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The Big Question: Who is Kekoa Crawford?

The new #1 has a jersey number to live up to.

This rising sophomore is chomping at the bit
Photo Credit: Bryan Fuller, MGoBlog

“When you talk about the guys who wore the No. 1 jersey,” said Stan Edwards, father of Braylon Edwards, to the Michigan Daily, “they had superior skill level — superior. And they had tremendous work ethic. They were game changers.”

“What David Terrell, Braylon Edwards, Anthony Carter, Derrick Alexander, did — none of those guys — nobody had to wonder: ‘Have you done enough to wear that jersey?’ It spoke for itself.”

The 2017 Michigan roster may be fraught with a lot of unproven underclassmen, but there is a lot of raw talent all over the place. Not the least of which is wide receiver, and one rising sophomore from Rancho Santa Margarita is chomping at the bit to stand out above the rest.

Photo credit: Eric Upchurch, MGoBlog

Kekoa Crawford’s legal name is actually Dylan, but he decided to be known in college by his nickname, which is Hawaiian for “warrior.” He was the # 19 wide receiver nationally and # 120 prospect overall in 2016 with offers from Oregon, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, as well as Michigan and many others. He was originally a Brady Hoke recruit and when Hoke was let go, Crawford got a call from coaches Harbaugh and Fisch saying Michigan still wanted him.

When he was seen in Fall practice wearing #1 in 2016, it prompted a lot of wonder. In an interview with Maize and Blue, he said former Michigan star, now Carolina Panthers WR, Devin Funchess actually spoke to him about wearing the #1 jersey and prompted him to do research on the history of it. He found he was wearing the number of Michigan greats Anthony Carter, Derrick Alexander, David Terrell, and Braylon Edwards, who were nothing short of Michigan legends in their time. Stan Edwards’ quote is exactly right. Game changers and men with great work ethics wore #1.

Kekoa saw action in all of Michigan’s 2016 games, gaining attention because of his blocking ability. He finished the 2016 season with 4 catches for 47 yards and a touchdown along with 3 rushes for 15 yards. Much of his action was in garbage time, but there is a lot to like about the youngster. He’s fast, strong, and shows a spark when he has the ball in his hands.

In a year with almost all underclass wide receivers, this is the time for Crawford to show what he can do. He’s going to be competing with Eddie McDoom, Maurice Ways, and Drake Harris, along with freshmen Nico Collins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Tarik Black in absolutely no order. It is of note that Tarik Black was the highest drafted WR (based on tweets) in the famous spring game draft. Also, Wilton Speight had high praise for the boy wonder Peoples-Jones in an interview on March 24th, saying the young receiver was “doing things today that were pretty freaky.” Other than that, the battle is wide open. No matter what, nobody’s going to wonder if he’s worthy of the jersey. It speaks for itself.