Connor Conzelman heard the sales pitch during his sophomore year at Jacobs.
Golden Eagles football coach Bill Mitz would see Conzelman, whose athletic reputation preceded him, and urge him to come out for football.
Conzelman already had varsity letters in basketball and baseball, and had played football through eighth grade with the Crystal Lake Raiders, then the Algonquin Falcons (now the Junior Eagles).
Since Conzelman had numerous friends on the team, he picked football over basketball for his junior year. And it is football he will continue to play in college. Conzelman (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) committed to Valparaiso, a Football Championship Subdivision team that plays in the Pioneer Football League.
“I realized I wouldn’t go as far in basketball as I could in football, so I spent last winter lifting and working out,” said Conzelman, who was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention selection at linebacker. The Crusaders are looking at him as a linebacker, but also may play him as lead fullback in a blocking role, something he did at Jacobs.
Conzelman was an All-Fox Valley Conference Valley Division selection, was named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 7A All-State Academic team and was chosen as Jacobs’ Defensive Player of the Year.
The PFL is a conference of NCAA Division I schools that does not award athletic scholarships. Conzelman, who scored 29 on the ACT and has a 3.85 GPA, will receive substantial academic scholarship money. He considered D-III Hamilton (N.Y.) College and D-III Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute, Ind. Conzelman plans on majoring in engineering at Valpo.
“When I went [to Valpo] it just felt like college,” Conzelman said. “I liked Hamilton, but it was 15 hours away and it’s just too far. There are former Jacobs players, Dale Cook and Sean Cook, at Valpo, so I knew a lot about it.”
Conzelman will finish his high school career with seven varsity letters: two in football, two in basketball and three in baseball.
“There were some schools talking to me about baseball,” Conzelman said. “Valpo was the best fit for me, they have a good engineering program.”