Nathan Mays rewrote Urbana High School’s record book as the Hillclimbers’ strong-armed, right-handed quarterback. On Wednesday, Mays penned the perfect ending to his four-year career as a starter.
In front of about 60 family, friends, teachers and others at Urbana, Mays signed his national letter of intent to play football for Youngstown State University and former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini.
“It was definitely a surreal moment,” Mays said. “It was a realization, definitely, of all my hard work kind of culminating in one simple signature. It was pretty humbling.”
Mays was one of a handful of area student-athletes to sign binding letters for football and boys and girls soccer. Tecumseh’s Camren Moore (Ohio Dominican) and Conner Henry (Notre Dame of Ohio) also signed for football.
Catholic Central’s Tate Robertson (Bowling Green), Yellow Springs’ Jared Scarfpin (Mount Vernon Nazarene) and West Liberty-Salem’s Sam Warye (Findlay) signed for soccer.
Also of note, Kenton Ridge’s Hannah Blair signed with the University of Oregon for the acrobatic and tumbling team during the early signing period in November.
Mays finished his high school career ranked No. 8 in Ohio in touchdown passes (113) and No. 9 in passing yards (9,647). He completed 634 of 1,058 attempts (60 percent). He threw 17 interceptions with never more than six in any season.
Mays received his first recruiting letter as a freshman. That was his first indication he had something special going on.
“My head coach at that time told me I had real potential. He said colleges can see talent and will find it no matter where it is,” Mays said. “Being from a small school, at first I thought it would have a little bit of an effect on noticability. Once I knew my name was out there I really pushed myself to work for that.
“My dream was always to play football in college. I met my dream.”
Mays was the lone quarterback in Pelini’s 30-player class. The Penguins finished with a winning record for the fourth straight season in 2014. Youngstown State competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA. YSU plays in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, also home to North Dakota State — the four-time defending national champions. NDS beat fellow MVFC member Illinois State in last season’s national title game.
“It’s pretty exciting. (Pelini) is definitely a guy a lot of people know,” Mays said. “It makes people excited to see what he’s going to do with the program and I’m one of them.”