Just over four months after being left off the 2018 Michigan football roster, former Wolverines receiver Kekoa Crawford has found his next home.
Tuesday night, the former top-150 recruit pledged to Cal. Given that he apparently didn’t play anywhere this fall, Crawford should be immediately eligible and eligible for two more seasons with the Golden Bears.
Crawford, who initially committed to Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s first full recruiting class in January, 2016 over Oregon, Georgia, Miami, Washington and UCLA, was ranked 118th nationally in the 247Sports Composite and 135th in 247Sports’ overall rankings.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver played right away for the Wolverines, too. In 2016, behind Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson and Grant Perry, Crawford caught four passes for 47 yards and a touchdowns. The following year, he caught 17 passes for 243 yards and another touchdown, though drops and incompletions as a first-year starter soured his contributions in 2017.
Perhaps related to some of his struggles in 2017, Crawford appeared to be passed over on the depth chart in the spring of 2018. Harbaugh mentioned Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black as the leading receivers, and rumors were rampant that Nico Collins, Perry and Oliver Martin were receiving more targets than Crawford as well. After rumors swirled during the summer, his absence from the fall roster confirmed that he was gone.
While it’s unclear if or where Crawford played football this fall, Crawford continually showed support for his former teammates on Twitter, and teased that he would be playing somewhere August 31. The Golden Bears — who went 7-5 during the regular season this fall under second-year head coach Justin Wilcox and face Texas Christian in the Cheez-It Bowl — open against UC-Davis on that date.
Precedent was on Crawford’s side in convincing Cal to take a stab at him. Former Michigan receiver Moe Ways, who had just eight catches for 71 yards in four seasons in Ann Arbor, burst out for 31 catches and 346 yards for the Golden Bears this fall. Former Wolverines tight end Ian Bunting, who had just one catch for six yards in 2017, totaled 17 catches for 191 yards in his one and only season for the Golden Bears.
When Crawford eventually plays for Cal, he will become the 17th former Michigan player under Harbaugh to transfer to a power-conference team. But should he recapture some of the athleticism (including an electronically time 4.45 40-yard dash) that made his such a prized recruit, there’s a good chance that he proceeds to become one of the most impactful players on that list.
Other former Michigan players slated to play for power-five teams next season include Devin Asiasi (UCLA), Keith Washington (West Virginia), Brian Cole (Mississippi State) and Kareem Walker (Mississippi State).