New York, New York

If someone had asked Drew Schoeberl a year ago where he might be headed to play college football, he likely would have said a Big Ten school like Purdue or Iowa.

But over the past few months, an Ivy League school jumped into the picture and offered Schoeberl a scholarship. So the Columbus North senior jumped at the chance to attend and play for Columbia University in New York City.

“The first thing that I always look for in a school is great academics because I want to get my degree,” Schoeberl said. “It’s one of the greatest academic schools in the country, and I get to play Division I football. I really like that opportunity.”

Schoeberl also had an offer from Southern Illinois. Purdue and Northwestern had offered him preferred walk-on spots. Ivy League schools Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Brown all recruited Schoeberl, but none had offered scholarships.

Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships, but Schoeberl, who has a 3.97 grade-point average, is getting a full ride academically. He plans to enter Columbia Business School but also is thinking about engineering.

“I think it’s an outstanding fit,” North coach Tim Bless said. “To be able to go to an Ivy League institution is going to set Drew up for a lifetime, having that degree from Columbia.”

Although he caught only 11 passes as a junior and eight as a senior, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Schoeberl was considered one of the state’s top tight ends because of his blocking. He also played defensive end this year.

“We had to utilize him this year as much as possible, and he was one of the most dominant players on the field,” Bless said. “So it was our plan to use him a ton on defense, along with tight end. He did great things as he grew into that (defensive end) position and got better and better every week.”

Columbia plans to use Schoeberl as a tight end or offensive tackle. Bless said Schoeberl brings flexibility to a college program because he can play tight end now or can grow and become an offensive lineman. He has proven he can be a solid defensive lineman, as well.

“I really enjoyed playing defense,” Schoeberl said. “I told the coaches at Columbia I’ll play whatever position they feel that I should play or where I can be the best to help the team. They’ve told me I could probably come and play defensive line for them if they needed that, but the more need was at the tight end and offensive line positions.”

Al Bagnoli recently completed his first season as coach of the Lions after winning nine Ivy League championships in his 23 years at Penn. His 232 wins are the most in Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) history.

In the fall, Columbia went 2-8, with six of those eight losses coming by eight points or fewer.

“I think they’re going to be a real good football team in the next couple of years,” Schoeberl said. “They have great facilities, and it’s in a great city, so I didn’t see any real bad things. I like the school a lot.”

At a glance

Football isn’t the only sport in which Drew Schoeberl competes. He is also a shot and discus thrower for the Columbus North track and field team and is back playing basketball this year after a one-year hiatus.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound senior provides size inside for first-year Bull Dogs coach Paul Ferguson.

“Coach Ferguson approached me about coming back to the team because he knew that I had played before,” Schoeberl said. “I really like the conditioning aspect. The staying-in-shape part of basketball is a big reason for it, but I also wanted to come and play for coach Ferguson.”

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.