Erie senior Noah Roper announced via social media his commitment to play football at Dartmouth College on Thursday.
Making the commitment ends a recruiting process Roper called a "love-hate relationship" he endured.
"A new school would come in to talk to me and I'd be interested, then they would fall off face of planet and I didn't know what happened to them," Roper said. "There were a lot of schools like that, a tease kind of. They would talk to me a little bit and then never talk again. That was super frustrating."
A few schools did stick around in talking with Roper to play for their program. In the end, it was an official visit taken last weekend that sold him to join the Big Green.
"I loved it there," Roper said. "The campus is beautiful and the people were genuine, my kind of people. They also have some ballers up there, good facilities, and the lifestyle there was great."
The Tigers' running back capped an impressive football career this year and helped lead his team to the semifinal round of the Class 3A state football tournament before suffering an injury that kept him out for the game with Pueblo East, one Erie would lose 35-17 to prevent them from reaching the state championship game for a second consecutive year.
Roper was the key to the Tigers' offense from his running back position and finished the season with 2,229 rushing yards and 37 rushing touchdowns. The rushing total was the second-most in the entire state, according to maxpreps.com, trailing Tanner Vines of Rifle by one yard. He did score the most points this season in the state with 224 total points scored. In addition to his rushing totals, Roper threw two touchdown passes. The senior also played in the secondary on defense and recorded 39 tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.
For his career, Roper finishes with 6,339 rushing yards and 86 total touchdowns along with 199 tackles, eight fumble recoveries and six interceptions. Plenty of people helped pushed him to a great career with the Tigers, he added.
"I credit my success first to my brothers. I wouldn't be the player I am without them," Roper said. "Being the youngest of four brothers, they pushed me to be the best and gave me competitive spirit. They are the reason why I'm where I'm at.
"Other than my family, my linemen really pushed hard and were amazing this year," Roper said. "They don't get as much acknowledgment, but they should. Guys like that are the reason we were so successful. They worked in the shadow but didn't mind."
While the fire for football burns inside him, Roper admits that there's more to him than football, another big factor in his decision to go to an Ivy League school.
"Once I got my financial package and knew what I had to pay, I couldn't pass that down," Roper said. "For me, there's always been more than just football for me. I'm passionate about the sport, but I know it won't last me my whole life. I want to use it as a pathway to big things, do unique things and be a difference maker."
With his commitment secured, Roper is focused on finishing his senior year on a good note. The first step will come in two weeks when he expects to get out of his walking boot and take another step forward in his rehab. If the timetable holds, he said he hopes to be on the track team this spring and try to place in the long jump at the state meet.
Dartmouth finished the 2018 season 9-1 and second in the Ivy League conference with a 6-1 league record. The school will hope that Roper can help a team already averaging 254 rushing yards per game and could push them into the playoffs.
"I think (Dartmouth) is getting someone who has heart," Roper said. "I've taken heart as the most important thing in a player. As long as you have heart, you can do anything and be amazing. They are getting someone with heart and a good work ethic. I want to be different and push to be something amazing."