Opportunity knocks for GarCo players
None of the guys from Garfield County who are moving on to play college football feel entitled in any way.
Quite the opposite, actually. In all, on Wednesday’s National Signing Day, they were just happy for the opportunity.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’ll play wherever they put me,” said Glenwood Springs High School senior Cole Adams, one of four Glenwood students who have committed to play college football next year.
Adams will join Henry Hill at Carroll College in Helena, Mont., a national power in the NAIA ranks where former Glenwood quarterback Dakota Stonehouse played. Playing a little closer to home will be Justin Barham, who signed to play football at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz. And even closer still will be Garrett Lowe, who will receive a scholarship from Division II Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
They’re not the only ones, either. Roaring Fork High School senior Mitch Brown has signed to play football at Western State in Gunnison.
Other athletes in the county at schools such as Glenwood, Grand Valley and Rifle have explored the possibility of playing college football, but those five players were the only ones who had made it official as of Wednesday.
Adams and Hill, who readily admitted that they’ve played football together since third grade, had no hesitation about going to Carroll. The Saints won NAIA national championships in 2011 and 2012, and the school’s curriculum matched up with what they wanted, as well.
The pair did plenty to sell themselves, too. Adams (6-foot-1, 170 pounds), who expects to play in the defensive backfield, caught a team-high 24 passes and finished with 52 tackles as a DB for the Demons. Hill shared the Class 3A Western Slope League’s honor as the Running Back of the Year after tallying 1,691 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.
“What really made a difference was that they need a running back, and they really wanted me,” Hill said. “That’s just awesome.”
Barham, who also played wide receiver and defensive back for Glenwood, simply signed his commitment papers on Wednesday. Scholarship money won’t come until after his freshman year, though.
The 6-2 Barham finished with 18 receptions as a wideout, and his 87 tackles was second on the Demons’ squad to Lowe’s 107. He also expects to play in the defensive backfield, and he didn’t hesitate to pursue football despite also having a decorated wrestling career.
“My heart is in football,” Barham said. “I love wrestling, but football is what I’ve loved since I was little. I’ve wrestled since I was little, too, but football is more enjoyable to me.”
Lowe was also courted by Adams State and Western State, but he was already familiar with Mesa’s campus and its coaches. The 5-11, 215-pound Lowe had a chance to get to know some of the Mavericks’ players during an on-campus camp in the summer, and he said it’ll be a smooth transition into the Mavericks’ defensive scheme.
“Being a D-II school, they might not have the biggest guys, but their smaller guys are very skilled,” Lowe said. “That’s exactly where I’m at.”
Brown, who brought home accolades when the 3A WSL’s all-league team was selected, stands at 6-9, 330 pounds. Roaring Fork coach Tory Jensen called Brown a “diamond in the rough,” adding that there’s a lot of potential for him once he solidifies his footwork on the offensive line and gets in the weight room for the summer.
And Brown didn’t hesitate to agree with that.
“As soon as wrestling is over, I’ve got to get in the weight room and start getting serious about this,” said Brown, who wrestles for Glenwood since Roaring Fork doesn’t have a wrestling team. “I have to definitely get on top of this and focus on getting bigger, faster and stronger.”
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