Feb. 1, 2012
Football signing day commentary
By David Boyce
On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, Northwest Missouri State football coach Adam Dorrel had just completed an hour bicycle ride around campus.
When Dorrel got off the bike after a sweat-producing workout, he leaned it against Lamkin Activity Center and broke into a big smile.
He was in such a relaxed mood that he didn’t chain his bike to anything as he headed to his office.
Coach, are you afraid somebody might steal your bike?
Dorrel just laughed at the thought.
You got to love life in tight-knit community.
Still, it would have been understandable if Dorrel felt some anxiety Tuesday. He was less than 24 hours away from receiving the signatures for his first recruiting class.
“You are a little nervous,” Dorrel acknowledged. “You think you know how it is going to go, but it makes you a little nervous.
“I feel like our staff did a great job. I think we have a really good class. It’s not only athletically talented, but it is a very good academic class.”
As it turned out, Dorrel’s first signing day as a head coach was perfect. He signed 26 players and they had no trouble sending the letter of intents to Northwest. The weather was spring-like.
A year ago, a blizzard struck the entire Midwest on signing day. It closed schools from Northwest to high schools in Kansas City and all points in between.
“I remember last year we had a kid from Lawson who was trying to find a UPS store so he could fax it,” Dorrel said. “It was crazy.”
Dorrel has been preparing for this moment the last couple of years.
Signing day is trickier at the NCAA Division II level. In Division I, schools not on probation have 85 full-ride scholarships to use. The number drops to 36 for Division II.
It means few players get full rides. The scholarships are broken up to fill out a roster.
“It is something I’ve had to learn a lot about,” Dorrel said. “The last couple of years when Mel Tjeerdsma was here, I sat down and talked to him a lot about it. I sat down with Scott Bostwick a few times last year. It is challenging. What really helps you is finding those good students who are getting academic money.”
Strong academics are one reason Dorrel is so excited about the incoming class.
“Twenty-two of the 26 kids we signed received some sort of academic scholarship. The average GPA of this group is 3.38,” Dorrel said.
Northwest signed a player for every position except punter.
One of the things Dorrel likes about signing day is seeing a player who came to Northwest football camp as a freshman and then watches him slowly grow and mature to a player Northwest wants in the fold.
“To see that kid grow every summer when they come to camp and then to evaluate them on film and you go he’s good enough to be a Bearcat,” Dorrel said. “You see that excitement in that kid’s eyes when you offer him a scholarship because this is where he wants to be. I know I’m going to be excited about that.”
For Northwest, Dorrel said, it is necessary to bring the right student-athletes in to mesh with the current players.
“It is very important, especially for us because we place so much emphasis on a family atmosphere here,” he said. “Our young kids learn from our older players. We have a great group of seniors coming back.
“It is important to get them here and learn the culture of Bearcat football and they learn from our older kids.”
Dorrel got the players he wanted. Don’t be surprised to see him with a big smile on his face when he’s bicycling around campus the next few days.
Dorrel has about a minute to relax and exercise before spring football starts up.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468