Pirsig will wear maroon and gold in the fall of 2012
“I’m just glad it’s over,” says Blue Earth Area senior Jonah Pirsig.
By “it” he means his decision which college to attend and play football at.
Since last year, when he was a junior, 15 different big time colleges and universities have been calling and writing and talking to him.
That’s what happens when you are a 6-foot-9, 285 pound lineman in your sophomore and junior years in high school.
Out of the 15 different schools, 11 of them offered full ride scholarships.
Pirsig narrowed the list to six and went and visited all of them with his family last year.
Those six were Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. All of them are Big 10 schools.
Two weeks ago he narrowed the list to three.
Then on Saturday, July 30, the list was down to one.
The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
That Saturday, Pirsig and his family drove to the Twin Cities and walked out to the 50-yard line of TCF Bank Stadium, home of the Gophers.
“We were met at the center of the field with Gopher head coach Jerry Kill, offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and the president of the university, Eric Kaler,” Pirsig says.
Coach Kill told Pirsig that this was either going to be very good news or very bad news. After he heard Pirsig’s verbal commitment, he said it was definitely good news and gave Pirsig a big hug.
The BEA senior says as far as education goes, all of the universities seemed pretty much the same.
But, when his whole family visited the Minnesota campus in April for the spring football game, he could see that all of them, himself included, liked the U of M.
“It is everything that I want in a college, in a coaching staff and a football program,” Pirsig says. “I could see that there was not a need to go five hours away or more to find a good place to go – it feels like home right here.”
After he made his decision he told only his family and a few close friends and swore them all to secrecy.
“I have known one of the assistant recruiting coordinators at the U for a while and I told him,” Pirsig says. “He set up the meeting on the 50-yard-line but he didn’t tell the coaches – only the university president.”
The president ordered the coaches to the field and made it sound like it was going to be bad news.
“We walked out to the middle of the field, but my grandma and grandpa got to ride on a golf cart,” Pirsig says. “The two coaches looked pretty nervous.”
After he told Coach Kill he wanted to play ball in Minnesota, everyone – coaches and family alike – broke out into big smiles.
No photographs of the event were allowed, due to NCAA rules.
Pirsig will now formally sign a written letter of intent on the first Wednesday of February 2012, official NCAA signing day.
Until that happens, he still has his senior year of high school football to play here at BEA this fall.
“Now that this commitment deal is over, I can concentrate on this football season,” Pirsig says. “Last year I was going to a college football game somewhere every Saturday. We would get home sometimes at 11 p.m. on a Friday night (after a BEA away game) and I would leave at 5 or 6 a.m. the next day to go to a college game.”
Practice for this year’s Buccaneer football season starts on Aug. 15, a date that is coming up fast. The team will start with two practices a day.
“Our first game is Sept. 2 at USC,” Pirsig says. “We need to get ready.”
Despite losing a lot of starters to graduation last year, Pirsig thinks the Buccaneers will have a good shot at going a ways in the post season.
“We were moved down a class, to Class 2A,” he says. “But, there are some very tough teams challenging in this class.”
Besides Pirsig, fellow lineman Sam Lee is back, as is quarterback Brady Anderson and running back Carter Hanson.
“But, we will have a lot of new faces, like all of the defensive backfield and a couple of linebackers,” Pirsig says. “We will just have to help them step up and fill in.”
Pirsig has some other athletes in his family. His father, David, played football and basketball at Blue Earth and basketball at the University of Minnesota, Waseca.
His mother, Kristen played volleyball in high school at Blue Earth.
Jonah’s three sisters also participated in sports at Blue Earth Area.
Emilie suffered a broken ankle which slowed her participation, but Hayley was a three sport athlete for the Bucs.
The two are rooming together this year at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Jonah’s other sister, Whitney, is a junior at BEA this year and is also a three sport athlete.
None are 6-foot-9 and being recruited by the Gophers, however.
“I know it will be fun to go up there next year,” Pirsig says. “But right now I am just going to concentrate on my senior year here at BEA.”
Another decision made.