SYCAMORE – Two Sycamore High School seniors signed their letters of intent to play football at the next level Wednesday morning.
Seniors Ben Niemann and Evan Short each signed letters to play at Division I universities during a ceremony at Sycamore High School. Niemann will play at the University of Iowa and Short will play at FCS Northern Colorado.
“It is really exciting. It is basically a dream come true,” Niemann said. “This is something that I have always wanted to do and that is play college football. So, it is a big moment in my life and I am really excited.”
Sycamore finished the season one win shy of the Class 5A State Championship game and coach Joe Ryan said that these signings are a reflection of the program.
“I think that this is exciting for our program,” Ryan said. “We have a lot of good players but these two rose to the top and are receiving full rides to play at the next level. It just says a lot for their hard work.”
Niemann finished his senior season as a first-team all-state performer. The senior had 48 receptions for 1,050 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also started at safety and returned punts for the Spartans.
“He had a goal in mind that was to play at the next level, the highest level. Obviously, he is going to a BCS school and that is a pretty high level,” Ryan said. “But, everything that he is getting today, he has earned through hard work.”
Niemann will play outside linebacker at Iowa. The 6-3, 195 pound senior was thankful for this opportunity to be a Hawkeye.
“I would like to thank my parents, my coaches and everyone who supported me. I could not have done it without any of them or their support,” Niemann said.
As for Short, the 6-3, 288 pound lineman was a mainstay on the Spartan offensive line during his senior season.
“He was more of a late bloomer. He had to work his way into the football mentality,” Ryan said. “But, this year, he became an outstanding football player. He is a really, really good offensive lineman.”
Short wasn’t on many teams’ radar until his senior season, but he said that Northern Colorado was a place he was looking at all along.
“After I went there over the summer, it made it a lot easier. And after the second time I went there, I knew this is where I wanted to go,” Short said. “It feels pretty good. It is shocking that I have come this far. It is just something else. I am happy I made this choice.”
Dekalb’s Schrader signs with Arkansas: Kesey Schrader felt she had a connection with future teammates and coaches when she visited the University of Arkansas back in October.
Schrader, a four-time Daily Chronicle Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, signed with Arkansas on Wednesday and will compete in both cross country and as a distance runner for the Razorbacks’ track and field team.
“It was really nice. I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile,” Schrader said. “It was awesome to finally have the time to make it official and be able to honor all of my coaches and teammates for all the support that they’ve given me throughout the years.”
• Steve Nitz contributed to this report