October 25, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
49°F

Jack Snowball will play football for D-I Miami (Ohio)

WADSWORTH — Wake-up calls at 8 a.m. Sunday are usually met with a groan and a phone slamming down.

But when it’s a Division I college football program offering a full scholarship, exceptions can be made.

Gazette football MVP Jack Snowball has made a verbal commitment to play for Miami (Ohio). (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

That was the case for Wadsworth’s Jack Snowball when Miami (Ohio) gave him a ring and wanted the senior to be the RedHawks’ running back of the future.

“To be honest, I was pretty tired,” the 2011 Gazette MVP said Monday. “It had been a long weekend up to that point, but I love all the coaches there.

“I got the call (and) it was kind of a surreal feeling for me to just know it happened and it was over. To be honest, it hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t think it will for a little bit — until the summer comes around and we have to start summer workouts.”

In giving his verbal commitment — he is expected to sign his letter of intent Wednesday — Snowball joins Medina’s Mason Schreck (Buffalo) and Ben Cunningham (Akron) when it comes to getting a D-I football scholarship.

For the 6-foot, 211-pound senior, it came down to Mount Union, Walsh College, Ashland University and Wayne State.

But it was more than just the fact Miami is a big-school program. Family history — his mother graduated from the university — as well as proximity and academics played a part.

“It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders just knowing where I’m going to school next year,” said Snowball, who plans to major in business management. “I went down there and fell in love with the campus.

“Academics are obviously real, real good down there. It was just a good fit for me. They’re an I-formation team and I think it gave me the best chance to succeed. To be honest, I wanted it to be a good fit.

“I don’t really look at the Division I, Division II thing. Football is football, and I’ve said that before. They had an issue with running the ball last year and I wanted to come and see if I could affect them in a positive way.”

After missing almost all of his junior year because of injury, Snowball returned with fervor, setting single-season county records for rushing yards (2,596), touchdowns (32) and points (194).

But the most unbelievable stat might be that he carried the ball 353 times last season and never fumbled.

As a senior, Snowball had 291 yards and six touchdowns against Highland, 284 yards and four scores against Wooster, 261 yards and two TDs against Copley and 255 yards and three scores vs. Nordonia.

By contrast, Miami (4-8 overall, 3-5 in the Mid-American Conference) averaged 73.8 yards and 1.3 rushing touchdowns per game in 2011.

Named the Associated Press D-I co-Offensive Player of the Year along with Mentor quarterback Mitch Trubisky, Snowball should be able to help.

He rushed for 139 yards or more in 12 of the 13 games the Grizzlies (11-2) played and helped the team reach the Division I, Region 2 championship.

“It’s a weird feeling,” Snowball said of his commitment. “When people ask, I know where I’m going now, so I can tell them. It’s going to be fun to just concentrate on my senior year now, finish out the academic year strong, and try to make a run in the basketball playoffs.

“It’ll be a good feeling to have my family here (on signing day) and get to enjoy that moment with them. All the hard work is kind of paying off now.”

Contact Brad Bournival at sports@medina-gazette.com.