SHERIDAN - Collin Eisenman always looked destined to continue his football career.
He signed a letter of intent with Chadron State Wednesday morning to confirm that notion.
Watching him play during his final home game with the Broncs left a feeling of uncapped potential. The senior Bronc combo-player linebacker/offensive lineman
recorded seven solo and 12 assisted tackles against Kelly Walsh, and his stymieing of the Trojans’ run game helped his team to a semifinal berth, where the Broncs’ season would end in Gillette.
He garnered his second-straight 4A All-State honors for his play at linebacker and he was named 4A East defensive player of the year.
Eisenman said he’s gotten bigger since the season ended, citing improving his technique, working hard in the weight room and following the direction of his coaches as things that led him to this point.
Not one to let a season go by without hitting people, Eisenman is midway through the hockey season where he’s an assistant captain for the Sheridan Hawks. He stays in shape by holding up a back line on the SHS soccer team in the spring, playing for his line coach from football, Kevin Rizer.
Don Julian, his head football coach and mentor, Rizer, Eisenman’s parents Sandy Baker and Larry Eisenman along with his little brother, Lane, all gathered Wednesday at SHS to watch Eisenman sign papers to be faxed to Chadron State. The scholarship is a combination of athletic and academic.
“I think he’s got a very good frame, by that I mean I think his growth potential to gain weight and get stronger, he’s got a huge upside,” Julian said. “He’s very intelligent, and the systems that they run at Chadron are pretty similar to ours offensively and defensively, so I think it’s going to be a pretty smooth transition for him. It’s a tough transition for everyone, but I think he’s got a very good chance of going there and doing very well.”
Coaches started calling Eisenman “Pup” when he showed his ability to perform at a high level on the offensive line in his sophomore year at camp, even as a “young pup.”
“A lot,” Eisenman said succinctly when prompted on how much credit he gives to his coaches for his accomplishment. ”They’ve guided me down a path through football and they’re really good mentors in pretty much everything I do.”
While Eisenman showed versatility to play both offense and defense in helping push the Broncs to the top statistical running game in 4A last season with his play at o-line, he says Chadron plans to use him on defense.
That’s probably a safe bet. He finished last year with 87 assisted and 34 solo tackles, seven of those were recorded in the backfield. He had three sacks and one interception, averaging eight tackles per game.
Eisenman chose Chadron over Carroll College and Mesa State, and Julian said schools were drawn to his toughness, body type and ability to run.
Chadron coaches saw him when the Broncs went to their camp last year, which is one of the reasons Julian brings his team, in order to showcase players in person and not just on film.
Eisenman is the second Sheridan Bronc to join Chadron State in as many years after Aaron Gray joined the Eagles last year.
“It’s a good level for our kids to go and be successful,” Julian said.