FORT LORAMIE — Sam Puthoff had dreamed about playing college football since he went into high school four years ago, but he hadn’t necessarily dreamed about making Fort Loramie history.
After Friday, Puthoff realized his dream and made school history in the process.
Puthoff signed a national letter of intent to play football for Ashland University in a ceremony at the high school. Puthoff is the first player in Fort Loramie football’s 13-year history to receive an athletic scholarship for the sport.
“This is awesome for him,” Fort Loramie athletic director Damon Smith said. “His entire college career has been paid for because of athletics and all because of the dedication and the hard work that he has put in.
“… He’s put Fort Loramie football on the map from the standpoint that (our players) can get to that level.”
Ashland is a Division II program. The school is in Ashland, Ohio, which is near Mansfield. Puthoff is a part of a 45-member recruiting class for the school.
Puthoff (6-foot-4, 265 pounds) was the Cross County Conference’s lineman of the year last season and was named third team all-Ohio and first-team all-Southwest District. He will play offensive tackle for the Eagles, which were 11-2 last year and made the NCAA Div. II playoffs.
“The coaches and the school itself is great,” Puthoff said. “I knew soon after going there that I wanted to play there. …The coaches are awesome. I can relate to them. It’s like a family.”
Several other Fort Loramie players have played in college in Division III; no athletic scholarships are awarded at that level. It’s rare for players to have all expenses covered in Division III by academic scholarships or other methods.
Puthoff’s parents won’t have to worry about signing any checks to Ashland, though. Puthoff’s athletic scholarship takes care of tuition, and grants from the school will cover room, board and other expenses.
Puthoff credited former Fort Loramie coach Whit Parks for helping in the recruiting process. He also said former offensive line coach Chris Seaver helped him improve immensely during his first three years at the school.
“These last four years went by faster than I thought it would,” Puthoff said. “I learned a lot along the way. The coaches were great, and I’m excited to play four of five more years at Ashland. … I learned a lot from (Seaver) and I think I’ll learn a lot more once I get to Ashland.”
The Redskins went 5-5 in 2016 but finished 8-3 overall last season and made the playoffs. Puthoff said he’s proud he had a hand in last season’s improvement and is happy with the legacy his class is leaving behind. The Redskins also made the playoffs in 2014 and 2015.
“I think we did good,” Puthoff said. “With Coach Parks gone now, it will be interesting to see how it goes with a new coach.”
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.