BEA’s giants of the gridiron sign
The simple act of two signatures Feb. 1 greatly impacted the amount of mail handled by the Blue Earth Post Office.
Prized offensive tackles Jonah Pirsig and Sam Lee signed letters of intent on national signing day in front of family, classmates and school faculty.
Lee is relieved to sign with Augustana and Pirsig is happy to make his commitment with the University of Minnesota official. But both of their respective mail carriers might be the most thrilled with the completion of the recruiting blitz.
“I have enough letters from schools to fill a couple filing cabinets,” Pirsig says. “It’s hard to put an exact number on it.”
Lee found himself in a similar situation receiving countless letters from a number of schools across the nation before finally deciding to play where his two older brothers attend school. His oldest brother, Jake, is a defensive lineman and his other brother, Nick, plays tight end for the Vikings.
“As the years go on, I think there is a pretty good chance we will all be out on the field playing,” Lee says. “Not very often do you have three brothers playing together at the college level.”
The new recruit says just being able to play for Augustana is a great opportunity and he is looking forward to becoming the best player the coaches can build him into.
Luring Pirsig to the Gophers was the opportunity of a challenge.
“Being a part of the Gopher football team, we will have a chance to build the program and turn the history around,” Pirsig says. “We will have the whole community and state behind us.”
New Gopher head coach Jerry Kill’s ability to recruit in-state talent has been well documented. Ten of the top 12 recruits in the state of Minnesota will wear maroon and gold next fall, giving fans an optimistic outlook on this year’s recruiting class. Pirsig himself is excited, but he is also focused on his future after football
“It is a good fit academically, “he says.
Both Lee and Pirsig intend to take on difficult work loads in the classroom while balancing athletics. Lee plans on majoring in exercise science or pre-medicine while Pirsig is eyeing kinesiology or physics.
Before the two recruits open their first book next fall, however, they intend on enjoying their senior years of high school.
“I am going to relax a while now,” Lee says. “I want to make the most out of my senior year and have fun.”
It’s not all fun and games though. Lee is staying in shape by playing basketball and lifting weights and Pirsig is working out two times a week with a personal trainer in Fairmont and lifting three days on top of that.
Both Lee and Pirsig hope their dedication to lifting and working out will prepare them for the fanfare that is college football.
“A few recruiting trips have given me the idea of what it’s like to run out of the tunnel on game day,” Pirsig says. “We also got a taste of the atmosphere when we played Luverne at Southwest Minnesota State. That was probably my favorite game of the year.”
Now that the recruiting phase is over, both players can reflect back on the entire process.
“It has been fun,” Lee says. “Coming to a decision though was extremely stressful.”
For Pirsig he has attempted to soak in the decision on where to play football at the next level.
“I have tried to take advantage of it all,” he says. “It was fun to go see all the colleges.”
In their senior seasons, Pirsig and Lee played tremendously despite the pressure of performing for scouts and recruiters. They powered a line that racked up 4,655 yards of total offense and the team finished with a 10-2 record, ending their run in the state quarterfinals. Both were named to all-state teams by various sources.
Now that the season and recruiting process is over, one question still remains. What are Lee and Pirsig going to do with all of the letters?
“I am probably going to keep them all so I can prove to my grandkids and kids that I played college football,” Pirsig says.
At heights of 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-5 and both of them tipping the scales at 300 pounds that shouldn’t be a problem for either Lee or Pirsig.