Day signs with Franklin College footballMarch 19, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
FERDINAND — Seemingly everything has been shut down, postponed or canceled following the COVID-19 outbreak, but not this.
Forest Park’s Drew Day signed his letter of intent on Wednesday to continue his football career at Franklin College, an NCAA Division III program. Day is set to play fullback, tight end and punter for the Grizzlies. He will become the seventh football player in Forest Park history to continue his gridiron career at the next level.
It was hardly a traditional signing. Rangers coach Ross Fuhs touched elbows with Day in lieu of a more conventional handshake, high-five or fist bump. Day was originally supposed to sign his letter of intent at school, but the virus outbreak has closed down the school for the rest of the month. Then the signing got moved to the YMCA in Ferdinand. That, too, has since closed. But the Forest Park star was able to put his name to paper on Wednesday, doing so in a condensed room in the Ferdinand Community Center.
“I was starting to get pretty nervous whenever school got canceled,” Day said. “Then it got moved to the Y, and here we are at the community center. I feel like if we wouldn’t have had it at the community center, I was pretty nervous we wouldn’t have it at all.”
No community center employees were on hand during Wednesday’s signing. Instead, Fuhs obtained a key for the venue to open and lock the place. He had to make some phone calls, and learned that some places wouldn’t be open. Fuhs shared the same concerns as Day, wondering if they’d ever have the opportunity to do it at school. The coach is just glad, though, that they were able to get it done.
“Drew deserves to have this honor,” Fuhs said.
Day will go down as one of the most prolific players in Rangers history. He rewrote the record books during his career with the team. Day holds the single-game record for rushing attempts (34 on Aug. 30, 2019), rushing attempts in a season (215, 2019), carries in a career (411), most rushing yards in a career (1,853), as well as yards per punt and the longest punt in program history.
He also played an integral role in the team’s success. The 2019 Rangers had just their second winning season in program history with a 6-5 record, including a win against Tell City in the first sectional game. Day took on a heavier workload in the backfield his sophomore year, and Fuhs thought the all-time rushing leader ran the ball well in the fourth quarter against North Knox in the 2017 sectional opener, a 27-14 victory for the Rangers.
“You knew he had a chance to be special just with all the time and dedication he put into it,” Fuhs said.
The coach believes the Grizzlies are getting a great player. Other members of the Rangers looked up to Day since he was a captain for Forest Park. He often stayed after practice to work on punting and conditioning, and Fuhs knows Day will work as hard as he possibly can to make a name for himself right away.
Day intends to major in criminal justice at Franklin. He began stepping up his role in the recruiting process after his senior season, and made his decision in January. Day took visits to other places, with Franklin being the last. But once he went there, he knew that’s where he wanted to be. He felt at home when setting foot there.
“The quality of education I was going to get at Franklin, I think it was unbeatable from the other schools,” Day said.
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