Former Bobcat signs D-II football scholarship
Josh Ishmael's search is over.
The former Basehor-Linwood football standout is concluding his two year stay Butler Community College. He was contacted by schools at every level to continue his football career: NAIA, D-III, D-II, and even D-IA.
In the end, Ishmael chose Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
"We had four or five guys (from Butler) go there last year," Ishmael said. "I knew five or six people down there. So I went down there and visited it and liked it."
Ishmael will play immediately next year. He will be the team's long snapper. Ishmael will focus completely on snapping and will not play another position. BLHS fans will recall Ishmael started both ways in high school, at fullback and linebacker. He dabbled at fullback with Butler along with his snapping duties.
Ishmael sent tapes to the staff at SWOSU. An assistant coach called and indicated the school would probably make a scholarship offer. A week later head coach Ryan Held phoned Ishmael and made an official offer. The former Bobcat standout traveled to Oklahoma to tour the campus. He committed a few days later, in the middle of May.
"That was shocking," Ishmael said of the prompt offer. "Most times you talk to (coaches) for weeks. For them to come right off the bat and make the offer kind of ended all the hassle of having to talk to them. Knowing I was the only one that was going down there to snap was good for me."
The combination of the quick offer and a promise that no other long snappers were being pursued by the school ended the suspense. Ishmael would become a Bulldog.
Ishmael's D-IA suitor, Louisiana-Monroe, could not offer a guarantee of immediate playing time.
"They wanted me as a preferred walk-on and they said they would have a lot of long snappers," Ishmael said. "They said if I won the starting spot, then I would get a scholarship next year. I didn't want to have to go and compete. I didn't want to go 15 hours away and not even have a guarantee that I could play on their team."
Still, it was tough for Ishmael to turn down football at the highest level.
"It's every little kids dream to go D-I," Ishmael said. "I wanted to go D-I. When I first went to camp at Butler, my coach told me I had a good chance to go D-I. But D-II is a step up. And it's a big step up."
Ishmael will now face his second huge jump in competition in the last few years. Butler is considered one of the top junior college programs in the nation. Ishmael said he had teammates that signed with KU, Michigan, Arkansas and Memphis.
"The competition brings out the best in you," Ishmael said. "If you love the game you will do anything for it."
Ishmael's scholarship will cover everything but books. He said his parents were instrumental in a successful scouring of the nation for the right fit.
"They were very big part of the recruiting process," Ishmael said. "They were there every step of the way. They went on the visits. Every night I would get a call from a coach I would call them and tell them what I was offered. We talked a lot."