• Class: Junior (Eligibility: 3)
• On The Depth Chart: Either a starter at cornerback or Notre Dame’s starting nickel back.
• Post-Spring Status: Ascending
A spectacular senior season at St. Edward’s High School in Lakewood, Ohio, earned Crawford the No. 116 overall rating from Scout and the No. 15 spot on the cornerback chart.
Crawford recorded seven interceptions, 91 tackles, 17 passes broken up and eight tackles for loss defensively as a senior. He added 54 receptions for 824 yards and nine touchdowns at receiver.
Crawford quickly made a mark at Notre Dame in August of 2015 when he was elevated to starting nickel back within days after the start of pre-season camp. But a knee injury sidelined him for his entire freshman campaign.
Back to give it another go last fall, Crawford claimed the starting cornerback spot opposite Cole Luke. He played just two games, suffering a season-ending Achilles injury against Nevada.
CRAWFORD AT HIS BEST
With the Irish trailing by 10 late in the third quarter at Royal-Texas Stadium in last year’s season-opener against the Longhorns, Crawford – in his first game in an Irish uniform – intercepted a Shane Beuchele pass and returned it 22 yards to the Texas six-yard line. Crawford also had four unassisted tackles (five total) and a pass defensed.
“Got the news that my tendon is fully HEALED and CLEARED for all activity…When you’ve been where I’ve been, you don’t get through it alone! Without God, family, friends, trainers, teammates, coaches and many other supporters, I wouldn’t be where I am today announcing I came back…TWICE!” -- Crawford via Instagram, April 23
BEST CASE SCENARIO
A healthy Shaun Crawford is a no-doubt-about-it starter for the Irish, whether it’s at cornerback, as it was during his abbreviated sophomore season, or at nickel back, a spot that he won as a freshman. With Crawford on the field, the Irish have a dynamic presence in the secondary.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
After two season-ending football injuries in back-to-back years, Crawford has less than two games of college playing experience. Leftover growing pains aren’t out of the question, although he was playing well in his first Notre Dame action last year before the Achilles injury.
Scour any program’s list of top-rated cornerbacks and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who has suffered back-to-back season-ending injuries, so we’ll bypass that approach in terms of finding a comparison.
In the Scout era (beginning in 2002), only four cornerbacks entering Notre Dame have been rated higher than Crawford was as the No. 116th player overall and No. 15 cornerback in 2015: Tee Shepard and Davonte Neal (2012), Gary Gray (2007) and Darrin Walls (2006).
Walls was the most productive of that group, which is what we anticipate from Crawford with a clean bill of health. Walls had five career interceptions, two for touchdowns. More importantly, Walls played in all 37 Notre Dame games in his final three seasons in a Notre Dame uniform (2006-07, 2009).
A healthy Crawford for 37 games would be a highly-productive cornerback.