As a senior in high school, I knew that I wanted to play football in college, and with my grades I narrowed the search down significantly to some great academic institutions where I would have the chance to play football. When I came to Chicago, it just felt right, like a place I could spend the next four years.
I think the campus was one of the biggest attractions, but so was the camaraderie that I felt amongst the team and other student-athletes, something that was not the case at other universities. Basically, when I started my first year here, I had built a set of friends, as we spent the entire first month together in preseason before any of the other students came. That really helped my transition from high school to college. Plus, having 64 teammates helped me in my first year adjust to the academics at Chicago, and I picked up a lot of pointers from guys on how to survive here while playing a sport.
I don't think the fan support is as good as it could be, but I have seen a significant increase in support over the last four years, which is encouraging. But it is tough when you play in a city like Chicago, which has so many other attractions for people to attend. Still, the strides that the teams have been making in garnering fans and the reception from students lately have been great, and I think with teams' continued successes, things could get even better.
I think that my most memorable moment on the team came in my first year, when we were playing Washington University for the UAA championship. They had the ball at our one-yard line on second down with less than a minute left, and they were down by three points. Our defense stuffed them three straight times, and we won the game and the championship. I have almost never seen that happen in any game, and for it to happen in a championship game was amazing.
I really don't know if I can think of any changes that the department should make in the next five years, as I have usually been satisfied with its performance. With the Ratner Center, our facilities are top notch. I think the department should continue trying to gain more fan support and trying to attract great athletes who want to go to a great university.
By establishing a recruiting base across the country, kids like me that want to get away from home would be attracted to the chance to play football for the University of Chicago because of the team, the university, and the city. Our programs have been improving as has our fan support, and it's making our school a better place to be.