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Football: Geneva's Santacaterina headed for Southeast Missouri State

QB will not have to sit a season after transferring to FSC school from NIU

Northern Illinois quarterback Daniel Santacaterina (7) throws during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Northern Illinois quarterback Daniel Santacaterina (7) throws during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Daniel Santacaterina will be donning familiar red and black colors when he next takes the football field.

But at a new school.

Santacaterina, the former Geneva standout quarterback, has announced that he is taking is talents to Southeast Missouri State University in the Ohio Valley Conference. Santacaterina confirmed his next destination on Twitter.

Santacaterina announced his decision to transfer away from Northern Illinois University on Dec. 3.

Santacaterina took a visit to Southeast Missouri Friday, and will enroll in the spring.

Southeast Missouri is a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) school, and Santacaterina confirmed he will not have to sit a season due to any NCAA transfer restrictions.

"Southeast Missouri just checked every box that I had," Santacaterina, a communications major, said.

The redshirt sophomore was promoted to the starting role at NIU Week 2 this season following an elbow injury to Ryan Graham in the season opener. Santacaterina led the Huskies to two consecutive wins, notably an upset on the road at Nebraska.

But a three-interception performance in a 34-28 loss to San Diego State University the following week led him to lose the starting role to recently-crowned Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year Marcus Childers.

Childers, a redshirt freshman, will be under center for NIU when the Huskies take on Duke in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26

“At the end of the day, we knew one guy was going to win the job," Santacaterina told the DeKalb Daily-Chronicle on Dec. 14. "I thought that I had a firm grip on it, and unfortunately for whatever reasons they think, it didn’t work out.”

Santacaterina threw four passing attempts the rest of the season, and finished with 719 yards, seven touchdowns and completed 64 percent of his passes.

Southeast Missouri head coach, Tom Matukewicz was once the linebackers coach for the Huskies while Santacaterina's brother, Michael, played there. Matukewicz also served as interim head coach during the 2010 Humanitarian Bowl after Jerry Kill left for Minnesota.

With the connection in hand, once Santacaterina was granted his release he got in touch pretty quickly with Matukewicz. The opportunity to get going quickly football-wise was attractive to Santacaterina, who also prioritized finding a program and offensive system that fit his skill set.

Jeromy McDowell, a former starting quarterback himself for Southeast Missouri, is returning to the school as the offensive coordinator. The move was officially announced last week.

"I thought I really fit with [what] they're doing [offensively]," Santacaterina said. "They're going to be throwing the ball a decent amount, and [using] a guy who can use his feet. It was a perfect fit."

Santacaterina's ultimate goal is to compete and win the starting job, but also knows he needs to start earning respect with the team first. He'll also draw upon his recent experiences at NIU juggling the job moving forward.

"Don't get too shaken up when something bad happens, just keep going and things are going to work out," Santacaterina said.

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