Somerset High School football players Bryan Witzmann and Darrin Emmeck signed college football scholarships last Wednesday as part of the NCAA letter of intent signing day.
Witzmann has signed to play football at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D.
Emmeck signed to play football at Minnesota State University-Moorhead in Moorhead, Minn.
The SHS duo will be spending a great deal of time working on their football skills, because they will be seeing plenty of football action before their college careers begin.
2009 Global Bowl
Emmeck and Witzmann will be members of Team Stars & Stripes for the 2009 Global Challenge Bowl. They will travel to Kawasaki, Japan to play a Japanese junior national team in the second annual Global Challenge Bowl on March 21, 2009. Santa Rita High School's (Tucson, Ariz.) Jeff Scurran will be head coach for Team Stars & Stripes for the second straight year.
This is the second straight year Somerset will be represented in the Global Challenge Bowl. Burt Geurkink and Tony Martin represented Somerset in the game in 2008.
Players are selected on their ability to represent the United States well.
"We need high school seniors with solid academic backgrounds and a high moral character," Scurran said. "We are looking to recruit students who will be ambassadors for our sport, and who love playing the game known overseas as American Football."
Emmeck and Witzmann are looking forward to the experience. They are both excited to find out about the Japanese culture. For Emmeck, it will be his first opportunity to fly and he said he was looking forward to seeing an ocean for the first time.
The team will fly out of Los Angeles on March 13. They will spend a week in Japan, staying with host families. They will fly back to Los Angeles on March 23.
More information on the trip can be found at www.globalfootball.com.
Emmeck and Witzmann will get another chance to be teammates this summer.
They were selected to play on the Division 4-7 North team for the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association State All-Star Games. The games will be played on Saturday, July 18 at Titan Stadium at UW-Oshkosh.
Witzmann had several scholarship offers, including one Division 1 program that made a late push to sign him. He said he was impressed with the SDSU coaching staff and the fact that it was a competitive program.
SDSU is an NCAA Division 1AA program and competes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Jackrabbits are coming off a 7-4 season.
Witzmann's scholarship offer was helped by his strong academics. In his first year he will pay $700 with the rest of his tuition covered under his scholarship. In his second year it will become a full-ride scholarship. Because of his classroom work, 35 percent of his scholarship package will be academic, with the other 65 percent being from the athletic department.
Witzmann said he will likely redshirt his first season at SDSU. He is slated to play as an offensive tackle.
Emmeck is scheduled to play an interior defensive line position. He has been told there is a chance he will be able to work into the playing rotation as a freshman. MSUM is coming off a 2-9 season and competes in the Northern Sun Conference.
Emmeck will receive a 25 percent scholarship in his first year, with the opportunity for the scholarship to grow in future seasons.
High school work
Both seniors said their success was partly due to the coaching they received in high school and the facilities at SHS. Witzmann now stands at 6 feet, 8 inches and 255 pounds. He gained 40 pounds in the past two years. He said his college coaches would like to see him grow to 285 pounds.
Emmeck added 40 pounds in the past year, going from 215 to 255 pounds. Emmeck stands at 6 feet, 1 inches.
Somerset coach Bruce Larson said Emmeck and Witzmann earned this opportunity with their work on the football field, in the weight room and in the classroom.