Cuyahoga Falls coach Shane Parker has seen his team make steady progress over the last few seasons.
On Monday, another mark of that progress was celebrated as six more Black Tigers made their commitments to play at the collegiate level.
At a virtual signing ceremony hosted on Zoom, Parker and the community honored seniors Braunavan Arsenault (University of Rochester), Donovan Deighton (Baldwin Wallace University), Kyle Deremer (Hocking College), Noah McClendon (Alderson Broaddus University), Alex Rowan (Ohio Norther University) and Jordan Tuttle (Marietta College).
With these six joining fellow Black Tiger seniors Donovan Mills, Robert Graves and Daiquantee Glenn — each of whom signed in February — Parker was happy to see nine members of the Cuyahoga Falls Class of 2020 move on to college football.
“It’s the biggest number that I can think of,” Parker said. “I don’t think I can remember a time where we’ve had this many move on to college. Coach Don Ross had quite a few years where he had good players, but not his many commits. It brings our total up to 13 [college recruits] since I took over the program.”
Parker noted he felt this year’s class had left “an indelible mark” on the program on and off the field.
“We try to push academics as much as we can,” Parker said. “Every year I’ve been here, we’ve had a team GPA every year of more that 3.0. We always tell the kids, if the grades aren’t there, there’s always someone else who will have them.
“These guys have don’t just concentrate on what’s happening on the field.”
The ceremony was attended virtually by Athletic Director Kenny Johnson, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools Superintendent Todd Nicholls and Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters.
Johnson said he wished to celebrate both the players and their coach.
“I just want to commend Shane,” Johnson said. “It’s easy for some people to see only what’s on the scoreboard or go by wins and losses. What he installs in the kids is exactly what we want to see, being a former coach myself. He cares about these kids. I don’t think that’s appreciated enough.”
Arsenault heads to the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. which competes at the NCAA Division III level
Arsenault noted he chose Rochester because of “how prestigious their academics are” as he plans to study engineering. He carries ad 4.2 GPA at Falls.
Another key reason he chose Rochester was the opportunity to play quarterback for the Yellow Jackets.
“It was pretty crucial,” Arsenault said.
Arsanault noted he also considered Ohio Northern and St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Deighton said he had a simple reason for choosing BW.
“It felt more like home to me,” Deighton said. “I wanted to stay close to home. I want to thank my family, too, for all the support they’ve given me.”
Deighton plans to major in psychology at BW as he carries a 3.5 grade-point average at Falls. He said he likely will play on the interior of the offensive line for the Yellow Jackets.
“I’ve played a center all through high school,” Deighton said. “I’m more used to the interior line, so I’ll probably end up playing there.”
Deighton said he also considered Muskingum University, where his sister attends college, the College of Wooster and the University of Mount Union.
Deremer said he had a unique reason for attending Hocking College, a community college located in Nelsonville: He plans to study natural resources at Hocking with an eye towards being a game warden.
“It’s one of the faster programs to get through,” Deremer said. “It will be just nice to get out in the field in just two years time.”
A 3.0 student at Falls, Deremer will serve as a punter for the Hawks. He also consider Hiram College, Kentucky Wesleyan and Marietta.
Although he planned to be done with his studies in two years, Deremer did leave the door open to the possibility of punting at a four-year college after he is done at Hocking.
Also heading to Southeast Ohio, Tuttle plans on majoring in business/sports management at Marietta. Although he also considered, Adrian College in Michigan, Tuttle noted he felt best on the banks of the Ohio River.
“I kind of like the all around feel of the campus,” Tuttle said. “It was really Marietta all the way.”
Tuttle carries a 2.9 GPA at Falls and will play at outside linebacker/defensive end for the Pioneers.
Meanwhile, Rowan plans to major in aerospace engineering at Ohio Northern, noting he would like to work for NASA someday. He carries a 3.0 grade-point average at Falls.
While he also considered Wittenberg University and Washington and Jefferson College, Ohio Northern always felt right for him.
“I’ve been down there a handful of times,” Rowan said. “Every time, I felt like it was the right place. I think I’ve got a good chance at playing time.”
After playing all over the field during his Black Tiger career, Rowan plans to play tight end for the Polar Bears.
McClendon might be the most unique signee of the bunch. While Parker noted McClendon originally planned to attend Stark State College, he decided to attend Alderson Broaddus University —located in Phillipi, West Virginia — to play sprint football.
“It’s football for the little guys like me,” McClendon said. “There are weight limits involved.”
The Collegiate Sprint Football League maintains a weight limit of 178 pounds. The Battlers just completed their first season in CSPL.
McClendon said he plans to be undecided in his major for his first two years.
“They had a really good loan forgiveness program, which was attractive,” McClendon said.