A trio of Branson Pirate football players have made their college choices official. Long-snapper Jordan Silver and receivers Chad Utzman and Luke Masters were greeted by a large contingent of friends and families at the high school media center complete with cake and cookies and plenty of smiles and photos taken.
Jordan Silver, ranked as the 13th best long-snapper in the country, is headed to Arkansas as a preferred walk-on. Silver had gone to one of the Razorbacks summer camps and drew the attention of the coaching staff.
“It was like a combine with the best-of-the-best long-snappers and I came out as one of the top ones, Silver recalled. So we just started talking from there. They have amazing games and a beautiful campus. It has the loudest stadium I’ve every been in. I went to the Alabama game and you feel the goose-bumps on your body hit you when you hear that ‘wooo-pig’ so it’s a great place to be.”
Silver and his family donned “hog snouts” (plastic Razorback noses) for their group photo after the signing and Silver talked about the under-appreciated role of the long-snapper.’
“It’s not a really known position because they’re not that famous and they don’t get all the girls,” Silver said with a smile. “But I have a great girl who’s always there for me. The long-snapper is not the quarterback on the team but he is the quarterback on fourth down. They only care about you when you mess up. Your basic job is to be quite and remain unknown because then you know you’re doing a good job.”
Receiver Chad Utzman is going to Missouri S&T. Utzman led the team in touchdowns scored this season and will take his all-conference talents to a school known for its high-academic standards and engineering programs.
“I’ve always had a knack for mechanics and math,” Utzman said of his interest in going to Rolla. “If anything is wrong like with a lawnmower or something people bring it to me and I fix it for ’em. And so whenever they called me up for football it just seemed like all the pieces were coming together.”
As for what role he expects to have with the Miners?
“They’re wanting me as a receiver although I’m not sure it’s as a wide-out or in the slot,” Utzman said. “It depends on what they’ve got coming back. I could be redshirted but I could get some playing time as well.”
Another receiver, Luke Masters, is headed to William Penn, a private liberal arts university in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Masters is leaving Branson as an all-state performer who set”school-records for receptions and reception-yards.
“It’s awesome being able to leave your mark on the record-books of your hometown,” Masters said of his accomplishments. “I hope that someone comes through and eventually breaks them, but I’d like to see them up there just for a little bit. ”
Masters says his new role in college is still up in the air.
“There’s been talk of me moving around and being an athletic-type player,” Masters said. “Playing quarterback, maybe receiver, maybe defensive back. I’ll start on the offensive side but wherever it takes me from there I won’t question it.”