Crable To Be Inducted; Mahoney Receives NFF Scholar-Athlete Award

Author: Amy Marquez

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University of Notre Dame freshman defensive back John Mahoney received a 2017 National Football Foundation Chapter Scholar-Athlete award today at the NFF annual Chapter Awards Luncheon presented by Under Armour at the New York Midtown Hilton.

Mahoney and four other student-athletes received the honor based on their high school accomplishments. He was the Midwest honoree for his football and academic accomplishments at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. Mahoney was joined by fellow May 2017 high school graduates Bobby Maimaron (Northeast/Duxbury, Massachusetts/Williams College), Brandon Micale (West/Arvada, Colorado/San Diego), Rick Mottram (East/Allentown, New Jersey/Bucknell) and Blake Wooden (South/Plantation, Florida/Columbia). Wooden is the son of former standout Irish defensive back Shawn Wooden.

"The first few months at Notre Dame have been a whirlwind--you can't really describe it," said Mahoney as he was interviewed by Amy Yakola, chief of external affairs at the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"Having the opportunity to sit in the same locker room and play on the same field that so many great players have graced over the years has been unbelievably awesome.

"Balancing athletics and athletics is a little different when you get to college. The best thing is time management. You have to know what needs to get done every day and then manage your time effectively."

Mahoney excelled both on and off the field at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. A senior team captain, he was named First Team 4A All-State and Second Team Elite All-State at defensive back in 2016. The Tigers finished the regular season as the only undefeated 4A team in Iowa, with Mahoney leading the team to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. Amassing 40 tackles his senior year, the first team all-district selection led a defense that registered three shutouts and limited its opponents to just 6.8 points per game. An Academic All-State honoree in 2016, Mahoney earned academic all-conference laurels all four years of high school.

Holding an impressive 4.28 weighted GPA on a 4.0 scale, Mahoney was a National AP Scholar in 2017, an AP Scholar with Distinction in 2016 and an AP Scholar in 2015. During his senior year, the National Honor Society member was a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship and was honored with the United States Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award.

He extended his leadership skills off the field, serving as president of the Student Council and as a member of the Principal's Advisory Council. The recipient of the Silver Cord Award for accumulating more than 200 hours of community service, Mahoney held a leadership position during two charitable events that raised more than $8,000 combined. A two-sport athlete, he was a member of the 2017 Iowa 4A state champion track and field team while earning Academic All-State honors.

Mahoney is studying finance and international economics at Notre Dame, where he walked on to the Irish roster as a defensive back. His father, Craig, was an NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 1990 at Iowa State.

Said John Mahoney, "Throughout my life I always wanted to be a good football player, but having my dad's example to look up to as I was growing up has been incredible, especially because this award is about the entire person and not just athletics."

The NFF has honored chapter scholar-athletes since 1991.

The event also honored five individuals with Chapter Leadership Awards. One of those five was John Weiler, representing the Midwest Region and the Tom Lombardo/St. Louis Chapter. Weiler played varsity football at Notre Dame for one year and is a 1958 Notre Dame graduate.

Meanwhile, 2017 NFF Hall of Fame inductee Bob Crable took part in a morning press conference that featured interviews by ESPN's Holly Rowe.

Asked Rowe, "There were so many great defensive players to wear a Notre Dame jersey, Bob, how does it feel to still to this day own so many of the Irish tackling records?"

Said Crable, "Well, the game has changed so much that it's a wonderful feeling. But with the game changing (to more passing), it's going to be challenging for people to approach it these days."

Asked Rowe, "As you look back on it, what was able to make you so successful, what were some of the keys you'd point to as `I was good at this and that's what I'm proud of?'"

Said Crable, "I was good at being angry. (laughter) I had--at that time in history--some speed and that's always a big deal. But when you play with a chip on your shoulder, I think it's a good thing in that sport."

Asked Rowe, "As you say `chip on your shoulder,' you always probably have something to prove. What is it that now being inducted into the Hall of Fame you still feel like you have proven now to the college football world?"

Said Crable, "Golly, I don't know. What do you prove? You prove you're on the field, you're a good teammate. You prove that you can compete at that level--and the level from high school to college and college to pros is all about the speed and the guys involved who are good players. It just continues to get greater and greater. I feel honored to be part of this group. There are great competitors in this group."

Crable, a two-time consensus All-America linebacker in football at Notre Dame and the most prolific tackler in Irish history, will be inducted tonight into the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The 2017 class also will be recognized at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

Crable becomes the 46th former Notre Dame player--and the first since end Thom Gatewood in 2015--to join the College Football Hall of Fame. With 46 former players and six former coaches selected, Notre Dame boasts more honorees than any other school in the country.

A two-time Irish captain under head coaches Dan Devine (Crable played for him in 1978-79-80) and Gerry Faust (Crable played his senior season under him in 1981), Crable led the Irish in total tackles in three straight seasons--in 1979 with a Notre Dame single-season record 187, in 1980 with 154 and in 1981 with 167 (plus two interceptions). Crable joins fellow linebackers Manti Te'o (2010-11-12) and Bob Olson (1967-68-69) as the only Irish players to lead Notre Dame in tackles in three consecutive campaigns (tackle statistics go back through the 1956 season).

His season tackle totals in 1979 (187) and 1981 (167) remain the two best single-season marks in Notre Dame history. Crable was a mainstay of the 1980 Irish defense that ranked fourth in the country in total defense (213.2 yards allowed per game), fifth in scoring defense (10.1 points) and eighth in both rushing (109.8 yards) and passing defense (103.0 yards).

The Cincinnati, Ohio, product tied the NCAA and Notre Dame single-game tackle record with 26 against Clemson in 1979 (Bob Golic also had 26 versus Michigan in 1978) and holds the Irish career record for tackles with 521. Crable had five career games with 20 or more tackles--26 against 14 th-rated Clemson in 1979, 24 versus South Carolina in 1979 and against 11th-ranked Michigan in 1981 and 20 versus both Navy and 17th-rated Purdue in 1979. He had four other games with 19 tackles--including in a win over fifth-rated Alabama in 1980 and against Michigan teams in both 1979 and 1980.

As a junior in 1980, Crable's consensus All-America season featured first-team mention on teams named by United Press International, the American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Foundation, Newspaper Enterprise Association, The Sporting News and Football News. He was a second-team pick by the Associated Press. As a senior in 1981, he was a consensus first-team pick by AP, UPI, the AFCA, Walter Camp, The Sporting News and Football News. As a sophomore in 1979, he was a third-team pick by the AP and Football News. He was a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award as a senior in 1981. Crable was the Notre Dame Monogram Club team MVP as both a junior and senior in 1980 and 1981.

As a three-year starter Crable helped those three Irish teams to a combined 21-12-1 record--7-4 in 1979, 9-2-1 in 1980 (#9 in the final AP poll, #10 in the coaches' voting) and 5-6 in 1981. He led the Irish to the number-one ranking in the AP poll after the Irish won their first seven games in 1980 and helped Notre Dame to that same slot one game into the 1981 campaign. He started 34 consecutive games to finish his collegiate career--leading the team in tackles in 31 of those. His career statistics included 33 tackles for loss (of 95 yards), 10 passes broken up, six fumbles recovered, four blocked kicks and three interceptions.

Crable played on Irish teams that defeated Houston in the Cotton Bowl following his freshman season in 1978 and lost to unbeaten, top-ranked eventual national champion Georgia in the Sugar Bowl after the 1980 season (Crable made 10 tackles in that contest). He recovered a fumble that led to an Irish touchdown in the comeback win over Houston.

Crable was maybe best known for his field-goal block with six seconds remaining against Michigan in 1979 that preserved a 12-10 Irish victory over the sixth-ranked Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

After playing in the 1981 Hula Bowl, Crable was selected in the first round (23rd overall pick) of the 1982 National Football League Draft by the New York Jets. He played six seasons (1982-87) at the professional level--participating in 66 career games, making 43 starts and recording 10 sacks. Crable is the only Notre Dame linebacker to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

In 2006 Crable was named the Butkus Silver Anniversary Award Winner after being named to the Hamilton (Ohio) County Hall of Fame in 1992. He helped his last three Cincinnati Moeller High School teams under Faust to a combined 36-0 record and three straight Ohio state prep titles in 1975-76-77.

Born Sept. 22, 1959, the 6-foot-3, 228-pound Crable received his Notre Dame degree in 1982 from the College of Business Administration, with a major in finance.

Crable served as head football coach for seven seasons (2001-08) at Moeller High School (his alma mater) in Cincinnati after nine seasons as an assistant coach. He was president of Crable Sportswear (1987-90) and Craco Embroidery (1990-2002) and became president of Hilltop Management Association in Cincinnati. He now works in commercial real estate with Capital Real Estate Partners in Cincinnati while also serving as president of the Crable Investment Group. He's also president of the Crable Foundation that helps fund education opportunities for student-athletes of team sports to attend Catholic schools.

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