Football: Freshman phenom makes his presence felt

By Sam Donnelly
On April 25, 2014

"I always knew I wanted to play football." 

Freshman tailback Dalton Crossan is a good athlete. So good he could play division one football and lacrosse.

In his mind that didn't matter. What drove Crossan was knowing what he wanted, which is ultimately why he landed at UNH. 

Crossan grew up on Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., in a family of four consisting of his parents and younger brother. Since he was 5 years old, Crossan has played both football and a Long Island trademark, lacrosse. 

"Lacrosse is all-year round in Long Island," Crossan said. "I like lacrosse, but I kind of got sick of it."

When Crossan reached Sachem North High School, it was clear that he was going to be a superior athlete.

As a football player, Crossan carried the ball a total of 208 times, compiling 2,016 yards. That led to an average of 10.4 yards per carry,  good for fifth all-time at Sachem North. In addition, he scored 72 touchdowns, which ranks fifth all-time in Long Island history.  

On the lacrosse field, Crossan excelled. He became nationally ranked as a junior while also ranking second in scoring on Long Island. The interest in Crossan as a lacrosse player became big. From the NCAA powerhouse Notre Dame to-up-and-coming Michigan, Crossan had plenty of offers. What he didn't let the lacrosse recruiters know is that his mind was already made up. 

"I had to entertain the idea to play lacrosse because a lot of good schools were recruiting me, I had to keep my doors open," Crossan said.

Then, the football schools began to call. After being granted the Hansen Award as the top football player in Long Island his senior year, Crossan received offers from Syracuse, Buffalo, and other CIAA schools who compete on the Division I stage. For most kids from New York, an offer to Syracuse is a no-brainer, but Crossan knew what he wanted. 

"Syracuse wanted me to play slot receiver," Crossan said. "I wanted to play running back. I didn't really like the campus. There were just a whole bunch of things I didn't like."

When Crossan visited UNH for the first time, he knew it was where he wanted to be. After head coach Sean McDonnell invited him for an official visit, Crossan was ready to make his decision. 

"I fell in love with the place. I knew I wanted to be here," Crossan said. "I committed up here on my official visit."

After just one season, Crossan has gained an immense amount of experience. He was part of last year's Wildcat team that reached the FCS semifinal, the furthest the team has ever gone in the NCAA playoffs.

Crossan was a big part of the Wildcat's success last year, compiling a total of 930 all-purpose yards, which was fifth on the team. He also finished with six touchdowns and was CAA Rookie of the week on November 18. 

Although his stats were strong after just one season, Crossan is out for more. 

"[I want] to just continue to improve upon my numbers," Crossan said. "I work on getting better and doing everything I can to help our team."

With the experience gained as one of three talented running backs last season, the other two being junior Nico Steriti and graduating senior Chris Setian, Crossan is confident he has a chance this season to receive more touches on the offensive side of the ball. 

"I think being a year older and having a year more of experience will give me more opportunities," Crossan said. "I'm looking forward to this season."

UNH will take the field May 3 at 12 p.m. at Cowell Stadium for the annual Blue-White game. 

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