Rancho Santa Margarita (CA) Catholic wide receiver Dylan Crawford committed to Michigan at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Cal, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, and Washington, among others.
Crawford is 6’1″, 185 lbs. As a senior in 2015, he caught 51 passes for 822 yards (16.1 yards/catch) and 7 touchdowns. He claims a 4.45 forty, a 37″ vertical, and a 4.01 shuttle time.
ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #23 WR, #179 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #25 WR, #115 overall
Scout: 4-star, #24 WR, #131 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 94 grade, #21 WR, #131 overall
Hit the jump for the rest of the commitment post.
Crawford was initially offered by Michigan as an underclassman at La Canada (CA) St. Francis, but he transferred to be able to play with2016 quarterback K.J. Costello (Stanford), who was also being recruited by Michigan at the time. Early on in their recruitment, they talked about playing college ball together, along with fellow Californians Theo Howard (UCLA) and David Long, Jr. (uncommitted). There’s a chance that none of those players play together at all in college, although Long could very well end up committing to Michigan in a couple weeks. While those other players went off the board (Long was committed to Stanford for a while), Crawford was reportedly waiting on an Oregon offer. Just when it looked like Crawford might hop on the Michigan commitment list, the Ducks offered and threw a wrench into the Wolverines’ plans. Fortuitously for Michigan, Oregon took two other receivers’ commitments in recent weeks, erasing the opportunity for Crawford to go to Eugene. Michigan may be his #2 choice, but things happen like that sometimes.
Crawford is solidly built and has a decent frame. He does a good job of bursting off the line of scrimmage, and he has a strong running stride. Once he gets going in a straight line, he can be tough to knock off of his stem or to drag down when he has the ball. He shows good lateral movement, and he can shake defenders in space. Crawford is a deft route runner who does a good job of using head movement and jab steps to set up defensive backs. When the ball is in the air, he high-points it and is strong enough to outmuscle some cornerbacks and safeties; he shows the ability to work across the middle of the field without being affected by impending contact. Crawford displays some aggression toward defensive backs in the running game, and he can be a very effective blocker on the edge with crack blocks and stalk blocks.
Crawford does not have many obvious weaknesses in his game. He does not have a huge frame, but that is a somewhat minor concern in the college game. At times he looks a little clunky catching the ball, so drops may be a concern. He was also the second-most productive receiver on a team with Costello throwing the ball; Grant Calcaterra, a 2017 prospect, is a 6’4″, 205 lb. 3-star with offers from Illinois and Purdue, among others, and he had more yards and touchdowns than Crawford. That may be a product of defenses overplaying Crawford and allowing Calcaterra to take over, but it does raise a question of whether Crawford can be the go-to guy in college when he wasn’t that guy in high school.
I like Crawford as a slot receiver. He does well in traffic, and he’s sturdy enough to handle playing in there with some bigger guys. I also like the idea of getting him the ball quickly and letting him run tough and break some tackles. He’s more polished than any of the other receivers Michigan has in the class, and he’s physically more ready to play than the other two slot types (Chris Evans and Nate Johnson). Crawford could potentially transition outside as his game matures and other players matriculate through the program, but for now, I think he might provide some competition as an inside receiver. Michigan’s slot receiver in 2015 was Grant Perry, who may be on the track to being reliable but is not much of a physical specimen.
The receiver position aside, Crawford has said that Michigan is recruiting him as an athlete, someone who could play defensive back and/or special teams, too. Based on his physical skills, he could very well be the best corner in Michigan’s class right now (Antwaine Richardson and Sir Patrick Scott are both currently committed to the Wolverines).
Michigan’s 2016 class is now up to 24 commits in a class that is supposed to reach 27 players. The Wolverines have five wide receivers committed (Crawford, Evans, Johnson, Ahmir Mitchell, and Brad Hawkins), plus another commit that could play receiver (Kiante Enis). It’s a very versatile group, although there could be some attrition from the recruiting class before February. Crawford is friends with David Long, Jr., as mentioned above, so this could help Michigan’s pursuit of Long. The decommitment of Norco (CA) Norco quarterback Victor Viramontes earlier in this cycle means that Crawford would be Michigan’s first California signee since offensive tackle Erik Magnuson in 2012.
TTB Rating: 83 (ratings explanation)
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