In the weeks leading up to the kickoff with the Temple Owls on September 2nd, here at OFD we’ll be giving you 17 predictions for the 2017 season for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
No. 3: Shaun Crawford Shows His Worth
The 2016-17 season was supposed to be the time Shaun Crawford showed us all what had caused Notre Dame’s coaching staff to rave about the Ohio native consistently ever since he had arrived on campus. Briefly, he did exactly that.
Against Texas — his first game of collegiate action, mind you — he made some amazing plays. He picked off Texas Longhorns quarterback Shane Buechele, and returned that interception for 22 yards. Later in the game, the Longhorns lined up to kick an extra point attempt, only to have Notre Dame block it. Crawford picked up the ball and returned it 90 yards for a safety that tied the game up.
As we all know, Crawford wasn’t able to last long for the Irish. He injured his Achilles tendon during the second game against the Nevada Wolfpack and wouldn’t return for the rest of the season. It was a sad sight for a player who had just began to show what he was capable of after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament the season prior.
However, in the 2017-18 season, Crawford will prove to be a force to be reckoned with. The diminutive defensive back has shown to be a natural ball hawk during his very short samples of play. As a one-on-one cover man, he has been lauded as a lockdown defender by coaches during his years on campus. He will fully show it this upcoming season.
As the primary nickel back, he will play a crucial role in defending opposing passing attacks and he will excel. Not only will Shaun Crawford show out, he will lead the Irish secondary in interceptions and subsequently end up being the secondary’s most valuable player.
This, of course, all hinges on his health. Therefore, I have to predict he stays healthy for all (or at least most) of the season ahead. Shaun Crawford will stay healthy, will produce big time numbers, and will be the ultimate difference maker for Notre Dame’s secondary.