Peppered amongst the blue and black jerseys of current players on the sideline of Saint Francis' annual spring game on Friday night were over a dozen young men in high school letter jackets.
Those men represented the future of the Cougars program while watching the present get their final workout of the spring.
Coach Kevin Donley and the Saint Francis program will welcome 40 incoming freshmen in the fall, with the most recent commitment list being released on Friday. Of those 40, half are from area high schools well known to fans in Northeast Indiana.
“It is exciting to check the team out and see what I have to look forward to,” said Snider senior Josh Spitnale, who will join the Cougars as a punter in the fall. “(Spring practice) is kind of the start of the next season in a way.”
The freshmen in attendance Friday received their summer workout information from the Saint Francis coaching staff, the next step in preparing for the next level.
“I just want to get quicker and keep getting stronger, because the guys in college are a lot bigger,” said South Side senior Cameron Shackelford, who is projected at defensive end for the Cougars. “I have high expectations for myself (as a freshman), but all I can promise is my best.”
As is the case with many Saint Francis recruiting classes, many of the players already know each other from facing off in middle school and high school as well as growing up together.
Spitnale is looking forward to being reunited with former Panthers teammate Akeim Kelsaw, projected to be a starting wide receiver for the Cougars.
“It is nice that you know a lot of the guys in your class already as well as some of the players already on the team,” Spitnale said. “But it is also nice to get to know some of the new guys.”