Andrew Schuler-Jones is the latest in a long line of Waupaca football players to take their game to the college level.
The Waupaca High School senior signed his national letter of intent Feb. 4 to play at Bemidji State, a Division 2 program in Bemidji, Minnesota.
“My decision to go to Bemidji was pretty easy,” said Schuler-Jones, a second-team all-Eastern Valley Conference linebacker as a senior. “I took an official visit two weeks ago and it’s a beautiful campus, more like a resort than a campus. I liked that it was more homey feeling than bigger campuses. “It’s a great place. I can see myself there for the next four years.”
He expects to suit up as a middle linebacker for the Beavers, but will redshirt his freshman year.
Schuler-Jones is one of 39 players to sign with Bemidji State, including 12 from Wisconsin.
“It’s definitely a big dream,” he said. “It’s been my dream since I was 5 years old, to play at any college level.”
Several Comets that played for coach John Koronkiewicz have had the opportunity to play college football.
“He’s taught me how to work hard and how to really work for it with determination,” Schuler-Jones said.
“We’ve been fortunate over the years to have several players play at the next level,” Koronkiewicz said. “It’s very difficult to do. They just don’t hand you a scholarship. You have to work for it.”
Schuler-Jones also accepted an academic scholarship.
Bemidji State’s coaching staff didn’t contact Schuler-Jones until this year, he said.
“I have a friend that decommitted from North Dakota State and he put in a good word for me,” he said. “It just snowballed from there. They contacted us and four days later, we were there.”
“It’s always a difficult decision for everyone,” Koronkiewicz said. “Fortunately for Drew, Bemidji stepped up.”
The Beavers’ 39 recruits include 36 freshmen and three transfer students.
“I am excited to announce the 2015 class of football recruits,” coach Jeff Tesch said. “My staff and I feel that this group of talented young athletes will fill needs based on the players that graduated and will energize the program.”
“They went 3-6 last year, but they lost all of their games by a combined 35 points in one of the best D2 conferences in the nation,” Schuler-Jones said. “It’s a respectable program.”
In the meantime, he’ll start preparing for his move to Bemidji State, a school of nearly 5,000 students.
“I’ll have a strength program and a lifting program that they’ll send down in a couple weeks,” he said. “In early July, I’ll be on my way.”