Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm / Updated at 1:52 am
High SchoolS
Snow day spoils schools' signing-day plans

A snow day Wednesday caused national letter of intent signing ceremonies to be canceled at schools in the Omaha area and elsewhere in Nebraska.

“It’s disappointing,’’ said Ross Drwal of Millard West, who is a Yale wide receiver recruit. “Signing day is something to look forward to because it’s a good time to celebrate with your family, friends and coaches.

“I guess it’s a small consolation that we get a snow day.”

It was the second time in four years that signing day was affected in Nebraska by snow.

Drwal’s teammate Harrison Phillips was in much warmer conditions. The two-time All-Nebraska lineman formally accepted his Stanford scholarship in a group signing in Arlington, Texas, where he’s playing Friday night in the International Bowl high school all-star game.

Some schools were planning to stage mock signing ceremonies when classes resume, likely on Thursday. Colleges, however, want their recruits to sign and return the national letters of intent as soon as possible.

Drwal was heading to school late Wednesday morning, where football coach Kirk Peterson was to meet signees at the fax machine. Peterson said the school’s 18 signees, in all sports, were the most at one time he could remember.

Many athletes already had committed to colleges prior to Wednesday. A notable exception was Cozad All-Nebraska running back Jake Paulsen, who waited until signing day to announce he would go to Nebraska for track and field after getting offers in track and football.

Paulsen is one of the state’s top sprinters — hamstring injuries slowed him last season — who also high jumps. He ran for more than 2,500 yards as the Haymakers were state champions for the first time since 1991.

Omaha Burke had nine football signings, a large group for the Bulldogs, coach Paul Limongi said. Among them was wide receiver Trey Carr, who’s joining running back Isaac Wallace of Ralston as All-Nebraska players heading to FCS South Dakota State.

Omaha Westside kicker Christian Hagan, who signed with Northern Illinois, is the only player from the Metro Conference heading for an FBS school. Mick Stoltenberg of Gretna signed his letter of intent to Nebraska on Wednesday.

In other sports, Omaha Skutt’s Natalie Johnson signed with UNO girls soccer, the seventh straight year the SkyHawks have sent a player to a Division I school.

Drwal, who played quarterback and wide receiver in Millard West’s offense, was a three-year regular who was team captain as a junior and senior. He made the All-Nebraska team as a senior at wide receiver.

He said Yale fulfills his dream to attend an Ivy League school. “When I had the opportunity to go, I jumped on it.”

He first committed to Harvard, but “they pressured me into a decision early.”

Drwal, who has a 29 on the ACT, took official visits to Yale, then Harvard.

“I loved everything about Yale. I love the coaching staff and love the players. It felt more like a family to me than a business,” he said. “Ivy League is still high-level football and the education I’m getting will open up a lot of opportunities in the business world.”

He also had offers from Army, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Illinois State and Lehigh.

Yale wants Drwal to play wide receiver, so he said he’s been training for the position and will continue working hard because there’s an opportunity to play this fall.

He runs on the Wildcats’ 1,600-meter relay team that won the all-class gold the past two years at the state track meet and broke the 28-year-old state record in the event last year.

He has two older brothers who played college sports and a younger brother, Joey, who has Down syndrome.

“It’s going to be hard for my mom, being so far away, but the family is excited for me,’’ Ross said.

Contact the writer: Stu Pospisil

stu.pospisil@owh.com    |   402-444-1041    |  

Stu Pospisil has been The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports since 1990 and for golf since 1988. He primarily covers football in the fall, basketball and wrestling in the winter and track and field in the spring.

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