Crennel was one of the first African-Americans to play football at E.C. Glass High School. He helped transform Coach Vince Bradford's team from a .500 team to an undefeated season and the Western Virginia Class A championship.

At WVU, Crennel was a three-year starter at middle guard captained the 1969 team that defeated South Carolina 14-3 in the Peach Bowl, winning most valuable player honors by anchoring a defense that did not yield a touchdown to the Gamecocks. On the season, the Mountaineer defense limited the opponents to just 10 points per game. The 1969 team finished 10-1 and ranked No. 20 in the final polls. Under Coach Jim Carlen, the Mountaineers posted records of 5-4-1 (1967), 7-3 (1968) and 10-1 (1969) for a 22-8-1 mark during Crennel's career. He played in the 1970 Hula Bowl.

Crennel is a member of the WVU football All-Time team and was the 1969 John Russell Award winner. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the ninth round of the 1970 NFL draft, where he played one season before embarking on a successful career in the Canadian Football League. He played a combined 11 years with the Winnipeg Bombers, Montreal Alouettes, Edmonton Eskimos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders. He played on three Grey Cup teams and was an Eastern all-star in 1973, 1978 and 1979.

Courtesy WVU Sports Hall of Fame and Department of Athletics