|Three local gridiron stars ink LOIs|
|Thursday, February 07, 2013 2:13 PM|
“Ever since I can remember, I dreamed about this; this is what I wanted to do since I was little. It’s nice to make this decision now and know,” Wessell said. “The fact that it was Coach (Bub) Lindeman’s alma mater helped get me in the door but the place sold itself.”
A lot of players involved in the same process talk about picking the place where they felt most comfortable to continue their athletic careers.
“They called me for a visit and I went. That’s all it took, that one visit,” he continued. “It just felt right. I had considered the University of St. Francis and Otterbein but Findlay just had a comfort level. The coaches seemed very personal and I fell in love with the place.”
Even though Findlay — a Division II institution — is only about a 45-minute drive from Delphos, that never seemed to be an issue with Wessell.
“That really wasn’t an issue. I wanted a place to continue my career; it was something that clicked inside,” he said. “It’s a campus where everything is pretty close together.
“I wrestle, so they are pretty much letting me alone for now. They have told me that later on, they will send me a workout schedule and I will attend the spring game and get to meet the guys. With the players they have coming in, it should be fun.”
As well, the former defensive tackle/fullback for the Wildcats — who intends to major in exercise science with the hope to coach someday — will have to make the transition to linebacker for next fall.
“That’s what they’re telling me; they want me to move to linebacker, which will be an adjustment,” he added.
For Jefferson coach Bub Lindeman, Wessell’s signing is a reward well earned.
“When you think of Jefferson football, he is the heart and soul. He is always one of the first to arrive and the last to leave, whether in the weight room or the locker room,” Lindeman said. “He is a typical blue-collar player that we have here. He is not just a one-sport athlete but does a lot of things well. He comes from a great pedigree and has great character, on and off the field or mat.
“I like to see kids get this kind of reward for hard work.”
Elida had a pair of stalwarts opt to continue their careers at the next level in the Buckeye State: Quentin Poling to Ohio University in Athens and Anthony Sumpter to Ohio Dominican in Columbus.
“It’s a program on the rise and I liked that. I had offers from them, Bowling Green, Toledo, Ball State and Kent State, so I had options,” Poling said. “It was nice to be part of a class here that helped Elida rebuild its program and see that if you work hard enough, you have a chance to play at the next level.
“I’m hoping that this is what I can pass down to the younger players, that this will give them incentive to keep what we’ve started here going and have this happen more and more.”
For the 6-0, 215-pound linebacker, it was all about feel for his choice.
“That’s the advice a lot of people give you. Every time you visit a place, you’re going to hear all the good things from everyone,” he explained. “You just have to go with your instincts of what you feel inside. The campus, the coaches, the players, everybody I met seemed a good fit.
“They offered me a chance to play college football, which is what I wanted to do from the start.” Poling plans to major in pre-exercise physiology with the intention of going on to graduate work in physical therapy.
However, he has work to do until then to try and get on the field as early as possible for the BCS Bobcats.
“They talked about putting me at strong safety but that would have meant me learning a new position. Instead, it looks like I will be at weakside linebacker in the 4-3,” he added. “With so many spread teams (that he faced every day in practice and during his high school career) in the Mid-American Conference and in college football, I also have the chance to be out there when we go to five defensive backs.
“They told me not to worry about bulking up as much as working on my speed. I’ve been working on that this winter and will be running some indoor track meets later this winter to get faster because that is what it will take to get me on the field sooner.”
For Sumpter, Ohio Dominican also had the right feel as he chose the Panthers over Division I schools such as Illinois, Ball State and Eastern Michigan.
“I had gone to those schools’ Junior Days and also some Division I camps. Size was never an issue for me; the goal was to earn a scholarship so I could go to college and further my education and play more football,” Sumpter said. “It’s just right for me: it’s not too big as far as a campus and enrollment but it’s not too small at 3,500 students.
“What really attracted me is how they are up-and-coming in the GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference). They moved up from Division III to Division II a couple of years ago and it usually takes a while to be successful. They went 7-4 and 8-3 in their first two seasons and they have some great players coming in. It’s nice to have a chance to be part of that, just like it was here.”
He plans on entering the pre-law program at the university.
For now, the only advice he has been given is pretty simple.
“Work hard from now until then and get into camp. I played wide receiver and defensive back here at Elida but chances are I might be moving to outside linebacker; whatever I have to do to get on the field,” he added.
For their coach at Elida, Jason Carpenter, this is part of the building process and hopefully a sign of more to come.
“We had a couple of guys sign last year and now we have these two. Chance (Weitz) is contemplating Division I offers as well,” he explained.
“It’s a reward for the hard work these guys and their classmates have put in the last 4-plus years. If I had to say what these guys really bring to the table, what makes them stand out, it’s their work ethic. I don’t think you’ll ever see two guys that work harder, whether in the weight room or on the practice field or in whatever they are doing. They are great guys as well.
“I’m thrilled for them to have this chance to continue their careers at the next level and get an education.”