Notre Dame lost a potential starting nickel back on Wednesday when Shaun Crawford tore his ACL. The University announced the injury around 10 p.m. as the defense will now be without a potential contributor in the secondary.
Crawford had been repping with the first-team defense in nickel situations much of fall camp, quickly rising up the ranks and backing up his four-star ranking of out St. Edward in Lakewood, Ohio.
Minus Crawford, fifth-year senior safety Matthias Farley likely moves back into the nickel role where he thrived last season. Crawford, who’s an upgrade in athleticism but not experience over Farley, had been pushing the veteran in the past week.
Keivarae Russell could also get a look at the nickel based on Brian Kelly’s faith in another freshman cornerback from Ohio, Nick Coleman. In that scenario Russell would move into the slot while Coleman would work on the outside.
Regardless of how much Crawford would have played this season, there’s little doubt he’d have seen the field in a meaningful role, including on special teams.
Crawford’s father, John Crawford, told Irish Illustrated on Wednesday night that his son is “ok mentally” and ready to attack his rehab this fall.
Kelly will address the media again on Friday.