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5 Things to Know About Michael Crabtree

Posted Mar 19, 2018

The Ravens’ new wide receiver shook off Bob Knight to play football. He had a massive two-year college career and an all-time famous play.


The Ravens inked Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal Friday night.

Here are five things to know about the veteran wide receiver:

1) He grew up in Dallas.

Crabtree was born in Dallas and attended Carter High School, which was the championship-winning team featured in “Friday Night Lights.” Crabtree grew up idolizing longtime Dallas Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why Crabtree also said he grew up a Ravens fan. Sanders came out of retirement to finish his career in Baltimore in 2004 and 2005.

“Ravens were my favorite team – maybe because of the hardnosed defense they used to have back in the day,” Crabtree said. “I always was a tough kid growing up. I played safety; I thought I was Ed Reed at times.”

2) He shook off Bob Knight to play football.

Crabtree played quarterback in high school, but was also a standout basketball player who averaged 20.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a senior. According to a New York Times feature, Crabtree briefly considered playing only basketball as a high school sophomore, but his father talked him into going to football practice for a week and he dropped the idea.

Still, he played A.A.U. basketball growing up, and once as he was inbounding a ball during a game, famous Texas Tech (formerly Indiana) basketball coach Bob Knight whispered to him, “Football or basketball?” Texas Tech offered him his first basketball scholarship before his junior season and had him as their top basketball recruit in 2006.

I love basketball,” Crabtree said. “I feel like I could have played basketball too. I just loved it. … I feel like I could’ve made it.”

3) He was an absolute monster in college (and has a famous play on his resume).

Thankfully, Crabtree picked football, and it quickly became apparent that it was the right decision. In just two years, he set eight college football records.

Most came from an eye-popping redshirt freshman year in which he caught 134 passes for 1,962 yards and 22 touchdowns. That still stands as the most single-season receptions, yards and touchdowns catches for a freshman in NCAA history. He won the Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver) both years in college.

Crabtree also has one of college football’s most iconic plays/highlights, when, with eight seconds left, he caught a 28-yard pass along the sideline and shook off double coverage to get into the end zone and upset No. 1-ranked Texas.

Crabtree declared early for the draft and was selected by the San Francisco 49ers 10th overall. Despite his accomplishments, he was the second wide receiver off the board, following Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (Oakland Raiders) at No. 7.

4) He did the ‘Crab Shake’ for charity.

Crabtree’s last name has always led to some creative celebrations. When he was in college, fans would make crab-claw gestures during games and the Texas Tech cheerleaders would do crab walks through the end zone when celebrating his touchdowns.

But the best may have been his “Crab Shake” dance, which originated in 2012 when he partnered with Ubisoft, the makers of the video game, “The Hip Hop Dance Experience” to create his own signature touchdown dance.

Every time he scored, Ubisoft donated to Crabtree’s charity of choice, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Crabtree scored a career-high nine touchdowns that season.

Now that Crabtree is in the blue crab capital, the “Crab Shake” or something like it needs to be renewed.

5) He has some NFL rival cornerbacks.

Crabtree certainly isn’t one to back down from a fight, and he has a couple high-profile rivalries under his belt. It just goes to show how a tough competitor can get under an opponent’s skin.

As a member of the San Francisco 49ers, Crabtree battled with Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman throughout their time in the NFC West, capped off by Sherman’s rant after winning the 2013 NFC championship.

Then, when Crabtree was in the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders, he got into it with Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib on a couple of occasions. Talib grabbed and broke Crabtree’s gold chain when the two went toe-to-toe in the regular-season finale in 2016. When they met again in 2017, Talib again ripped Crabtree’s chain off his neck.

Crabtree piledrived Talib into the ground before a huge scuffle broke out and both player took swings at each other. They were each suspended by the league for two games.

All three players have since traded teams. Sherman is on the 49ers. Talib was traded to the Los Angeles Rams. The Ravens will play the 49ers and Rams in 2019.

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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