Name: Kekoa Crawford
Weight: 195 lbs.
High school: Rancho Santa Margarita (CA) Catholic
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: #1
Last year: I ranked Crawford #44 and said he would be a backup wide receiver. He made 4 catches for 47 yards and 1 touchdown, and he ran 3 times for 15 yards.
TTB Rating: 81
Normally, I probably would have projected someone with Crawford’s skills as a guy destined for a redshirt, or possibly with just a wee bit of playing time with no discernible freshman upside. Last year I ranked him pretty highly. Why the swing? The kid likes to block. Crawford is the best blocking receiver I’ve seen come to Michigan in a while, even though a couple other guys (Jehu Chesson, Maurice Ways) have developed those skills in college. I think that trait got Crawford on the field early, and he had a decent freshman season for someone playing behind two established seniors in Chesson and Amara Darboh. Crawford also has good hands and made a nice touchdown catch against Maryland.
Now Crawford might be the #1 receiving target in 2017. With Chesson and Darboh gone – and Drake Harris moved to cornerback – the only upperclassman receivers are redshirt junior backup Ways and junior Grant Perry, neither of whom has been a heavily utilized receiver. Since the spring, the expectation has been that Crawford would start at one receiver spot this year, with a freshman (likely Tarik Black or Donovan Peoples-Jones) starting on the other side. Crawford doesn’t have the same athletic upside as those two freshmen, but he does have those soft hands and that blocking ability, and he runs like a running back.
Prediction: Starting wide receiver; 40 catches, 520 yards, 3 touchdowns