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Quite a rush: New UND QB signee recalls ‘hectic’ recruiting experience

Chippewa Valley quarterback Tommy Schuster (10) rushes for yardage against Macomb Dakota in the fourth quarter, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, at Dakota High School in Macomb, Mich. Chippewa Valley defeated Dakota 24-17. (Jose Juarez / Detroit News)

GRAND FORKS -- Tommy Schuster has never been to Grand Forks and his research on the University of North Dakota football program is less than a week old.

But the Chippewa Valley High School quarterback and Michigan Division I Player of the Year now has a chance to be the quarterback of the future for the Fighting Hawks.

Schuster signed his letter of intent Wednesday, Feb. 6, marking UND’s first signed high school scholarship quarterback in the past two years.

Two of UND’s top three quarterbacks (Nate Ketteringham and Andrew Zimmerman) will be seniors in the 2019 season.

That leaves a great opportunity for Schuster, who hadn’t heard from UND until Monday when offensive coordinator Danny Freund sent Schuster a message on Twitter.

“That’s one thing I really liked about the situation,” Schuster said of the UND quarterback recruiting gap. “It’s been an exciting week for me. It was pretty hectic at the end. I’m excited about the opportunity.”

After holding a long verbal commitment from Lincoln, Neb., quarterback Cedric Case, Case changed his commitment to Texas State.

That sent the Fighting Hawks on a scramble for a new quarterback, eventually leading to Schuster.

Freund said he came across Schuster thanks in part to an email from his Chippewa Valley coach Scott Merchant.

UND head coach Bubba Schweigert also had a friend in Detroit singing Schuster’s praises after his state championship performance in which Schuster was 13-for-13 for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns in a winning performance at Ford Field in Detroit.

Freund and UND defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt had also established a previous relationship with the high school program as the two had been at the school recruiting a defensive player there a few years prior.

Schuster, who’s 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, said he always envisioned himself a Division I quarterback, making the decision to accept the UND offer an easy one.

Schuster, who plays basketball in the winter and is still working on scheduling a visit to UND, was originally committed to play at NCAA Division II Ashland in Ohio.

“Height was something people held against me,” Schuster said. “I also don’t run a 4.4 40 (yard dash). I don’t have those glaring metrics some coaches look for.”

Schuster said he thinks of himself as a well-rounded quarterback who can run and throw.

“I think I’m a good decision-maker,” said Schuster, who ran a no-huddle, spread offense in high school. “I get the ball in the right place at the right time.”

Schuster holds Chippewa Valley school records for passing yards (4,956) and TD passes (67). He threw for 1,858 yards, 26 touchdowns and one interception his senior year.