NCF On The Trail: Shaun Crawford

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: ESPN 300 defensive lineman Darian Roseboro will announce his decision live on ESPN.com Friday, and if things go as expected, it will be a banner day for NC State. Plus, Virginia Tech hosts a cupcake this week, but more importantly it also hosts several elite prospects. And we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have had a productive past four weeks, landing three defensive tackles and flipping four-star inside linebacker Josh Barajas from Penn State. Throw in a pair of defensive backs, including ESPN 300 cornerback and one-time Michigan pledge Shaun Crawford, and the Irish have filled the majority of needs on defense in 2015.

With that said, there is more for the Fighting Irish to accomplish, and closing out the class is going to be crucial for the future.

Here are five burning recruiting questions for Notre Dame:


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Former Michigan pledge Shaun Crawford is now on board with the Fighting Irish. Below, find out which young Notre Dame standout Crawford reminds our scouts of:


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Michigan and Ohio State went in different directions on the field this past season, with the Buckeyes competing for a Big Ten championship and the Wolverines trying to regroup.

Both teams are looking to add firepower to their rosters, though, and the rivals will definitely be battling on the recruiting trail for 2015 prospects. Ohio State will be targeting quite a few Southern prospects, but there are still some overlapping targets for fans to keep an eye on. Here is a look at where each school stands.


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Crawford reaffirms Michigan pledge 

December, 16, 2013
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An offer from Ohio State initially piqued the interest in 2015 Michigan commit Shaun Crawford (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward), leading him to say he might take a visit to see what the Buckeyes had to offer.

His tone has now changed, however, after taking a visit to Michigan this past weekend along with most of the 2014 commitments.

“I felt even more close to the coaching staff, and I loved every minute of it. The 2014 commits treated me like I was part of their class,” he said. “I can’t wait to get up there and start playing with those fellas. The only trip I’ll be making to Columbus is for the Columbus Touchdown banquet.”

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Michigan commit Crawford mulls OSU visit 

December, 8, 2013
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Michigan's 2015 defensive back commit Shaun Crawford (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) recently said he might visit rival Ohio State.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke has a no visit policy for his commitments so if a visit were to take place, it would cause some controversy.

Crawford was the second defensive back commit for Michigan to say he was going to visit other schools. 2014 commit Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic) also said there is a possibility he will take official visits after his season is over.

No visits have been scheduled yet for either prospect so there is still a chance for them to sway their thinking.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

November, 25, 2013
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Another week means more recruiting news within the Big Ten conference. There was plenty of action throughout, so here is a look at the top stories over the weekend.


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Big Ten recruiting storylines: Nov. 21 

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The Big Ten has seen plenty of action recently with commits, decommitments and offers being sent out. Here is a look at the latest story lines within the conference.

MOVING ON FROM HAND

Michigan missed out on five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) on Thursday. Hand told the coaches Wednesday night, which gave them time to consider an offer to fill his spot.

The staff then promptly offered in-state prospect Jhonny Williams (Berrien Springs, Mich./Berrien Springs), who is currently committed to Missouri. Williams has now said he will visit Notre Dame, who also recently offered, and will most likely take a trip to Ann Arbor as well.

This could be interesting, as Williams only lives 30 minutes from South Bend and his father is a Michigan fan.

The Wolverines also offered three-star Cal running back commit Vic Enwere (Sugar Land, Texas/Fort Bend Austin), who has said he will likely take a visit as well.

[+] EnlargeTyler Wiegers
Tom Hauck for ESPNFour-star QB Tyler Wiegers decommitted to Rutgers and might take a trip to Iowa this weekend.
HAWKEYES UP

Quarterback Tyler Wiegers (Beverly Hills, Mich./Country Day) decommitted from Rutgers this week, something that’s starting to be a trend with its class.

The four-star quarterback is now considering Iowa, and could take a visit to see the Hawkeyes this weekend. If Wiegers does make the trip, a decision could come shortly after.

If he picks Iowa, Wiegers would be the second four-star commit for the Hawkeyes.

TRANQUILL FLIPS FOR IRISH

Linebacker Drue Tranquill (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Carroll) had been mulling a Notre Dame offer for quite some time, despite being committed to Purdue.

In a text message sent on Monday night, Tranquill made the decision to flip his commitment to Notre Dame.

“I’ve decided to play my next four years at the University of Notre Dame,” the text message said. “I have so much respect for Coach (Darrell) Hazell. I’ve never met someone with such high character. However, I’m ecstatic to go play for Coach (Brian) Kelly at the University of Notre Dame.”

RECRUITING OUT FRONT FOR WESTPHAL

Now that his season is over, ESPN 300 defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) is once again focused on his recruitment.

After much deliberation, the No. 96-ranked prospect is down to Michigan State, Northwestern and Vanderbilt.

He will be taking an unofficial visit to Northwestern on Saturday for its game against Michigan State and will then return again for an official visit in the first week of December.

That’s a huge opportunity for the Wildcats to seal the deal on one of the top remaining targets in this class.

SYKES SET TO RELEASE TOP LIST

Four-star linebacker Nile Sykes (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) has been receiving major interest as of late. His most recent offer comes from Notre Dame, which has sparked interest.

Sykes has been focusing on his season, but tweeted this week that he will release a top-five list next week. He is a major target for Illinois and he also holds a Purdue offer.

With the loss of Tranquill, the Boilermakers could really use some help at linebacker.

MINNESOTA ROLLING

The Minnesota coaching staff has seen a spark in interest from prospects they have been in contact with in recent weeks. Winning typically cures all, and that’s the case with the Golden Gophers right now.

In-state target Frank Ragnow (Victoria, Minn./Chanhassen) says that Minnesota’s play on the field has definitely been something he’s taken into consideration.

“It’s huge, because I came into this fall, the one thing that Minnesota was lacking was winning,” Ragnow said. “I would’ve ruled them out if they weren’t winning. They always talked about winning and actually seeing it happen is huge.”

The Gophers are facing off against Wisconsin this weekend and will have running back target J'Vonte Herrod (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb) on campus for the game.

Herrod isn’t quite sure when he will make a decision just yet, but the Gophers are likely his current leader.


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B1G high school performers 

October, 7, 2013
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Here are this week's top performances from Big Ten commits and targets:

Illinois:
Julian Hylton: Hylton led Lincoln-Way North (Ill.) with 34 carries, 153 yards and two touchdowns in a 22-21 win over Lincoln-Way Central.


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Andrew Dowell (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) had the hit heard 'round Ohio during a camp this summer in Columbus.

David Dowell is the flashy wideout with offers that have landed him on the ESPN Junior 300.

No matter how fans look at it, the two brothers for St. Edward are the oars that row the boat for the Eagles.

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Big Ten recruiting mailbag

August, 30, 2013
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It’s time to dip into the Big Ten recruiting mailbag and answer some of your questions. We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered. We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter to @bbournival or @TomVH.

@Blue_gC_Blood: How close in size are Michigan commit Shaun Crawford and Ohio State pledge Eric Glover-Williams? I heard they are pretty much a carbon copy of each other, true?

Brad Bournival: Having seen both individuals multiple times in pads, that is a very fair assessment. Crawford (Lakewood, Ohio/Saint Edward) is 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds and EGW is 5-10, 170 pounds. But it goes well beyond that as both are very athletic kids who aren’t afraid to mix it up at times. Speed, obviously, is their biggest common denominator. It would be great to see Glover-Williams play the slot or split out wide to see just how close in game they actually are, but unfortunately for Canton (Ohio) McKinley, the Bulldogs put their junior star behind center because he is the best athlete on the field. That said Crawford is the better defender, though it should be noted Glover-Williams is better offensively. Seeing the two in camps, however, their game really is almost the same.




@joshuas430: Do you think the recruiting success for Rutgers has been more with the move to the Big Ten or their new head coach?

Tom VanHaaren: That’s a good question. I think there is some cache for recruits to play for Rutgers now that they are a part of the Big Ten. But if you look at their top prospects, they are all guys from New Jersey.

In the 2014 class, Rutgers has four ESPN 300 commitments and they are all from New Jersey. Rutgers has always done well with local prospects and that hasn’t changed with this class.

From 2011 to 2013, Rutgers actually signed 10 prospects ranked as four-stars from New Jersey and New York. That is a key for the Scarlet Knights’ success in recruiting, and it’s continued in 2014.

It’s interesting to look at the Big Ten aspect of this, because if Rutgers was already in the conference, it would have the No. 3 ranked class in the Big Ten.




@GRSportsBlog: What is your opinion of Montae Nicholson being able to play a hybrid safety/outside linebacker at the next level and the fact Penn State is trying to recruit guys to be versatile in its defensive packages?

Bournival: Penn State has never brought that up to Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) as it wants him to play safety and not linebacker, as the Nittany Lions will take a linebacker in this class. However, with the NCAA sanctions, the limited number of 65 scholarships really does alter how Penn State approaches the type of players they pursue. The Nittany Lions don’t have the luxury to miss on a player, so you’ll see more athletic players who can play multiple roles on the team. For example, if it can grab a player who helps in the offense and special teams, Penn State won’t hesitate.

The other reason the Nittany Lions need to have fast, athletic type players is to be able to matchup in an ever-changing Big Ten Conference that isn’t all ground and pound anymore.




@dydd911: Do you think we will see any commits from visitors at the Under the Lights game?

VanHaaren: Michigan’s night game against Notre Dame in Week 2 is going to be one of the bigger recruiting events of the season. The Wolverines really only have three big home games, so it’s also an important event in general.

The last time these two teams faced off at night at Michigan Stadium, safety Dymonte Thomas ended up committing right after the game.

This answer all depends on who ends up making it in for the game, but as of now it doesn’t look like there will be that type of situation. It looks like this game will be something that sets the tone for a prospect and could eventually lead to a commitment down the road.

Some of the bigger names that are visiting include 2014 defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) and the No. 1 ranked player in the 2015 class Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall).

Hand has his announcement date set for Nov. 14 and still has official visits to Florida and then Alabama, so he doesn’t seem likely. Cornell, while he does have Michigan very high on his list, still plans on waiting to make a decision.

Since Michigan’s 2014 class is nearly full there will be a lot more underclassmen than seniors. That’s not a bad thing, especially if the environment is anything like it was two seasons ago in the first night game.




@buckeyefan686: It seems like Urban Meyer went hard after defensive backs and wide receivers in 2013 and linebackers/offensive tackles in 2014. What position groups do you see being the focus in 2015?

Bournival: First and foremost, I think Meyer looks at the quarterback position more than any other. With Braxton Miller possibly gone after this season and Kenny Guiton definitely, gone he’ll need to bolster that position and give it some depth. There could be no one with any meaningful in-game experience coming back in 2014 and he’ll need to address that in 2015.

With four defensive linemen gone after the 2014 season, don’t be surprised if he dips into the trenches yet again.




Mark, Chicago, Ill.: Do you see Northwestern landing any of the remaining big targets they have left in 2014?

VanHaaren: Short answer, yes. The bigger targets left on the board are all ESPN 300 prospects. Linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central), defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) and tight end Garrett Dickerson (Oradell, N.J./Bergen Catholic).

Lee is visiting Cal this weekend when they take on Northwestern and will likely then take an official out to see the Wildcats at home.

I do think there is a good chance that at least one of these prospects chooses Northwestern. The question is how many? That is yet to be seen.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

August, 26, 2013
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Ohio State and Michigan were at it again over the weekend in what has become commonplace in the recruiting world. The Wolverines nabbed an ESPN Junior 300 commit Friday and followed it up with another junior pledge on Saturday.

Big Ten ConferenceNot to be outdone, the Buckeyes grabbed an ESPN 300 standout of their own Sunday.

Here is a look at what happened over the past week.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Success recruiting receivers might be the most overlooked reason for Alabama’s recent run; what one Big Ten recruiter said about Michigan’s 2015 class; and how Maryland landing Jesse Aniebonam was huge for in-state recruiting efforts.


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Michigan continued its recruiting hot streak by adding defensive back Shaun Crawford (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) to the 2015 class on Friday. Crawford is the third ESPN Junior 300 commit for the Wolverines and will help bolster the depth chart almost immediately.

He is the sixth cornerback commitment for Michigan over the past three classes, which shows just how big of a need it was. The Wolverines have landed four ESPN 300 cornerbacks since 2012, including the No. 2 overall prospect in 2014, Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic).

Michigan has five commitments for the 2015 class, not including grayshirt commit Brady Pallante, who committed in the 2014 class but counts towards 2015 numbers.

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video Shaun Crawford (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward), the No. 49 ranked prospect in the 2015 class, committed to Michigan on Friday. Crawford is the fifth commitment in his class for the Wolverines, and the third within the top 50 of the ESPN Jr. 300.

Crawford chose the Wolverines live via streaming video on ESPN.com over offers from Arkansas, Florida State, Illinois, Miami, Michigan State, Penn State and Tennessee among others.

“Finally having the chance to play at Michigan and touch that Go Blue sign before every home game is just breath taking,” he said. “I could always say I wanted to play for Michigan, but now I can officially say I will play for Michigan.”

He always has been a fan of Michigan, but being a fan doesn’t always mean that’s where a prospect ends up. Luckily for Crawford, Michigan was exactly what he was hoping it would be.

“Visiting there for the first time and then for the barbecue, they showed me the same attention. When I didn’t have an offer and then when I did, it was the same thing,” he said. “My family loved it, and the coaching staff is like a family to me. It was probably official for me, I knew it was Michigan after the barbecue when I hung out with all the other commits. That’s where I wanted to be.”

The 5-foot-9, 168-pound athlete was recruited as a cornerback for defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s defense. Crawford is the sixth cornerback Michigan has taken in the past three classes, as it was a big need to fill.

He is listed as an athlete for a reason, though, as he will have the opportunity to potentially see playing time special teams. Crawford isn’t the biggest guy on the field, but he has speed and moves that make him an outstanding kick and punt returner for his high school team.

“The coaches haven’t said anything about special teams yet, but I’m sure I will do some returns,” he said. “I just have a natural ability to make plays. As much as I love defense, I love having the ball in my hand.”

He joins George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), the No. 3 overall prospect, and No. 20 ranked Damien Harris (Berea, Ky./Madison Southern) as the three ESPN Jr. 300 commitments in this class.

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