The Wolverine

March 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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2016 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE able competing at the line of scrim- mage, and he's strong enough to jam guys at the line. What really stands out for him though is his athleticism in covering deep routes." The duo is expected to excel on the field in Ann Arbor — they're the fourth- and fifth-highest rated play- ers in the class — and they could be the catalyst to the Maize and Blue returning to recruiting success in the Golden State. "They hadn't landed a recruit from California since 2012 [fifth-year se- nior offensive tackle Erik Magnu- son]," Farrell said. "Getting two — even if they were sort of a package deal — should help them get back to what they're used to doing, which is landing a couple elite players from out West in each class. Harbaugh's connections are big there, too, be- cause he coached so long out there." As important as it is to build pipe- lines to the talent-rich Los Angeles area, the commitments are much more about the players themselves than any sort of ripple effect.. Both Long and Crawford were two-way players as seniors and ex- celed on both sides of the ball (some schools even recruited Long on of- fense and Crawford got mention by some coaches as a defensive back prospect, though in the end all pro- grams considered him a receiver). Although Long made just 19 total tackles in 12 games, that was more a product of his outstanding coverage — and opposing quarterbacks' hesi- tance to throw in his direction — than a lack of ability to get in the mix. He also broke up four passes and inter- cepted one in his final go-round with the Loyola Cubs. He made a bigger mark on offense and special teams, leading his team in receiving with 25 grabs for 525 yards (21.0 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns. Crawford also got it done on both sides of the ball. Though opponents schemed to take him away, he caught more passes than any teammate, with his 51 re- ceptions for 822 yards (16.1 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns. He also carried the ball seven times for 19 yards (2.7 yards per rush). On defense, he broke up one pass, inter- cepted another and made six total tackles from the cornerback position. The ability to focus their efforts on one position in college should help both develop the polish that they need to help return Michigan to a championship level. While Harbaugh isn't shy about giving his best players the opportunity to see time on both sides of the ball — as demonstrated by Jabrill Peppers' significant time at running back in the second half of the 2015 season — the defensive backfield and wide receiver corps are both stocked enough to allow them to develop at their own respective posi- tions before branching out. The duo left Pasadena for their high school careers and are now heading across the country, rather than across the county, to play col- lege football. Ultimately, though, they hope to return home, with Roses on the line. ❏

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