This summer, the script has been a bit different. Ontko, a star at Benet (Ill.) Academy, is fighting for scholarship offers at college camps and the coaches are trying to see where he fits best. Most colleges project him as a safety, but some have tried him at running back and safety.
Through contact with dozens of schools, the message is that Ontko needs to produce during his senior season. Purdue coach Jafar Williams, who has led Ontko's recruitment, is eager to see film from his first three games.
"This year will kind of tell where I'm going to go and play," Ontko said.
Ontko knows his senior season will make or break his recruitment. With that in mind, he has put in the work this offseason. He has trained with Midwest Boom, a rising program in Chicago's western suburbs. Thus far, Ontko has upped his speed and strength while adding 15 pounds to his 6-foot, 190-pound frame.
In June, Ontko camped at Arizona and Stanford, and will be in Minnesota for its camp in two weeks. In the meantime, he has maintained contact with the Boilermaker coaches. Even so, Ontko is unsure where he stands in Purdue's plans.
"I would love to go to Purdue, but I'm not sure where I am on their board right now," said Ontko.
Plenty is at stake when Ontko takes the field with Benet this season. If all goes as he hopes, offers and opportunities will be presented.
"My senior season is huge," he said. "I've been waiting for it all my life for it. "I'm definitely ready for it, physically and mentally. God willing I don't get injured, I think it'll be a great season and everything will work out."