For most college football fans, seeing the next wave of top players coming into the program you follow has its own excitement. Think if your one of the players who's signing on the dotted line, in front of coaches, family and friends. Well that was the case today at Northmont High School in Clayton, Ohio.
For those that don't know much about the Northmont program, you only have to look back a few years when football was dead at this Division I Ohio high school. That all changed when former Huber Heights Wayne assistant coach Lance Schneider took over the program.
Coach Schneider's first order of business was getting the athletes to believe in his system and that they could win. Well Northmont has shown it now can win, and by winning they are producing some top-notch players.
Not only did Coach Schneider and Athletic Director Robin Spiller have one athlete signing on Letter of Intent day, that had 7 Northmont athletes sign on the line to further their education through sports.
In football Coach Schneider saw Alex Makridis sign with Blinn Junior College. The big offensive linemen will head to Texas and work on his academics for a year. He then will start the recruiting process all over and look for a DI program. In talking with Alex today, he stressed too all younger student-athletes, "Start working on you academics in your freshman year. It will make the recruiting process one you will enjoy even more." Alex also told us that the coaches at Blinn have spoken to some DI programs and if he gets the work done, he will be there next season.
The next player today is The Big O. Nii Adjei Oninku will take his defensive talents and play in the SEC with the University of Kentucky. Oninku had a great junior and senior year and is looking ready to go at UK. You could see the pride his family had this morning during signing day.
Another player signed today was Branden Armstrong. The Miami of Ohio recruit is working on getting more weight on his frame and looking forward to playing at the next level. While Brandon may not have liked to wear his Miami of Ohio hat, the smile on his mothers face told the whole story.
Jamar Harris was all set for Cincinnati, only the new coaching staff stopped all of the previous commitments from signing. Well things worked out great for Jamar, he's headed off for Bowling Green Kentucky and will play for Western Kentucky University. Jamar is just one of many Dayton area football players that Western Kentucky coach Don Martindale is bringing into the 2002 DI-AA National Champions. Jamar had a giant smile on his face, and was dressed to kill.
Romunn Grigsby or better known as Ro, was sporting his purple K-State hat with a purple tie to match. His father was sporting a K-State shirt and a giant smile. Ro is going to make K-State a great wide-receiver. His talents were underrated by many of the so called experts this past year. The one thing I know about Coach Schneider, he knows good receivers, and Ro is one of the best he's had.
Coach Schneider also has a few other players that are going to be playing at the college level and we will have more on them in the next few days. But the five we listed weren't the only student athletes having a big day. Women's Soccer was also on hand for this great day.
Jordyn Shaffer was in the house with all the guys today. But don't feel sorry for her, she's going to be playing for Purdue next season and is really looking forward to the next level. Jordyn's family was all smiles as she signed her letter of intent. And in talking with her I found a great young lady that's looking to study business in college. In asking her about her choice, she was fast to say, the campus is 1 hour from Chicago, I like the fact the campus is compact and its a great area. Jordyn will play midfield for Purdue and work to give the Buckeyes a hard time in years to come. I also had a chance to speak with her father and he was very fast to thank Ervin Mitchell who covers soccer for OPS. He said keep up the great work with the soccer coverage, and that his family likes to get on OPS all the time.
While that time spent at Northmont was short, I came away with a great feeling of pride from the parents, coaches and the Athletic Department. Not to mention the smiles and bright faces seen on each of the student athletes sitting at the table. This day was a great day for this program and if you look at the total dollars in education you have at least $500,000.00 in scholarship money earned today.
I would like to thank Robin Spiller and Coach Schneider for allowing OPS the chance to cover this event. And I would like to wish all the athletes the best at the next level on and off the field.