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Maurice Crum: Linebacker’s legacy intact whether he stays or goes

Chris Hine | Thursday, November 15, 2007

Whether he decides to end his career at Notre Dame after this season or next season, linebacker Maurice Crum has already left a legacy at Notre Dame that will be hard to replace.

Crum led the team in tackles last season with 100 and has succeeded both under Rick Minter’s 4-3 defensive scheme and Corwin Brown 3-4 personnel scheme.

Aside from his contributions on the field, Crum was voted captain by his teammates prior to this season and has helped hold his team together during a 1-9 season that would see other programs implode.

Crum’s father, Maurice Sr., who was an All-America linebacker at the Miami, told The Observer in October that his son planned to apply for a fifth year of eligibility – but Crum himself has yet to say whether he will seek a fifth year.

As for this season, Irish fans owe a debt of gratitude to Crum for Notre Dame’s only win this season, a 20-6 victory over UCLA on Oct. 6.

Crum had a night to remember against the Bruins – he recorded seven tackles, one sack, recovered two fumbles, grabbed two interceptions and scored a touchdown in Notre Dame’s first win of the season.

“It was a dream,” Crum said. “[That game] was like what people dream about, seeing and making plays. It’s something that will be in my heart forever.”

But it took a couple of years for that dream to become reality.

Crum was an all-state linebacker at Tampa Bay Tech High School in Florida. Even though football is in his blood, Crum said it still required consistent hard work – even at a young age – to become a star athlete.

“It’s been a steady process since I was born basically,” Crum said. “You know, being a young kid and learning to be competitive, and as I got older I started learning technique and so it’s basically been a steady process.”

When he arrived at Notre Dame, Crum found out that he had to keep developing if he was going to see the field. He was red-shirted freshman year, and that, he said, was harder to take than a 1-9 record this season.

“This season is hard, but it’s always harder when you don’t play,” Crum said. “At least this year, you’re out there and you have a chance to try but when you’re on the sidelines and you’re not playing – it’s hard. I mean, you come from high school being the guy and you always feeling like you have a chance to make a play, but again it’s hard. I think that’s the toughest part though is just watching.”

Crum’s father, however, gave him the advice he needed to get through that tough first year.

“For the most part I kept in contact with my dad and he kept telling me, ‘Don’t worry. Your time will come. And make the most of it when you get it,'” Crum said.

Crum said his passion for football has only grown in four years.

“One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m more emotional than I thought I was and I realized that I really, really love football with all my heart,” Crum said. “That’s the reason I’m so emotional.”

After two straight seasons capped by BCS Bowl appearances, Crum learned a valuable lesson this season about his teammates and the University that he’ll take with him next year – whether or not he returns to Notre Dame.

“I think the one positive that I’ve seen through this season that Notre Dame is really a family,” Crum said. “The fans, the students, us as a team, the coaching staff – nobody quits regardless of what’s happening, whether we’re winning or losing. Everyone here has each other’s back. We’re a family.”