Fairbanks’ Sam Rengert (66) looks to block an opponent during last year’s state playoff game at Beverly Fort Frye. Carrying the ball is Mason Cushman (6). Rengert will go into his senior season with the Panthers having already committed to play on the collegiate level at Iowa State University.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
There will be a cyclone rampaging on the Fairbanks High School football field this fall.
Panther Nation, however, shouldn’t worry about taking cover.
It’s not a weather problem that will be striking Kyre Field.
It will be senior lineman Sam Rengert, who has committed to become an Iowa State Cyclone.
Rengert spoke with the Journal-Tribune Monday afternoon about his decision.
“Iowa State first contacted me in the spring of 2018 (after his sophomore season),” he said. “That’s when they first offered me (a scholarship).”
Cyclone coaches liked what they saw from Rengert when he attended a camp at The Ohio State University.
They also kept tabs on him through sessions at Purdue, West Virginia and their own facility.
“I also went to Iowa State’s camp in 2018,” said Rengert,
Iowa State, which is a member of the Big 12, isn’t the only Division I school that coveted the 6-7, 300-pound offensive lineman.
Other D-I suitors included Cincinnati, West Virginia, Toledo, Akron, Buffalo, Virginia, Purdue, Pitt, Rutgers, Bowling Green State University and UMass.
“I’ve made four trips to Iowa State and I really like the culture,” said Rengert. “I like Coach (head coach Mike) Campbell and I have a good relationship with Coach (offensive line boss Jeff) Myers.”
Cyclone defensive coordinator Jon Heacock, a Buckeye state native, handled the school’s recruiting for the Central Ohio area.
“I really think Iowa State is going to be a good fit for me,” said Rengert.
Although Rengert, who will study kinesiology (muscle movement), has played the line on both sides of the ball for the Panthers, Iowa State coaches have indicated he will play offensive tackle.
“There is a slight possibility I could play inside (at guard),” he said. “However, they haven’t talked anything about me playing defense.”
There is also a chance that Rengert, who would one day like to become a physician’s assistant, will redshirt during his freshman season of 2020.
The All-Ohio, Central District and Ohio Heritage Conference lineman said he’s OK with that.
“I assume I will redshirt,” he said. “That will give me the opportunity to get myself up to the speed of the college game … that’s going to be the biggest change for me. The college game is so much faster than high school.
“I also feel the need to build up,” said Rengert. “I imagine they will put some weight on me.”
The Cyclones will be adding a lineman who already has some impressive weight-lifting stats on his resume.
“I’m benching 315 (pounds), dead-lifting 545 and squatting 525,” he said.
While Rengert will study for a career in the medical field, additional football at another level is also in the back of his mind.
“I would love to play in the NFL some day,” he said.
Rengert was deluged with phone calls and social media contact throughout the recruiting process.
Fairbanks head coach Patrick Cotter said he’s impressed with how Rengert handled the pressure of the situation.
“He embraced something that 95% of high school athletes don’t get to experience,” said Cotter. “Sam handled the recruiting process well and it was fun to watch him grow during that time.
“Sam is a very hard worker, grading out at 89% blocking,” said the coach. “However, as good of a football player as he is, he’s a better guy.”
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