championship run against Ohio’s top teams with a regular season slate that included powerful programs from Maryland (Gilman) and New Jersey (Bergen Catholic and St. Joseph Regional). St. Edward proved to arguably be the best team in the talent-rich state of Ohio by season’s end. The Eagles finished the season ranked No. 17 nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 poll.

Left to prove: Crawford’s size will always be something opposing teams will try to exploit. He will be challenged by bigger receivers regularly at the college level. Crawford can’t change his height but the objective will be to maintain the speed, strength and explosiveness to make up the difference. Crawford will need to improve his ability to knock receivers off their routes at the line of scrimmage. Anything he can do to disrupt the timing between the receiver and his quarterback will help prevent completions that Crawford won’t be able to defend because of his size. | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame cornerback commit Shaun Crawford won a state championship as a senior. (Photo courtesy of The Plain Dealer/Chuck Crow)