Saint Francis quarterback mix includes son of Notre Dame great Bob Crable

Matt Crable
Saint Francis quarterback recruit Heath Simmons, center, poses with Cougars assistant coaches Josh Miller and Patrick Donley during a game last season. (Photo via Twitter)

The competition to find a successor to record-setting University of Saint Francis quarterback Nick Ferrer is heating up with the addition of two more candidates, including one with a Notre Dame connection.

Matt Crable, son of former Notre Dame linebacker Bob Crable, has transferred to Saint Francis after starting his career at Grand Valley State.

Crable started at Grand Valley State in the fall of 2015, was redshirted a season and did not subsequently win the starting job. He is enrolled at Saint Francis for the spring semester and will have three years of football eligibility, Saint Francis coach Kevin Donley said.

“We got a call from him and he and his dad came for a visit,” Donley said. “He has a good football bloodline and there was a connection there in talking with him.”

Ferrer leaves a mark that will be difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to top, with multiple passing records and a legacy of leading the offense during back-to-back NAIA national championships. Ferrer finished second in NAIA history in career touchdown passes.

But as Ferrer pursues his post-college career, the Saint Francis show must go on.

Matt Crable, who played high school football at Cincinnati Moeller, is 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and completed 207 of 383 (54 percent) passes for 2,673 yards and 20 touchdowns his senior season. He was All-Greater Cincinnati League and All-Southwest Ohio. His father, Bob, played for Notre Dame and was an All-American linebacker in 1980 and 1981. He played seven seasons with the NFL’s New York Jets.

Another incoming candidate is Heath Simmons of Hartford, Ky. Simmons, who announced on Twitter last week that he chose Saint Francis, is a 6-4, 215-pound prospect who completed 197 of 320 passes (61.5 percent) for 2,442 yards and 32 touchdowns in 11 games. He was also named second-team all-state as a linebacker.

The Cougars are also expected to return four quarterbacks who were part of the team last season: Clay Senerius, Danny Naylor, Jake Hill and Jakob Coker. Senerius, who will be a junior, appeared in 10 games in 2017, completing 17 of 27 passes for 156 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Naylor, who will be a redshirt sophomore, played in three games, completing both pass attempts. Naylor was a Xenia, Ohio, high school teammate of Saint Francis receiver Rocky James and cornerback Ryan Johnson.

“We’ve got some youngsters who have worked hard in the program, so there will be some competition this spring for the job,” Donley said. “With Nick, it was not only the fact of his great playing ability, but his leadership ability and just who he is. He demands your respect. I absolutely love that young man and it’ll be a hole in my heart to see him go. But they come here to leave, and we have to deal with that.”

Among the other recruits who have announced their commitments to Saint Francis for 2018: Dakota Ault, DL, North Side; Kalen Desrosiers, OLB, North Side; Contrez Jordan, SS, Bishop Luers; Zane Fisher, ILB, Columbus, Ohio; Keyveon Evans, OLB, Toledo, Ohio; Michael Edwards, FS, Toledo, Ohio; Nathan Barney, OL, Anthony Wayne, Ohio; Solomon Asiedu, OL, Toledo, Ohio; Daron Pierce, OL, Evansville Central; Jadrid Segal, WR, Lafayette Jefferson; D’Andre Miles, WR, Indianapolis Perry Meridian; Colton Harmon, WR, Elida, Ohio; Hunter Privett, WB, Lawrenceburg; and Jackson Long, ILB, Lake Central.


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