Shawnee’s Robie Glass and Springfield’s Larry Stephens signed up for the next dreams of their athletic careers Wednesday, putting their signatures on national letters of intent to play wide receiver in the Mid-American Conference.
Glass, who mostly played quarterback for the Braves, is headed to Kent State and Stephens to Toledo.
Stephens has known for a while that Toledo was the place for him. The Rockets were the first to offer him a scholarship.
“I went there four times, and the fourth time I went it just felt like home,” he said. “Plus I still get to wear blue and gold.”
Glass had a similar feeling when he visited Kent State in January. He went to a game this fall and took his official visit two weeks ago and committed then.
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“It felt like family, it felt like home,” he said.
The two players have been on different paths. Glass always focused on football and played wide receiver in middle school. But as a freshman, head coach Rick Meeks made him a quarterback because he wanted his best athlete touching the ball every play.
“He was nervous about it and worried that he was going to screw up,” Meeks said. “But midway through that [freshman] JV season he started getting it and started embracing the position.”
Glass passed and rushed for over 3,000 yards apiece in three years at quarterback and was responsible for 56 touchdowns. The past two years Meeks put Glass at receiver a few times each game to make a big play or be a decoy. He caught 11 passes and three touchdowns. That was enough for Kent State.
“They like how I get off the ball fast, my route running and I’m aggressive going up for the ball,” he said. “They say I have all the fundamentals. They just have to teach the technique.”
Meeks isn’t concerned about Glass being able to get up to speed as a college receiver. He saw him work tirelessly in the offseasons with quarterback coach Bob DeLong to learn that position.
“He practices and works in the offseason like he’s not a very good player,” Meeks said.
Stephens entered high school focused on basketball, but his football coaches saw more in him than he did.
“He’s always had great ball skills,” football coach Maurice Douglass said. “From the seventh grade on I thought there was something different about his hands.”
At the end of Stephens’ sophomore year he started hearing from recruiters. His junior season convinced him to focus on football. He gave up AAU basketball and worked out two to three times a day for football. He helped lead the Wildcats to their first appearance in the state semifinals this year. In 14 games, he caught 58 passes for 1,127 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“Basketball was the first sport I played, but sometimes God has other plans for you and I took that route,” Stephens said. “They see me as a playmaker and that I create a lot of separation from DBs when the ball is in the air.”
Stephens has a basketball season to play for the Wildcats, which have also made a habit of going on deep tournament runs. Glass will compete in track again. Last spring he won his second state high jump title and placed second in the 400 meters. He also qualifed for state in the 200. He will continue his track career at Kent State.
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