One-on-one with Kyran McKinney-Crudden '18
Football tri-captain Kyran McKinney-Crudden ’18 has become a defensive leader in his senior season. His 36 tackles rank third on the team, and his goal-line interception last week denied Sacred Heart University the chance for a go-ahead score. Ahead of Saturday’s showdown with undefeated Columbia University, The Dartmouth sat down with the nickelback to discuss his senior season.
What made you decide to come to Dartmouth?
KMC: I decided on Dartmouth for a combination of academics and athletics. I always planned on playing college football. Dartmouth gave me the best opportunity to pursue both at the highest level.
What was the transition from high school football like?
KMC: There were a lot of learning curves I dealt with when I got to college athletics. The time commitment is significantly larger, the players are bigger and faster and the mental part of the game is much more important as well. Freshman fall is probably the hardest term for most Dartmouth football players. Or the first winter for the guys from the South.
As both an engineer and a football player, how do you manage to handle both time commitments?
KMC: Choosing my classes is the hardest part about being an engineer and a football player. I typically load up my lab classes in the winter because we only have lift in the morning and the rest of the day free. However, fall term is kind of a roller coaster with classes and football.
How do you set your goals for the season?
KMC: The goal every year is the same — win an Ivy League Championship. I normally set some smaller personal goals, but at the end of the day, the ring is what’s important.
How do you prepare yourself for games?
KMC: I have a playlist I listen to every game day. It starts slower with some R&B so I can focus and think about the game. Then, it picks up with some rap and even a rock song or two to get all the way in the zone.
How has becoming one of Dartmouth’s tri-captains this year changed your approach on the game?
KMC: It has been an amazing honor to be chosen as a leader among so many great guys. I don’t really change up who I am or what I do. I just be myself and have fun. I have some great teammates, so that’s pretty easy.
With major defensive leaders graduating last year, what has it been like stepping into that role?
KMC: We have a lot of guys that lead and make plays on defense as well as offense.
The team has made some amazing late game comebacks. How, as a captain, do you manage the emotion in the locker room going into the second half? How do you help keep the team focused on the game?
KMC: Everyone feels the same when it gets down to crunch time: Do whatever it takes to win. We’ve had a lot of experience in those situations now, so no one panics.
Can you tell us about that critical interception last week against Sacred Heart? What was going through your mind?
KMC: It was a cool moment, but there was still a couple minutes left on the clock. The focus shifted pretty quickly to getting ready for the next series and ending the game.
How is the team preparing itself to go into the game against Columbia this weekend?
KMC: We take every game as one week at a time. Our approach hasn’t changed, but we understand this is a big game.
What will you miss most about your time at Dartmouth?
KMC: The people. I have met some amazing people in my time here. I think that’s what made Dartmouth special to me.
This interview has been edited and condensed for content and clarity.