Not former Spirit Lake prep star Cody Poock.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker was out on the lake ice fishing when he made his commitment to play football for the University of Minnesota in mid-December. The moment embodied perfectly the type of humble, blue collar athlete Poock is and will continue to be in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
"We were out ice fishing when I got a call from my junior college coach that they needed a photo of me signing," Poock said. "So we kind of faked one and sent it to him. It was pretty funny, really."
This past season, as a freshman at Iowa Western Community College, Poock earned All-Midwest Football Conference honors after leading the Reivers with 73 tackles (30 solos) and totaling eight tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and picking off two passes that he returned for scores. His outstanding performance drew eyes from all over the country, but Poock settled on Minnesota after giving consideration to Texas Christian University and Illinois, among others, though his decision was not easy.
"It was fun in the beginning," Poock said of the recruiting process. "As I got closer to making a decision, it was pretty stressful. I was lucky to get great advice from my parents, my coaches at Iowa Western and my high school coaches. They told me that there would be a lot of people trying to influence me one way or the other, but I needed to do what I thought was best for me."
After weighing his options, Poock settled on the University of Minnesota in large part because of the comfort and kindred spirit he felt with the coaching staff and players there.
"All of the guys there are great," he said. "They remind me a lot of the people back home. They're blue collar, hard-working guys who have a chip on their shoulders. That's the type of people I want to be around."
Upon his arrival to campus on Jan. 16, Poock will immediately begin the process of digesting the Gophers' complex defensive playbook and preparing to battle for a starting linebacker job in the spring.
Poock played mainly middle linebacker at Iowa Western, but coaches see him battling for a starting spot on the weak side this season.
"The coaches told me they want me to come in and compete for a starting spot right away," Poock said. "They told me I have the potential to do big things, but I want to do whatever I can to help the team win games. I'm going to come in and compete and hopefully earn the job. I think getting up there early and having 15 extra practices is going to help a great deal. I won't be running around like a chicken with my head cut off."
Whether Poock starts right away for the Gophers or not remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, the University of Minnesota reeled in quite a catch.