Crawford's a key piece to the puzzle

Dallas Crawford came here as a defensive back but was moved to running back last season. He did a solid job of filling in when Duke Johnson was injured. He's back at safety now, and projected to be a starter there.

As a recruit: Dallas Crawford put his name on the recruiting map with an excellent junior season at South Fort Myers High. He led the state with 10 interceptions and had over 3,000 yards of total offense. He collected numerous offers in the spring and made an early commitment to Michigan. Crawford wasn't being actively recruited by Miami under Randy Shannon but Al Golden made him a priority soon after getting the job. He took official visits to just Miami and West Virginia, and the Canes were able to flip him from his Michigan pledge. He finished his senior season with just under 3,000 yards of offense while playing quarterback. He also picked off nine passes.

As a Hurricane: Crawford redshirted in 2011 and was named the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. He played in all 12 games, mostly on special teams, as a redshirt freshman in 2012. He did see action at running back, quarterback, and defensive back throughout the season but it was in a very limited role. He was moved to running back as a sophomore last season and ended up playing a key role, especially after Duke Johnson was injured a few times. He finished the season with 558 yards and 12 touchdowns, which included a strong performance against North Carolina (137 yards and two scores). He also finished the season with 20 catches for 171 yards. He was moved back to safety in the spring.

What to expect: Crawford has been an outstanding special teams player ever since he got here. He filled in admirably for Johnson at running back last season. Now, especially with the recent injury to Rayshawn Jenkins, Crawford will be expected to play a major role at safety. While he doesn't have the physical talent of guys like Deon Bush and Jamal Carter, he's very cerebral, understands the system, has some experience, and provides tremendous leadership skills. He's right in the thick of the race at safety, which will likely result in all three players getting equal playing time. Don't expect him to be an All-ACC player like Carter or Bush could potentially become but Crawford will likely continue playing very well and being a key piece to the puzzle on defense.

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