HERO Sports is counting down the days until the kickoff of the 2018 college football season on Saturday, Aug. 25, by featuring the best player in the FBS at each jersey number, from 99-1. Each day, from May 18 through Aug. 24, we'll publish one article showcasing the best player whose jersey number matches the number of days remaining.
"Jeremiah Harris and Maxx Crosby must explode if they expect no drop-off from Pat O'Connor," I wrote in Eastern Michigan's 2017 preview last summer.
Crosby exploded (and Harris, too, but to a lesser degree). He tripled his tackles for loss (5.5 to 16.5) and tied the program record with 11 sacks (1.5 in 2016) in having one of the biggest breakout seasons of any player in college football.
"What they loved about me at the camp was that I was 'a man amongst boys in 1-on-1 pass rush' and I didn't drop a ball, doing it all with a smile on my face," Crosby said when committing to Eastern Michigan in 2014.
Crosby, a two-star recruit who grew up in Michigan but played high school football in Texas, redshirted in 2015 and had 35 tackles in 13 appearances as a freshman in 2016. Then came the 11 sacks on 53 quarterback pressures last year (the latter was fifth-most among all FBS edge defenders, according to Pro Football Focus). He also has the fourth-highest grade among returning edge defenders, just below Sutton Smith, Nick Bosa and Malik Reed.
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