Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Shaun Crawford Focused On Faith, Fun & Growth

September 11, 2019
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It’s been a long road to Notre Dame defensive back Shaun Crawford. The fifth-year senior has been dealt blow and blow, but the Ohio native keeps rising despite battling two ACL injuries and a torn Achilles.
 
Crawford returned to the field as a starting cornerback against Louisville and it was probably a moment he won’t soon forget.
 
“I was grateful and appreciative of the opportunity,” Crawford stated. “I’m grateful to have the ability to be out here and play the game again. I’m grateful for Coach (Brian) Kelly giving me the opportunity and the rest of his staff as well. Coming off a third injury was tough. For me personally, I think Coach Kelly was one of the people I give a lot of credit to for not giving up on me and believing in me. It was just a fun experience.
 
“I feel like any game I go into, it’s about having fun and not worrying about the rest. I’m grateful and thankful for the opportunity of being out there. I’m focused on having fun and appreciating the moment.”
 
As you can imagine, the last year wasn’t enjoyable for Crawford as one season-ending injury is tough, but to fight through a third was something few can imagine. Crawford’s family played a huge role in keeping his spirits up, but they also challenged him to keep going.
 
“I felt with the strength and training staff we have, as long as I’m up for it, I could battle back from a third one,” Crawford explained. “My family helped me a lot. My mom would get up every morning and sometimes before me and send me pictures of her working out at the track or going to the gym. That motivated me if my mom was beating me to rehab, then I need to do better.
 
“Thinking back to growing up when my dad would take off work or miss work to take me to practice or when they had to pay for sports. If they were making sacrifices, then I could make a sacrifice.
 
“At the end of the day, my life is pretty easy. I got injured, but I’m still at Notre Dame, have a degree and still get the opportunity to play football. I’m blessed to still be here. With that in mind, I just take it day by day and give back to those who have supported me.”
 
Crawford admitted the first two injuries took a toll, but it was the third one that was the toughest to deal with as he knew what was ahead of him. And while he struggled, Crawford is grateful as he grew in his faith over the last year.
 
“It required a lot of crying and prayer,” explained Crawford. “There was a lot of doubt. I’m not going to lie. After my first one, I could tell you my faith has grown. After the second one, I was still young and I was excited because I had a good first game, but it didn’t hit me until the third one after playing a season. I felt I got disconnected from my faith and it was just a moment for me to reconnect and grow stronger in my faith.
 
“I’m still working on it. I can’t say how I’m going to handle adversity, but I know how to handle adversity and that’s important.”
 
This season will be the last in South Bend for Crawford as he told reporters he won’t apply for a sixth season of eligibility and part of that is due to the growth he has had on and off the field.
 
“Going through those injuries, I’ve realized my life isn’t about football,” said Crawford. “Coming in here as a freshman, I came to get an education and play football. Once the injuries occurred, I realized my life has to be more than football. Throughout the trials, I’ve grown as a person and in my faith. I can’t say without the injuries that would have happened, but I’m thankful for the injuries and I’m still here playing this game.”
 
Saturday will be the first time Crawford will take live action in a game in Notre Dame Stadium since 2017 and it’s a moment he’s looking forward to experiencing with those who have been by his side.
 
“It’s going to be fun,” smiled Crawford. “I definitely missed it last year. I’m more excited about my family and friends being able to attend. Road games are fun, but it’s like everyone is against you. All the things you worked for, you don’t really have the love and support you want your first game back. The first home game, I’ll be excited for the crowd and to have my family there. I’m excited to run out of the tunnel and slap the sign.”
 
Notre Dame’s defense had it’s up and downs, but Crawford believes it’s a simple fix to correct the mistakes from week one.
 
“I feel like we need to be more disciplined,” Crawford said. “The whole defense was a little excited and we got a few penalties. Working on our discipline and playing to our standard. We started to get there towards the second half as a defense. We started having fun and playing fast. We started to play the defense that was called.
 
“Ultimately, we need to lock in and play our roles. We know teams are going to attack us with options and QB run. As long as we stay on our keys and pay attention to the details, we’ll be fine.”
 
 

 
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