Spring is just around the corner. What's the first clue you say? Why it's National Signing Day, the first Wednesday in February, the first day high school seniors can sign a National Letter of Intent indicating their choice of college to attend in the fall.
But not before 7am or it's considered invalid.
And that's exactly what James Knapke did on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 7:36am.
He sprung to life as he sent his signed National Letter of Intent via fax to Bowling Green State University.
The coaches on the other end of the fax at Bowling Green, Kentucky, first checked to make sure everything was signed, then, they called the recruit and his coach and shared the good news. The BG coaches expected 14 letters that day.
During an interview at the Falcon athletic office, Warren Ruggiero, with a big smile on his face, talked about their Bowling Green prospect. He said, "James is already a Falcon at heart! ...his strong arm, active all-around athletic ability... He comes in as a quarterback and sees the entire field...that's what we are looking for!"
And later that afternoon, in front of fellow classmates, friends, teachers, coaches, family, television cameras and radio, James publicly announced his intent.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback, sporting not only a big grin but an orange and brown shirt with the insignia BOWLING GREEN on the front, implied he was anxious to start his college career and begin playing football for the Falcons.
During the news conference James could barely contain his excitement as he talked about why he chose Bowling Green State University. "I applied at Toledo, IU, Purdue and a few more schools, including Bowling Green. I prayed for a sign on which school to attend." He said that the sign he was looking for came to him when they were dining at a restaurant one evening. He looked up and above their heads was an actual flag that said Bowling Green. "That was the place for me," he said. "When I went to visit they had a beautiful campus."
Coached by Matt Lindsay at Bishop Luers High School, Knapke was a three-year starter and first QB in the state of Indiana to win three state championships. With the Knights he earned All-State honors as a senior and was a two-time MVP and first-team All-Conference member. Knapke owns the school and conference passing records with 5,983 passing yards and 76 touchdown passes.
Coach Lindsay remarked on watching the progress of his athletes develop and in the end signing with major college football programs, "It is always rewarding. It is an indication that the Division I football programs are aware of our program and the caliber of players and character of our young men attending Luers."
Knapke will join a Falcon football program under the direction of head coach Dave Clawson. Last year BG finished with a 5-7 record.
The football signing period runs through April 1. Spring begins March 20, 2012.