Eau Claire, Rice Lake, Menomonie, Somerset (WQOW) -- A number of area high school football players sign their college letters of intent, Wednesday, including four who are headed to Division I programs.
Eau Claire North had its best season in a while. Two Huskies sign Division II letters of intent: Ben Lawrence is going to Concordia University in St. Paul, while Anthony Miloszewicz is headed to Winona State.
"The coaches were all really helpful," says Miloszewicz, "they helped me through everything. When I went on my visits there, I actually felt like I was part of the family already. It's a really big family school there."
"Because it's a private school, it has a smaller number of students and I really liked that," says Lawrence about Concordia, "I want to get a good education. Their coaches were really welcoming to me when I went there on my official visit and all the players were awesome. I wanted to be a Golden Bear."
Rice Lake has its first Division I football signing since the 1980's, as linebacker Austin Roberts makes it official that he's headed to the University of Illinois.
"It really is the full package for me," Roberts says, "they have the academics that I'm look for, the coaching staff really pushes the guys hard in the classroom. But also, they have the Big Ten football that I wanted, they have all the pomp and circumstance. Overall, it's just an outstanding university."
Two Warriors teammates are headed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Quarterback Shawn Magee will join the Bulldogs program as a preferred walk-on, while lineman Trapper Ward will be on scholarship.
"You know, looking at all the schools, I thought the biggest thing was academics," says Ward, " academically I want to go into pre-dental, and I thought that was going to be my best fit. And also, the distance. It's a nice two hour drive up [Highway] 53."
Magee says, "When I want on my visit there, I just really enjoyed talking to my coaches. They have a great program up there, great facilities, very good school. So those are some of the things I liked about UMD."
The Menomonie Mustangs program will send five players to the next level. Linebacker Dylan Harmston and receiver Luke Stanley will both be heading to Division I FCS school North Dakota.
'I like the fit and all the coaching staff," says Harmston, "the way they coach is the way Menomonie coaches. It's a nice fit for the next four or five years of my life. They paid attention to me the most. They cared about my needs, my wants and my next five years."
"I really loved the coaching staff out there, they have great facilities and meeting the team was a huge part of it," says Stanley, "but probably the biggest thing was the academic side. I'm going into mechanical engineering and they have a great program out there and North Dakota just seemed like the best fit for me."
Three more Mustangs will be playing at the Division II level. A.J. Naatz and Marcus Smith are headed to Minnesota-Duluth, while Jared Baldwin signs with Winona State.
"The family atmosphere that I get there is where I want to be for the next five years," says Naatz, "It's a great community and a great atmosphere for football."
"It's kind of a small town atmosphere just like Menomonie," says Baldwin about Winona, "the campus is real close. Great team atmosphere there. As soon as I got there I knew it was the place for me.'
Two-time all-state selection Gaelin Elmore is off to the University of Minnesota. Elmore gave his verbal commitment to Gophers head coach Jerry Kill this summer, but says its great to make it official.
"Finally the end of a long, grueling process," Elmore says, "it's been almost a year since Minnesota has been recruiting me, so it's good to be done with it and finally be part of the family. "
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