LIMA — The most recent round of snow gave National Signing Day a slight jolt, but it couldn’t spoil the day.
Signing day went on as planned, but maybe a little earlier and with a little less hoopla than usual.
With schools closed, many of the signees got their paperwork done very close to 8 a.m.
Lima Central Catholic’s Mykale Rogers and Darius West signed at close to 8 on Wednesday morning, instead of at an afternoon gathering at the school.
The same thing happened with Elida’s Chance Weitz, who signed just past dawn with Bowling Green State University.
Rogers signed with Toledo, while West signed with Kentucky.
“I woke this morning feeling really good and put on ESPN and starting watching the signing day,” West said. “I changed over to the Kentucky press conference. Then Ron (LCC athletic director Williams) came and got me and we signed and faxed it in and the coaches let me know they got it. It was a good feeling to finally be official.”
Added Rogers, “I didn’t get much sleep last night. I was up about six o’clock moving around just thinking, ‘Wow, this is really over, and I get to share this with all my family.’ It’s a great day so far. (Once I faxed in the papers), it was, ‘Whew,’ I could let it all out. It was crazy.
“Even though the last couple of weeks leading up to this day there are other coaches you haven’t heard from in months, but they are still trying to get you to come to there school. In the end, my mind was set a long time ago. I’m just glad it’s over.”
Weitz said he got up at 6:30 a.m. and immediately woke his mom up for the official signing.
“Once we got moving, we signed the papers at 7:01,” he said. “I called coach (Elida’s Jason Carpenter), and he swung over and picked up the papers and faxed them in. They got it about 8. I got a call from BG. and they were glad they got it. I was the 14th guy they signed today.
“It was relief. Now I’m officially a Falcon.”
Rogers, a state long jump champion, had 41 receptions for 751 yards and six TDs for LCC as a wingback/wide receiver this past season.
“They plan to use me as an outside receiver, and I’ll be the deep threat,” Rogers said.
Toledo doesn’t have men’s track, but Rogers said his leaping days aren’t over.
“I plan on doing training for the Olympics,” he said.
West missed all but two games this past season for the T-Birds when he suffered a broken leg working out in June at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field.
“I was guarding Kyle (Miller), and I jumped up and came down (and broke it),” West said.
West didn’t play until the Spencerville game in Week 6. He missed Week 7, then returned for the Bluffton game in Week 8. But the leg never responded.
“It just kept swelling up after those games,” West said.
Then, just a few weeks ago, he broke the same right leg.
“I was doing workouts with box jumps and it snapped,” he said.
West went in for surgery last week and had a rod and two screws inserted into the leg. That was different than the first break, when he had no surgery and a cast placed on it.
“It’s going to make the leg a lot stronger,” West said. “I get my staples out on Friday and we’ll go from there. The timetable is three-to-four months. I’m looking to be there for summer camp in June.”
Once healthy, West aims to return to his previous speed of 4.36 seconds in the 40, which he registered at the Ohio State camp.
“I’m probably be a safety,” West said. “I love covering and will be covering a lot of slot receivers, but I really like safety.”
Rogers’ speed isn’t far behind, as he was timed at 4.4 seconds at Ohio State.
Rogers was philosophical about his move to the next level.
“Life’s all about chapters,” Rogers said. “This chapter is coming to an end, and it was fun and I had a great time. I still have a half a semester left. I want to finish strong and be on my way.”
Weitz to Bowling Green State
The 6-3, 265-pound Weitz used his quickness at both defensive tackle and end the last few years for the Bulldogs. His senior year he had 53 tackles, seven sacks and 17 tackles for loss. He was first team all-Western Buckeye League and first team all-district. Weitz was special mention all-state.
Weitz had his college choices down to Western Michigan and Bowling Green State University.
“It (BG) was a warm welcome to me, and it wasn’t far from my hometown,” Weitz said. “They had (LCC grad) Taylor Royster and (Delphos St. John’s grad) Chris Pohlman go there, so I felt like I was home.”
Weitz said he could play end or tackle with the Falcons.
Carpenter remembers Weitz for his work ethic and being a key member of a few playoff teams.
“He was one our stronger kids and worked extremely hard coming off two surgeries and rehabbed both of those on his knee and shoulder,” Carpenter said. “That’s a testament to his work ethic and be able to come back from those injuries and still be a Division I football player. He was key in our regional victory and was one reason why we made it to the state semis his sophomore year and got us back to the playoffs his junior year.
“We moved him around this year to get some one-on-ones (blocks). And if it’s one-on-one, he’s going to win it every time. It was obvious that teams wanted to run the other way because of his presence.”
Furbush to Michigan
Shortly after 8 a.m., Kenton defensive end Noah Furbush signed with Michigan.
The 6-4, 240-pound Furbush suffered a broken left wrist in the preseason and played his entire senior year wearing a cast. It didn’t slow him down, as he finished the regular season with 93 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
He was the Western Buckeye League’s defensive player of the year, and the Division IV district and state defensive player of the year. He was first team all-state and The Lima News’ defensive player of the year.
Bertke to Pittsburgh
Marion Local quarterback Adam Bertke signed with Pittsburgh. The 6-6 Bertke used both his arm and his legs to lead the Flyers to three state championships, his sophomore through senior years.
His senior year he returned from a broken bone in his right hand to throw for 746 yards and eight TDs during the regular season. He also ran for 250 yards.
In this year’s 33-0 Division VII state championship victory over Trimble, Bertke threw for 218 yards and one TD. He ran for 47 yards on 12 carries with two TDs.
Little to Cincinnati
Bluffton defensive lineman Isaac Little announced he was going to Cincinnati as a preferred walk-on. He had 41 tackles and three sacks this year.
Earlier in the year he had given a verbal commitment to Miami.
Wolf at Tennessee
Minster tight end Ethan Wolf enrolled early and is currently going to Tennessee, where he will play football.
The 6-5, 240-pound Wolf had 41 receptions for 475 yards and five TDs this year.
Shawnee’s Rollins, Roberts sign; Brown commits to ONU
Shawnee wide receiver/defensive back Cody Rollins signed with Tiffin to play football.
Shawnee’s Asher Roberts signed to run track at Oral Roberts.
Shawnee defensive lineman Williams Brown announced he will play football at Ohio Northern.
Slusher signs with Tiffin
Elida’s Cassidy Slusher signed to play soccer at Tiffin. She was first team all-WBL, first team all-district and second team all-state.
Ada defensive back/quarterback Matt Wilcox and Delphos Jefferson running Zavier Buzard both signed with Ashland.
As a quarterback, Wilcox threw for 2,145 yards and 28 TDs. Buzard ran for 1,688 yards and 30 TDs.
The University of Findlay signed three players from the area, Ottawa-Glandorf linebacker Cody Alt, Pandora-Gilboa wide receiver Alex Osborn and Pandora-Gilboa defensive end Jared Tousley.
Coldwater signings to come
Coldwater’s Christina Seas and Kelsey Rammel both had their signings postponed because of the weather. Both are now scheduled to sign next Tuesday.
Seas will sign for track at the University of Montana.
Rammel will sign for volleyball at Columbus State.