The post-season accolades may be few and far between for Oregon State’s football program, after a trying 4-8 season, but there's reason to believe that the future may be bright in Corvallis with a bevy of talented young returners expected to contribute in the 2017 campaign. Headlining those returning talents on the defensive side of things is cornerback Xavier Crawford, who on Monday was named to the USA Today Freshman All-American team, alongside other rookie notables such as Jalen Hurts (QB - Alabama) and Ed Oliver (DL - Houston).
Crawford was one of the two cornerbacks selected for the team (Appalachian State’s Clifton Duck), which comprises the best individual freshman talent on a national scale. In his debut season for the Beavers, Crawford tallied 70 tackles and one interception, while also totaling a team-high 10 pass breakups. Crawford started each of the 12 games this season for Oregon State, including a breakout performance in a 47-44 overtime win over California, where he accounted for 10 tackles and three pass breakups.
An All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention selection as well, Crawford was overshadowed by defensive back counterparts Treston Decoud and Devin Chappell for most of the season, while working in conjunction with his teammates to help turn the Beavers into a top-50 pass defense nationally, allowing 211.2 yards per outing. In 2017, Crawford is expected to help anchor an improving Oregon State defensive unit, that will be tasked weekly with containing a multitude of pass-friendly offenses in the Pac-12.
Crawford was one of the five players from the league named to the team, along with California wide receiver Demetris Robertson, Colorado offensive lineman Tim Lynott, Oregon linebacker Troy Dye and Washington safety Taylor Rapp.