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Crum to stay for fifth year

Ken Fowler | Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Maurice Crum Sr. said Wednesday that his son, Notre Dame’s senior middle linebacker, will return to Notre Dame for a fifth year.

Maurice Crum Jr., a defensive captain, and Notre Dame’s other true seniors met with Irish coach Charlie Weis Sunday to discuss their futures.

On Monday, Weis said he received good news from the seniors with whom he discussed possible fifth years, but Weis did not disclose details.

Convincing Crum Jr. to return was arguably Weis’ most important task for the stability of the defense next season.

The native of Riverview, Fla. — and son of a former All-America linebacker at Miami — led Notre Dame with 100 tackles in 2006, but his productivity slipped some to start the 2007 season. Against UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Oct. 6, however, Crum Jr. forced two fumbles, recovered both, returned one for a touchdown, intercepted two passes and had seven tackles. The Walter Camp Football Foundation named him national defensive player of the week for his efforts against the Bruins.

For the season, Crum Jr. is tied with fifth-year safety Tom Zbikowski for fourth on the team with 51 tackles. Crum Jr. has broken up four passes, has 3 1/2 tackles for loss and one sack.

Crum Sr. said the best part of his son’s decision will be Crum Jr.’s ability to “think less and react more” on the field in 2008. As a non-playing freshman and a starting sophomore, Crum played outside linebacker in former defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s 4-3 defensive scheme. As a junior, he had a breakout season at middle linebacker in the 4-3.

Now, Crum Jr. is one of two starting middle linebackers in first-year defensive coordinator Corwin Brown’s 3-4 personnel package.