Ethan Drewes, the defensive monster for the Skyline Falcons, had all but erased Northern Colorado off his list of potential landing spots for college after talks between the parties had sputtered a bit at the tail end of this past summer.
However, with an extra four games in which the senior linebacker was given a chance to "be seen on a bit bigger stage" — the Bears picked up on the fact that Drewes was a player worth considering again. And, within about four days' time from another phone call soon after Skyline's state-championship game appearance, it became evident that UNC was a good fit for him.
On Wednesday, Drewes signed his letter of intent to play football for the Greeley-based university — though he'll celebrate along with other classmates in February.
Locally, this early signing period was quiet for the most part, but for Drewes it was a big deal to be able to get the decision out of the way, along with the paperwork.
"It's never too late, for sure" Drewes said of the quick exchange prior to Wednesday's early period signing day (athletes can sign between Wednesday and Friday). "We had talked a couple of times during the summer but it was nothing real serious ... but we picked up the talks again and within four days they put an offer out to me.
"The coaches over there have been great, and it's been really cool how they've helped me through the process. And it's close to home where I can see my family and they can come to games, and there's no climate change or anything like that. It's the best fit for me at this point."
Drewes, who had nearly 100 solo tackles and four fumble recoveries this season, said he had preferred walk-on offers with Wyoming and Colorado State, another pair of lucrative local football destinations. But in weighing everything out, he was happy to still see the Division-I atmosphere at even closer proximity than Laramie or Fort Collins.
The Falcons will have other college-bound athletes, and just like his teammates, the run through the playoffs certainly gave them an opportunity to open up some eyes. Even if for a second time, in Drewes' case.
"I'd say my best three games of the year were against Pueblo West, Pine Creek and Ponderosa, so yeah I do think that helped get more (attention)," Drewes said. "I honestly wasn't expecting anything like what happened."
CSU did pick up an early recruit from Colorado as Kyle Helbig (Holy Family) was officially announced as part of the Rams' 2019 recruiting class. BoCoPreps.com featured an article on his verbal commitment on Nov. 5.
Also, Longmont athletic director Pete Scheck indicated that Oakley Dehning was going to sign with MIT.