By Oliver Lazenby
Borderites quarterback Jalen Kortlever and receiver Anthony Ball signed letters of intent last week to play college football.
Kortlever signed to play with Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and Ball will be going to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.
Kortlever and Ball were instrumental in taking the Borderites to the playoffs last season, and they finished near the top of the 2A Northwest Conference in total passing and receiving yards.
February 1 was the first day that high school seniors could sign a binding letter of intent for college football. Several other Borderites may play college football but haven’t yet decided where they’ll go.
Kortlever made his decision after visiting Benedictine College.
“It’s a little ways from home but it’s a good fit and definitely felt like a place I could spend the next four to five years and grow as a player and a person,” he said.
He liked the coaching staff, which is led by head coach Larry Wilcox. Wilcox has been there since 1979 and has the second most wins of any NAIA coach.
“He’s a living legend and he’s in the Hall of Fame,” Kortlever said. “The coaching staff don’t look at you as just a football player. They know your chances of going pro are not the best and they want to make sure you find a good academic fit.”
Benedictine’s business school and small class sizes also contributed to Kortlever’s decision.
Ball, Kortlever’s best friend and favorite receiving target, signed with UPS after a welcoming visit to the school.
“I took a trip down there in December and I felt like I was home there,” he said. “I felt really welcomed.”
A UPS coach encouraged the decision by pointing out that the team throws the ball a lot – about 50 times per game.
Kortlever also considered UPS before settling on Benedictine. Ball said he’s happy for Kortlever, though he’ll miss him on the field.
“It’s always great to have him there,” Ball said. “But it’s nice that we’re both pursuing our football dreams and our academics.”