Jun 15, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT
For a recruiting class that many expected to be small, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. And while Ohio’s Shaun Crawford may only be 5-foot-9, no recruit has been bigger for the Irish. Crawford became the Irish’s fifth commitment of the past 10 days when he pledged to the Irish on Father’s Day.
Crawford joins defensive tackles Brandon Tiassum, Micah Dew-Treadway and Elijah Taylor, along with fellow Ohio cornerback Nick Coleman as recruits joining Brian VanGorder’s defense in the last two weeks. Add to that the May 30th commitment of linebacker Josh Barajas, and Notre Dame’s recruiting class has began to take shape over the past month.
Crawford chose the Irish over an elite offer list that includes Florida State, Miami, Michigan and Ohio State. He was committed to the Wolverines earlier this summer but an offer from Notre Dame changed all that. After visiting campus and being wooed by VanGorder and secondary coach Kerry Cooks, Crawford finally pulled the trigger on Sunday.
Crawford embodies the recruiting change that’s come since Bob Diaco took the UConn job. At cornerback, Diaco coveted size and height. That meant no offer to Crawford when he first visited, even with a lofty recruiting ranking. But Crawford gives the Irish a full-time player in the mold of Cody Riggs, a small, competitive, lightning-fast cornerback that can play both inside and out and contribute in the return game.
Crawford caught up with BlueandGold.com’s Tom Loy, detailing the decision to back away from a Michigan commitment and decide on Notre Dame.
“I’ve always loved Michigan. Even after I committed, I loved Michigan,” noted Crawford. “This isn’t about them, really. I just really felt at home with Notre Dame. Once they offered and I talked to Coach Kelly, I just knew that I needed to give them another look. I remembered my first experience at Notre Dame and I just wanted to see if I would have the same feeling when I visited a second time. I wanted to see if it was a one-time thing or if that was just the place for me. After my visit to Notre Dame and talking to Coach Kelly, Coach Cooks, Coach McCarthy, [running backs] Coach [Tony] Alford and the rest of the staff, I just knew that I needed to be at Notre Dame and that’s where I truly wanted to be. Michigan didn’t do anything wrong or anything negative. I can’t say that enough. I have nothing but respect for them. Notre Dame is just the place for me and I had to make the best decision for me.”
Crawford’s commitment makes 13 for Notre Dame. He’s a consensus 4-star prospect who has been invited to The Opening and will likely be back in South Bend for next weekend’s Irish Invasion.