Apalachee High School senior football player Ethan Offutt said he has always looked forward to going away to college.
He will have that chance as he signed with the University of Pikeville (Ky.) on Wednesday, Feb. 5, as a snapper. An unsung hero of sorts for the Wildcat football team, Offutt is a standout student with a 93 grade-point average, taking numerous advanced placement and honors classes.
AHS athletic director Ralph Neeley noted Pikeville, an NAIA school, has had a winning record as a program each of the last seven years and this past season has 15 players named to the All-Academic team for its conference.
“For me education will always come first,” Offutt said. “That is what I looked at when considering Pikeville. I also believe the coaching staff is going to give me a great opportunity. They welcomed me on my visit and immediately made me feel at home. They will help make sure I succeed after football.”
While the Pikeville campus is a long way from Barrow County, Offutt is ready for the adjustment.
“I’ve always wanted to experience new things in life and see different places,” he said. “This is giving me that chance.”
Wildcat football coach Tony Lotti said Offutt will fit in well at the next level.
“Coaching specialists is something I have always taken great pride in,” said Lotti, whose son is a punter at Wisconsin.
Offutt was an all-region honorable mention football player in 2019 but was the only snapper recognized. He was also selected to play in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes All-Star game in December.
“It is always a great occasion to be able to see your players go to the next level,” Lotti said. “They realize now why the coaches always stay on them and why we stress study hall and tutors. Time management is very important because when they get to college it will be on them to make sure everything is done.”
With two athletes signing on Feb. 5, Lotti said it is a testament to the rise of the AHS football program.
“We are changing the culture here and all of our athletes are worthy of working toward that,” Lotti said.
The AHS coach said he expects to have at least a couple more players to sign in coming days.