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College football recruiting has developed a reputation as an exercise in bedlam but, for some, it’s not all chaos.
Take the experiences of Eastview’s Division I football signees Joey Marinello and Sam Fluegge, who signed their National Letters of Intent Wednesday in an afternoon ceremony at the high school.
Marinello, a 6-6 offensive lineman and first-team Star Tribune All-Metro selection, committed to Montana State, calling it “the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen.’’ He acknowledged that his choice was less about the fulfillment of a lifelong dream than about playing to his strengths.
“Football was never really that big a thing to me until my sophomore year,” Marinello said. “That’s when I really noticed what football can help me accomplish.”
Befitting a scholar who scored 33 on his ACT, Marinello took a decisive stance, determined to avoid recruiting’s three-ring circus.
“I didn’t go to many camps or take all that many visits,” he said. “My mom and I decided on five or six schools that interested me and we looked at those. Recruiting wasn’t that hard.”
His high school coach, Kelly Sherwin, said that approach was indicative of Marinello’s cerebral approach.
“He’s such a smart kid,” Sherwin said. “He’s always been the biggest and strongest but, at some point, that’s not enough. Once he understood how important it was to add another component, he really improved.”
For most of Fluegge’s high school career, football took a back seat to soccer. A key member of three consecutive state tournament soccer teams, Fluegge moonlighted as a kicker on Friday nights.
But football offered a better future than soccer, so he gladly switched his athletic allegiance and signed with North Dakota, a Football Championship Subdivision program like Montana State.
“It’s about getting a better opportunity,” he said. “Most soccer teams have only 9.9 scholarships available. Football has 85.”
It didn’t hurt that North Dakota is recognized as a top-flight aviation school.
“I want to major in aviation, so that was big,” Fluegge said. “It’s tough giving up soccer, but this is a better choice for my future.”