The class of 2022 in Kansas could be one of the best overall in-state classes in the last decade, and Lansing LB/DE Caden Crawford is one of the gems. He’s already 6’5, 240 pounds as a junior in high school and moves with a fluidity that belies his size.
In other words, the big man can move.
He’s currently rated as a mid 3* recruit by the recruiting services and I think he’s a guy that has 4* potential. He’s rated at a Top 5 prospect in Kansas and I think he’ll end up as the top rated in-state defender once you take Ohio transplant Dasan McCullough out of the equation.
What He Brings to the Table
As I mentioned above, Crawford is an agile defender with long arms capable of playing both defensive end and outside linebacker. He’s also got a full on mean streak and will punish ball carriers that venture to his side of the line. He doesn’t gently set running backs and quarterbacks on the turf, he attempts to crack the irrigation lines under the field with their bodies.
Don’t take my word for is, check out his highlight package from last season.
It will be interesting to see how much bigger he gets because he’s a linebacker/defensive end hybrid right now, but if he’s got the frame to play around 260 or 270 pounds, putting him firmly in the defensive end camp. If he hangs around 250 he could play with his hand on the ground, as a stand up defensive end or a strong side linebacker.
The only hesitation I have at Crawford sticking at linebacker is his coverage ability. You don’t see many 250 pound outside linebackers in college football in 4-3 schemes (you see them more frequently as standup ends/linebacker in 3-4 set ups) because of the shift to pass heavy offenses. At the same time, I’m not the coach and if Crawford fancies himself a linebacker, K-State should sell linebacker hard (and back up the promise of course). You don’t worry about fit with a guy this talented. You find a way to make him fit.
The Wildcats have put the full court press on Caden and for good reason. I think he’ll end up as a 4* recruit and I anticipate some “blue blood” to come sniffing around looking for a steal out of Kansas. We all know an early verbal doesn’t prevent that from happening, but I’d rather have him on board early and fight to keep him. I have no idea about his timeline.
K-State is in his Top 3 along with Iowa and Nebraska, but his recruitment is still wide open. Minnesota threw their name in the ring a few days ago, and I expect more regional teams to pile onto the Crawford train soon, followed by a few national brands once recruiting picks up. Elite schools still see Kansas as a soft target where they can come on and poach top talent. The Wildcats need to put an end to that notion this year.
I hope y’all spend less time on twitter than I do, but you should check out the incredible work the K-State recruiting folks are doing with their graphics. This one was great and Crawford should commit based solely on this edit.
This isn’t your father’s Kansas State recruiting effort. The Wildcats have transitioned from the stone age to the modern era in recruiting in a few short years under Coach Klieman. Got to appreciate the hustle.