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irish insider

Crawford stays positive in spite of injuries

| Friday, November 9, 2018

Despite being initially committed to Notre Dame’s rival, the University of Michigan, senior defensive back Shaun Crawford couldn’t resist when the Irish came calling.

“I was originally committed to a different school, but later in my recruiting process I got recruited by Notre Dame and Coach [Brian] Kelly … But after [the previous defensive coordinator] had left and [Brian] VanGorder came, the coaching staff was high on me,” he said. ”So I took a visit, loved it … I just felt this was the perfect place for me.”

Crawford says Notre Dame means so much to him, because it reminds him of his high school. 

Zachary Yim | The Observer

Irish senior cornerback Shaun Crawford adjusts his helmet during Notre Dame’s 24-16 win over Ball State on Sept. 8 at Notre Dame Stadium.

“I went to a Catholic high school in Lakewood, Ohio, and we were big on community, and coming here, I just felt like it’d be a step up from that, and it was. Immediately when you get on campus, you’re brought into a community with your dorm. It’s just like a brotherhood.”

The former Siegfried Hall resident still has close bonds to his old high school teammates. He says he still talks to guys from his senior class “all the time,” and several of them are also playing Division I football.

“We went deep in the playoffs every single year,” he said. “My junior year we were one game away from the state championship, and my senior year we got it done, and it was with a great group of guys … it was great building that bond and sharing that experience with them.”

Crawford was a highly touted cornerback out of high school and a top 100 recruit by many sources. He played wide receiver as well, and he was an integral part of his varsity team, even as a freshman.

Crawford was not only very successful on the gridiron in high school, but on the track as well. He won a state title in the 4×100 relay as a freshman. His talent caught the eye of many other schools that wanted him to run for them, but his passion for football was too strong.

“I was recruited for track by a few schools, but I think they knew I had intentions on playing football as well. Football was always my first love, so I didn’t have any aspirations to run track in college,” he said.

He says that his favorite memory may have been when he forced a fumble against Michigan State at the goal line last year, especially because two of his best friends were on their roster. However, probably his favorite memory was playing against Texas in the 2016 season opener.

“I had just come off the ACL [tear] from my freshman year and it was the first game of the season,” he said. “I really had no expectations on how I would play, I would just go out there and just play fast and have fun with it … it was an amazing game.”

Unfortunately, that torn ACL that cost Crawford his freshmen season was not a one-time problem. He suffered the same injury the week leading up to the season-opener against Michigan this year. Despite this hardship, he adjusted and found a way to continue helping the team from behind the scenes.

“I was the only senior in the cornerback group, so since the offseason workouts I’ve been trying to lead and trying to get the guys going in a good direction,” he said. “And then any questions on the field, I try to help out, try to give them my input on it. I don’t have to stay as focused as they do, so I’m able to just talk to them … about anything really, and just give them my perspective. They hear it from the coaches all the time, but hearing it from their own teammates, it might hit them more.”

The bright side to his injury is that Crawford still retains a redshirt year of eligibility. After this season, he plans on returning for his fifth year.

“Right now, I’m just focused on graduating and rehabbing, and then I’ll let everything else take care of itself,” he said.

Crawford said that he believes it was definitely the right choice to come to Notre Dame instead of Michigan, and he is supremely aware of the fantastic opportunity he has been given.

“It’s a unique experience, waking up every day and being able to see the dome, having a chance to go the grotto, seeing touchdown Jesus. All those things that people take pictures of when they visit us, it’s just an honor to be able to see those things every day.”

 

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