Lohn's Unique Story

Nate Lohn took an unusual path on the road to being a top defensive end prospect in the Class of 2012. Most people would consider his trip through recruiting to be a bit unconventional as well.

You hear a lot of athletes publicly praise a higher power. They give it glory and credit it for success.

Some viewers relate. Some of them are uncomfortable. Others are numb to it.

In the end, it really doesn't matter what the onlookers think. The truly spiritual people are talking to a their higher being. They're sharing the moment with it.

This concept leads us to the unique story of Nathanael Lohn. He truly believes his god will will lead him to the college that's best for him.

The Class of 2012 defensive end from Kansas City's Staley High believes it's steered him in the right direction in the past. He's depending on it for his future.

Like most highly-ranked recruits, Lohn frequently gets asked about where he will play college football. And while he partakes in the routine of visiting schools and talking to their coaches, he's set on how the decision will be made.

"What I've done, and this is just my personal belief, the Lord is going to reveal it to me in his time," Lohn said. "I think the Lord has a specific plan for where I'm supposed to be. Every night I pray about it and I pray about it throughout my day.

"It would be nice if it said it somewhere in the bible - You are supposed to verbally commit on this date. That would be pretty nice. It doesn't say that anywhere, so I just have to follow where I think the Lord will lead me. That's what I believe."

This is where judgmental people roll their eyes. Somehow humans become more polarized in their beliefs each day, unable to see others' points of view. Politics and religion are bones of contention going back deep into history.

Again, it doesn't matter. It's what Lohn believes that does. This is his decision.

"It may sound weird when I say it. Actually, it does sound weird when I say it," Lohn said. "I may not end up at the school I like the most. I think that's kind of hard to understand for a lot of people, but that's just how it is. The Lord has a specific place for me. It's going to be the best place for me even though I may not see that right at first."

It's how Lohn believes he ended up at Staley.

Lohn grew up in Sparta, MO, a small town tucked into the southwest part of the state. He and his four siblings were home schooled.

The family loved football. They grew up playing it at the pee-wee and little league levels. Then, they grew out of those stages.

Lohn's father started a program for home-schooled or Christian-schooled players in nearby Springfield, MO. Guys traveled from up to a few hours away to be a part of it.

"I played 7-10 grade there along with my brothers," Nathanael said. "We got to do a lot of really cool stuff there. We twice won the Home School national championship tournament, one year in Cincinnati and one year in Florida. We were a pretty competitive team."

The Springfield Christian Chargers faired well against public school teams from Oklahoma and Kansas, Lohn said. The Missouri athletic governing body did not allow their schools to compete with the home school teams.

"To be honest, there were many athletes (on the Chargers) who would start and be all-state and be great players for the school I'm at right now," Lohn said. "The biggest difference is the number of people you get to choose from (in the public school setting). Also, the amount of time you get to practice."

With some players traveling a couple of hours to practice in Springfield, the team only worked out about three times a week.

"They were very committed," Lohn said of the home school players. "It's just not like the public school situation where we go and practice every day. There's weight room over the summer. It was hard to get the program going in that aspect of it, just as far the amount of time we could spend on the field."

While Lohn was happy with his life and football, he felt the need for change. He and his family began discussing the public school option.

"We thought about going to an area my parents liked in Arkansas," Lohn said. "Also, we looked at a high school close to Sparta. That's the place I wanted to end up, personally, because it was close and I would still get to see everyone that I had grown close to."

As Lohn mentioned above, he might not take the path he prefers to a college. He's counting on a spiritual feeling. He said that was what led him to Staley.

"When I first visited (Staley), I liked Coach (Fred) Bouchard a lot, I just didn't like the thought of moving far away," Lohn remembered. "That was the hardest part for me."

Lohn felt a pull to the Kansas City school. The move was for social and athletic reasons, he said.

"It was just a matter of what would be the right move for me and my future," he said. "If the Lord wanted me to stay home schooled, I would have stayed home school. I felt like he wanted me to be (at Staley)."

Lohn said the move is working out very well. He's happy with the switch socially and Staley is 9-0 this season. He boasts football scholarship offers from prestigious academic institutions like Stanford and Northwestern.

Lohn officially visited Iowa and Stanford in the last month leading some people to speculate that those schools were his favorites. He's not yet scheduled any more trips.

"Just because I haven't taken a visit to Northwestern doesn't mean I won't and it doesn't mean that I couldn't end up there," Lohn said. "I have enjoyed both of my official visits very much. I do like Stanford and Iowa very much, personally. Those are schools I like a lot.

"But again, the places I like personally might not be where I end up. Staley wasn't at the top of my list when I was looking for a public school."

Lohn said Tulsa and Iowa State also are schools he's considering. It also could end up being a school that he's not talking to right now, he said.

"To be honest, I didn't want to be public schooled," he said. "I didn't want to move away from where we were. That was not my dream. I would have preferred to stay close with my friends.

It's not that I've ruled out a lot of schools. I just haven't been in contact with them."

All of this talk might annoy folks who follow recruiting. They prefer prospects to name leaders and timelines for decisions. Many of them won't understand what Lohn is saying.

"I explain it the same way when I'm asked how I ended up at Staley," he said. "I kind of took that situation the same way I'm taking my college situation. I prayed about it. I felt the Lord lead me to Staley. That's where he wanted me to be.

"He thought that it would be the best for our family. That was his plan for me. So, we moved here. Even though it was something that I really didn't want to do or wouldn't have been my top choice, it's turned out to be incredible; just great, really. I think the Lord has interesting ways of working in that area."

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