The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 50: Lamar’s Daniel Crosley

AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.

Lamar Athletics Photo

The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2016 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.

The History

At DeRidder High School in Louisiana, Daniel Crosley was dominant – and not just on the defensive side of the ball. While he was a three-time all-state selection and two-time district defensive MVP, Crosley also received recognition for his contributions as a running back. He eventually settled on Lamar after receiving attention from Houston on the recruiting trail. Crosley and his brother, linebacker David Crosley, both received attention from larger programs before deciding to join the Cardinals.

As a freshman last season, Crosley racked up 42 tackles, 5.5 TFs and a team-high three sacks.

The Skillset

Crosley brings a unique level of athleticism to the defensive line for Lamar. He has the size – 6-foot-2, 240 lbs – but he also has uncanny speed and agility for a big man. In addition to playing running back in high school, Crosley also competed at the state level in triple jump during track and field season. It’s not common to find a big, athletic player on the defensive line with that kind of agility and it certainly gives Crosley – and Lamar – an advantage in the trenches.

The Impact

Lamar struggled on offense last season to the tune of less than 21 points per game on average, but Crosley played a significant role in helping the defense stay afloat as the team ranked sixth in the Southland Conference in scoring defense and fifth in total defense. But his impact can be seen even more specifically in the Cardinals’ defense against the pass. Crosley’s sheer athleticism forces quarterbacks to take note of his presence on the field, and Lamar finished the year as the top ranked team in the conference against the pass (189 ypg). The improvement from 2015 to 2016, Crosley’s first season, was dramatic. With room to grow in his second season, the rising sophomore will again look to create havoc up front for the Cardinals’ defensive attack. With a struggling offense, Crosley and the defense will be relied upon heavily to hold teams in check. If he improves on his freshman campaign’s numbers, watch out.

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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.

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