Evan Crabtree looks to be following in his father's footsteps.
The 2015 Dublin Coffman graduate concluded his collegiate playing career last fall with the Miami University football team, for which he started for four seasons as a long-snapper after being redshirted as a freshman. Currently a graduate assistant with the RedHawks, he aspires to have a career in coaching like his father, Coffman coach Mark Crabtree.
Evan Crabtree has maintained contact with the other members of the Miami coaching staff via teleconferences while staying at his parents' home in Dublin during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. He also is staying in shape with the hopes of catching on with an NFL team.
The NFL draft will take place April 23-25. Players not selected in the seven-round draft may sign with any team.
"My goal is to be a head coach in college or the NFL, but I have grown up around high school coaching, and it's something I haven't written off," said Crabtree, who graduated with a degree in sports leadership and management before earning his master's in sports leadership from Miami in December. "Right now, I could see staying in college, and if I'm lucky enough to get in the NFL, that would be awesome."
Crabtree said the chances of playing in the NFL are remote for any position, but that's especially true for long-snappers.
"Teams usually only have one long-snapper and if he gets hurt, they just use another lineman instead of having a backup," Crabtree said. "They normally don't carry one on the practice squad. They might go looking to sign one later if (an injury) would happen."
Crabtree got a lot of exposure to NFL scouts last fall thanks to the RedHawks' strong kicking game. Place-kicker Sam Sloman earned second-team All-America and All-Mid-American Conference honors and punter Kyle Kramer was first-team All-MAC as Miami finished 8-6 and won their first MAC championship since 2010.
"I had a pro day, and I played in the Tropical Bowl (on Jan. 12 in DeLand, Florida), which is a senior showcase like the East-West Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl," said Crabtree, who was Academic All-MAC last fall with a 3.8 GPA. "I also went out to Phoenix (March 8-10) with our kicker, Sam Sloman, and punter, Kyle Kramer, for a combine for specialists that didn't go to the (NFL) combine (held Feb. 24 through March 1 in Indianapolis). I was happy to get that in before everything shut down.
"Sloman and Kramer had really good seasons and people are looking at them. It's good to be able to snap for them in front of other people to get that exposure."
Crabtree hopes his talents are noticed by an NFL team, but Miami special teams coordinator Doug Shearer said that being under the radar is the best thing for a long-snapper.
"The first thing about being a good long-snapper is you don't want anyone to know your name," Shearer said. "It's always about the kicker and punter, and no one knows you unless you make a mistake.
"You want to be consistent, and Evan was like that mentally and physically. You want to be sound at what you do because you do the same thing every time. You can't have success as a punter or kicker without a good snapper. That allows the operation to be more efficient and consistent. It's no mistake that our senior punter and kicker had their best seasons. That was from Evan's starting that on every play."
Should his path to the NFL close, Crabtree will transition into coaching, which has been part of a lifelong dream.
"It's a really unique situation and it's because of my relationship with (Miami head) coach (Chuck) Martin," Crabtree said. "This offseason, I told coach Martin my goals and he wanted to help. Not many people would be willing to hire someone working toward the NFL and still be a grad assistant.
"This is something I always wanted to do even in high school and middle school. I grew up around football every single season. When I walked on at Miami, it was my goal to play college football. As time went by at Miami, I realized the history of Miami football and the number of coaches who came through here. There is an entire wall of people who played and coached at Miami who have gone on to do incredible things. I want to be a part of that."
Mark Crabtree has led Coffman's program for 19 seasons after previously coaching at St. Charles and Fisher Catholic. He is excited for the opportunity to see his son succeed in coaching.
"Part of me thinks it's the greatest thing ever and the other part of me is like, 'Do you really want to do that,'" Mark said. "His aspiration is to coach at the highest level, and there is a high turnover for that, and sometimes with no fault of their own. The only difference between him and me is he wants to do it at the highest level. I'm very proud and thrilled for him, and it will be exciting to see how it turns out."
After being hired as a graduate assistant, Crabtree stayed with Shearer until Miami's campus shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. He returned home, where he has continued to work out.
"It's pretty simple for me," Crabtree said. "I have been conditioning, lifting and snapping. It hasn't had an effect on me from a training standpoint.
"Me, my dad and brother (2018 Coffman graduate and current Ashland linebacker Luke Crabtree) made a small weight room, and I have had my family members help me with snaps. I'm really fortunate to have the equipment I have and my family here to help me out."
Crabtree said that if he catches on with an NFL team, his coaching career will be put on hold.
"If (the NFL dream) happens, it happens, but if not, I have this option (at Miami)," he said. "I won't know if I don't try, and I'm going to give it my best shot."