Release courtesy of Franklin College
FRANKLIN, IN – The legacy of former Franklin College standout and College Football Hall of Famer Brad Crawford will grow when his name is associated with USA Football News’ award that honors the nation’s best small-college defensive back for each season.
The Brad Crawford Defensive Back of the Year Award will be presented each winter to a player competing in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II, Division III or NAIA levels.
“Brad Crawford’s credentials as an athlete and student were quite impressive. His accomplishments were above and beyond what we were looking for to be associated with this award,” said USA Football News President and CEO Dennis Wilson, pointing out that Franklin College is the only NCAA Division III institution to have a defensive back in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Crawford was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000, after being honored into Franklin College’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. As a Grizzly from 1974 to 1977, he was a three-time NAIA All-American and was the NAIA District 21 Player of the Year in 1976. He still holds school records for having nine interceptions during the 1975 season and totaling 25 career interceptions.
“This is a tremendous honor. I am surprised and deeply honored to be associated with the top players in small-college football,” said Crawford, a 1978 Franklin College alumnus. “This award also honors Franklin College and all of my former teammates. Any recognition that I received, and continue to receive, is because of the great teams and coach (Stewart “Red” Faught) that I was fortunate to play with.”
Crawford continued during a recent interview, “I cherish the time that I spent with my teammates and coaches more than the passes I intercepted. I was fortunate to play with so many great teammates that helped me put up great statistics. Many players may receive back-to-back All-American status, but I was able to be named a first-team All-American during three of my four seasons.”
Away from the gridiron, Crawford was also a standout track athlete, helping lead Franklin to a third-place finish in the 1977 NAIA District 21 championships—accounting for 40 of the team’s 58 points. He showcased his athletic skills by winning the 100- and 200-yard dash races and the long jump field event, along with running a leg of the victorious 440-yard relay team. He still holds the NAIA national long jump record with a leap that covered 22 feet, 10¼ inches.
Crawford still faithfully follows the success of the Franklin football program and tries to attend at least one home football game each fall. After graduating from Franklin, he graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1982, and has had a family dentistry practice in Winamac, Indiana for the past 31 years.
The first recipient of the Brad Crawford Defensive Back of the Year Award could be a Grizzly as senior defensive back Zack Corpe has been selected to multiple preseason All-American awards.