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JHS tackle signs with Shepherd Rams

By Staff | May 7, 2010

Tim Schmitt, of Shepherdstown, played defensive end and offensive tackle for the Jefferson High School Cougars. He has a scholarship to play with the Shepherd University Rams starting this fall. Photo courtesy WhyKnottPhotography

One of Shepherds-town’s own football standouts Tim Schmitt has signed to play for the Shepherd University Rams starting this fall.

It’s hard not to notice Schmitt. At 6 foot, 5 inches and 280 pounds, he can’t hide. But if you were facing him on the line of scrimmage, you might wish you could.

He will graduate from Jefferson High School May 30 and has been awarded a football scholarship. He officially signed with the University in February and will begin practicing with the Rams in August. But Schmitt still has to make the cut in tryouts, he said. “You prove to them you’re worthy of attention.”

He played football all four years of high school for the JHS Cougars, most recently as offensive tackle and defensive end.

“I’m just looking forward to becoming a part of a really good college football program,” Schmitt told the Chronicle.

He is the son of Jim and Melinda Schmitt of West German Street. Both his parents also attended Shepherd College. His sister Jessica is on the Shepherdstown Middle School track and field and basketball teams.

Jefferson’s Head Football Coach Richard Mills said Schmitt has the potential to excel at Shepherd.

“He was the biggest kid on our team,” said Mills. “We won’t have that size . . .” next year.

“We think he’s going to do pretty well at Shepherd,” said Mills, himself a 1975 Shepherd graduate. “I think it’s a good fit for him over there. . . . He’s a good kid, a hard worker. And we’re really happy he’s going to continue on that level.”

The Cougars were able to end their season with a sound 24-0 defeat of rival Washington High School in November.

“It was our last game ever in high school, and it was really emotional,” Schmitt said. “I got a couple tackles and some pancakes, and I forced an interception early in the game.”

In the off-season, Schmitt has kept himself on a strict exercise and weight training regimen in preparation to take the field with the Rams.

“You want to work out as hard as you can . . .” Schmitt said. “But they take you and make you bigger, faster, stronger.”

Off the field, Schmitt achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in December. His Eagle Project involved planning, fund-raising, construction and landscaping of the new entrance sign for Shepherdstown Elementary School. The project was completed in July 2009.

He was publicly recognized for his Scouting achievements on March 27 during the Troop 33 Eagle Scout Court of Honor, held at the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church. Schmitt earned a dozen required merit badges for the Eagle rank and an additional 19 that were “Eagle optional.” His requirements – earned over a period of several years – spanned a skill range from citizenship, camping and communications to automotive maintenance, disabilities awareness and shotgun shooting.

Scout leader Tom White presented two full pages of Schmitt’s achievements and awards during the event.

“During his nearly seven years of membership in Troop 33, Tim has about 60 days and nights of camping . . . including last summer’s high adventure canoeing trek in the Adirondacks of New York State, bay front and ocean front camping at Solomon’s Island and Chincoteague Island,” White remarked. Schmitt served in top leadership roles for more than two years with Troop 33 and participated in more than 20 community services projects, fund-raisers and observances, White said.

In talking about Schmitt’s accomplishments – from hustling on the football field to pitching in on community service projects – his Scouting mentors and coaches say Schmitt is a dedicated worker.

In high school football, Coach Mills tries to instill in his players the importance of working “all the way to the end of the game (to) finish the job. We try to teach them that hard work will pay off in the end.”

Schmitt appears to have taken that lesson to heart, and he has the scholarship and the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout as his rewards. His reaction to his successes is simple and sincere.

“I feel good,” Schmitt said.