Transfer Analysis: Antonio Crawford

West Virginia picked up an addition to its already well-stocked defensive backfield on Sunday when Antonio Crawford joined the Mountaineer program. What talents does he bring to the program, and how will he fit in a unit that is as deep as it has been in some time?

WHAT TO LIKE

First, Crawford has already proven that he can play on the Division I level. While his time at Miami limited him to mostly use as a nickelback, he got a good amount of playing time while showing excellent awareness.

"He came to Miami from Plant City High School, which is one of the premier programs in Florida," said Mike Bakas of CanesTime.com. "His football IQ is very good. He understands how to play the game, and was one of the fastest kids on the field."

Crawford avoided a redshirt and became Miami's nickel right from the start, and as such has the ability to cover different receivers. He has the speed to stay with the fastest of opponents, and has the skills to cover both in the slot and on the outside. In the best case, he could help quickly with West Virginia's dime and other packages in passing situations.


POSSIBLE CONCERNS

Crawford did not leave Miami under the best of circumstances, as he voiced his displeasure with some of the schemes run by the Hurricanes and the difficulty some players had in adjusting to them. West Virginia is primed to have a good season defensively, and certainly doesn't need to introduce any drama or discontent into its defensive situation. However, reports indicate that Crawford was not a problem in the locker room at Miami, and it would stand to reason that West Virginia's coaches have vetted him extensively on this point.

With just one season left to play, Crawford will have to learn West Virginia's scheme quickly. It's likely that he has already seen what WVU does on the back end of the defense, and that it meets his playing skills, so that hurdle is probably out of the way. However, learning it on paper and executing it on the field are two different things, so he will have to use individual summer workouts with his new teammates to cram in as much information as possible.


OVERALL ANALYSIS

A player of Crawford's talent can't be turned down if everything else is in order, and that appears to be the case here. He was called "an NFL talent" by one evaluator, but even if he's a bit short of that, he could certainly help West Virginia this fall. That's a difficult road to travel, as one-year transfers have to have everything fall just right in order to have an impact. One season ago, two final-year transfer generated excitement at WVU, and encountered very different outcomes. One wound up with a total of five tackles in limited playing time, while the other buttressed the lacking Mountaineer pas rush. So, the question is, will Crawford be a Cullen Christian, or a Shaq Riddick?

So long as Crawford fits in to the team, there aren't any negatives to this move. Bakas believes that will be the case, calling him a talented player who simply needed a fresh start after the situation at Miami became untenable. If that plays out, Crawford could contribute on the level of Riddick or Ryan Mundy -- two players who parlayed their only seasons at WVU into successful conclusions to their college careers.


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