|Dallas Crawford (#4) committed to the Wolverines on Friday.|
Last Friday Dallas Crawford called up Michigan's coaches and told them that he would be joining their defensive backfield in 2011. Crawford is current a quarterback/safety for South Fort Myers High School in Fort Myers, FL. At 5'10" and 180 lbs., he's a 3-star recruit to both Scout and Rivals, but a 4-star to ESPN. He chose Michigan over offers from Georgia Tech, Iowa, Miami, North Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, and West Virginia, among others.
Elite high school defensive backs often play free safety; opponents can fairly easily run and throw away from a cornerback for an entire game. That holds true with Crawford as well, who racked up 10 interceptions as a junior and already has 8 this season (his team is still in the playoffs).
As mentioned above, though, Crawford also plays quarterback. I really like prospects who play quarterback for their high school teams - not only because teams usually put their best athletes at quarterback, but because quarterbacks are usually intelligent and have good awareness of the entire field. That's one of the main reasons I like Desmond Morgan as a linebacker prospect, too; when he's not playing linebacker, he's behind center.
I like what Crawford offers as a defensive back on his merits solely on that side of the ball, too. He does a good job of going up to get the ball at its highest point, and he breaks on the ball quickly. He's also a quick-twitch athlete and can make people miss when he gets the ball in his hands, not a long strider like some of Michigan's other cornerbacks. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Crawford is that, despite his middling size, he's a very solid tackler. Many high school coaches don't even want their quarterbacks playing defense, let alone flying into ballcarriers at full speed like #4 does.
I'm not sure how much Crawford's commitment affects his teammate Sammy Watkins, a stellar wide receiver recruit. The two are not a package deal and Watkins reportedly has Clemson as his leader. Regardless, I really like the Crawford commitment. He's a playmaker at a position that currently lacks them. I like him more as a cornerback than any of Michigan's cornerback recruits in the last few years, save Demar Dorsey (who obviously never arrived on campus). And yes, that includes the highly touted Cullen Christian. How immediately Crawford makes an impact at Michigan probably depends on what position Troy Woolfolk plays in 2011 when he returns from that ankle injury, but Michigan finally seems to be gathering some depth at a position that sorely needed it.