On December 18, 2018, it was announced that former Michigan wide receiver Kekoa Crawford would be transferring to UC Berkeley. Crawford was very highly touted coming out of high school, as he was a 4* recruit in the class of 2016 who ranked as the 118th ranked player in his class and the 19th ranked wide receiver.
In Crawford’s two years at Michigan, he played in 13 games, starting 4, and recorded 14 receptions (on 33 targets) for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Due to a deep Michigan receiving core, he decided in June of 2018 that he was going to transfer. He sat out the 2018 season, so he will be eligible to play the 2019 season with the Bears. He will have two remaining years of eligibility.
Cal grabbed many transfers this past recruiting window, whether from junior colleges or other FBS schools, but Crawford is arguably the most talented of them all. He also has two years of experience playing against high-level FBS competition. Let’s take a look at his college tape so far and see what he can bring to the Bears’ offense in 2019.
Tale of the Tape
@kekoa_cRAWford getting his first catch! #Michigan #GoBlue @UMichFootball pic.twitter.com/Q4xwmCrX6A— GudWilly (@willcoontz) September 3, 2016
Here we have his first ever catch during his freshman year against Hawaii. Obviously the camera angle isn’t great, but we see Crawford run a nice route and hang onto the ball despite a hit for a gain of 18 yards. Cal’s highest average yards/catch among players with significant playing time last year was Jordan Duncan with 13.5. Even though this is a pretty routine play, routine catches for 18 yards are something the Cal offense completely lacked last season.
Kekoa Crawford #1 catches his first TD as a Wolverine. Congrats son pic.twitter.com/8CoTSf4ffr— Glenn Crawford (@Glenn008Glenn) November 5, 2016
Next we have his first college touchdown, coming in a blowout win over Maryland. There isn’t much to this play, as it is more of a blown coverage than anything, but Crawford does display nice speed and finds the perfect weak spot in the Maryland secondary by splitting the two deep defenders for an easy score.
Also, freshman @kekoa_cRAWford serving up some downfield pancakes pic.twitter.com/RKR09fyfjx— HAIL (@UMGOBLUEHAIL) October 30, 2016
This is definitely one of my favorite clips from Crawford. This is another one from his freshman year, this time in a game against rival Michigan State. On a long gainer from the Michigan offense, Crawford displays great effort by blocking one guy downfield and pancaking another. His blocking on this play gave Michigan en extra 10+ yards. I am sure that Cal fans will be extremely happy if he can display this level of effort in certain rivalry games for the Bears.
ICYMI: He has an awesome name, and @kekoa_cRAWford has a @umichfootball TD. pic.twitter.com/p2t4mzReiP— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) September 9, 2017
The other plays before this were a bit less eventful, but this long touchdown in his sophomore year against Michigan is definitely one of the clips that gives a glimpse into Crawford’s talent and should get you excited for his Cal future. In this clip, Crawford simply beats his man deep with burning speed and catches an easy touchdown. Not only did he beat his man, but it was not even close by the time the ball reached him. Cal lacked a deep threat all year, as we all know, but Crawford shows in this clip that he may really become the type of player that can produce some big plays for our offense.
The toss! The snag! @UMichFootball is right back in this game, as this Kekoa Crawford catch set up a Ty Isaac TD: pic.twitter.com/P9kWB47spD— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 22, 2017
This is without a doubt the best play that Crawford made during his Michigan career. This one also came in his sophomore year, and in a huge spot. With Michigan down 14-6 to #2 Penn State, a 23-yard catch from Crawford set up a Michigan touchdown that would make it a one point game. Michigan would get shut out for the rest of the game and lose 42-13, but that is not the point.
This play shows everything that is great about Kekoa Crawford. Instead of just using his pure speed, he has to use his strength to deliver a devastating move in order to beat his man. He then uses his speed to gain separating, but wasn’t done there. Despite having his man beat as he was streaking open along the left hashes, his quarterback led him to the sideline. This forced Crawford to make an adjustment that resulted in him moving almost horizontally before hauling in an insane over the shoulder catch.
Cal severely lacked a big play threat last season, and Kekoa Crawford may be it. He has great speed, but also is a complete wide receiver with great hands, route running ability, and body control. Though he didn’t get used much in space at Michigan, one would have to imagine he will also be useful in gaining yards after the catch and even creating offense on short and screen passes. All of this is from a 6’2” receiver who should also be useful in the red zone.
Crawford is exactly the player that this offense needs for the 2019 season. If Cal can have a quarterback who can successfully get him the ball, he can be the primary threat on a Cal offense that should hopefully improve next year. As we all know, an improved offense would result in a contending team for Cal. Let’s hope that Crawford can be the key.
What do you Cal fans think about Crawford? Can he save our offense?