By David Fong
TROY — Joah Schricker won’t just be carrying his dreams with him when he leaves for college this fall.
He’ll be bringing the dreams of his family with him.
“My goal has always been to play college football,” the Troy senior defensive end said. “I want to be the first one of my siblings to go to a real college.”
Schricker will get the chance to do just that, as last week he signed a letter of intent to attend school and play football at Marietta College.
“I loved how the campus felt,” Schricker said. “I loved the atmosphere. It’s right next to the Ohio River. I thought the coaches were all really nice.”
“Really nice” is the exact opposite of what Schricker has been to opposing offenses the past two falls as he earned All-Ohio, All-Greater Western Ohio Conference and All-Southwest District honors both as a junior and senior.
His junior season, Schricker finished with 78 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and 17 passes deflected, earning third-team All-Ohio honors. As a senior, he had 80 tackles, four sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 19 quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and two recovered fumbles. His forced fumble was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown against Sidney, while one of his fumble recoveries he scooped up and ran in for a touchdown against Piqua. He was named second-team All-Ohio after the season.
“Joah’s biggest asset is his motor,” Troy football coach Matt Burgbacher said of the 6-foot-1, 206-pound Schricker. “For two years, he went up against guys who were a lot taller and weighed a lot more than him — but he was able to utilize his motor and his quickness to his advantage. Plus, he’s tough as nails. He was hurt and injured a lot, but he was never out. He played through a lot of bumps and bruises.
“Marietta emphasized to me that the still want him to play on the defensive line as an edge rusher. They want him to utilize his speed and quickness off the edge. He doesn’t have to get a whole lot bigger, but he will have to get stronger and faster — he’s going to be playing against 22 year old men now.”
Schricker said Marietta is hoping he brings that same speed he used so well at Troy to Southeast Ohio.
“They told me they want me to keep my speed off the line,” he said. “My strength is getting to the quarterback. They mostly want me to stay the same said and keep my speed.”
Schricker will be attending his current coach’s alma mater. Burgbacher was primarily a baseball player for the Pioneers, but also returned to the football field toward the end of his college career.
“He told me to go where I wanted to go, but I know he was happy when I told him where I was going,” Schricker said.
Burgbacher agreed that while it was ultimately Schricker’s decision to make, he was pleased with how things turned out for his player.
“I told him the same thing I tell all my players who are looking to play in college — you need to go to the place that is the best fit for you. This is a decision that is going to affect the next four or five years of your life. But I will admit that when he told me he was committing to Marietta, I may have had a little extra smile on my face.
“I think it’s going to be a great fit for him. He’s going to have a lot of great opportunities and I’m excited for him. I don’t have a lot of free time — or really any free time — in the fall, but I do try to get out and watch all of our guys play in college. Obviously I wouldn’t mind visiting my alma mater to watch Joah play.”
Schricker said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to live out his dream.
“It feels like I’ve accomplished something most people can’t,” he said. “It’s like an unreal feeling that I am about to go and play college football.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong