AVON — Avon’s football program can boast about another Division I athlete.
Senior offensive lineman Walter Rauterkus accepted a scholarship from West Virginia, joining a long line of Eagles playing for top college programs. Last year’s team sent two players to Division I schools — cornerback Ross Douglas signed with Michigan and safety Ralph Smith signed with Ball State.
“It feels great and it’s a lot of stress off me finally having this process over with,” Rauterkus said Tuesday night. “It’s nice to focus on football. I’ll be able to enjoy my senior season to its fullest potential now.”
Rauterkus also considered Nebraska and Michigan State, but neither school offered him a scholarship. He narrowed his choices to West Virginia and Ohio University. The chance to play in a tougher conference — the Big 12 — and the quality of Morgantown’s athletic facilities were what ultimately swung the decision in favor of the Mountaineers.
He plans on pursuing a business management major.
“He is a high academic kid and a high character kid,” Avon coach Mike Elder said.
“He’s worked extremely hard. His best years are in front of him and we’re excited about getting an opportunity to coach him his senior year. The sky is the limit, he has unlimited potential and can end up being a great player.”
Rauterkus is excited to be a part of an Avon squad coming off deep runs in the state tournament the last two seasons. The Eagles lost in the state finals in 2011 and made it to the regional final last season. He said as long as the team keeps improving like it has been in practice, the sky is the limit.
As for preparing to play at the Division I level, there are a few goals he’d like to achieve.
“I want to get better on my run blocking skills and I want to get stronger during the offseason,” Rauterkus said. “But mainly I just want to focus on winning and doing well this season.”
Elder said Rauterkus is about 6-foot-6 and 295 pounds, and projects him to be in contention for a number of postseason accolades this season.
“Walter has been a young man who has grown into his body over the last several years,” Elder said. “He had a great year for us last year and was a big part of our regional finalist team. This year, he is one of the leaders on the offensive line. We’ve had tremendous success recently and it’s because of great players like Walter.”
Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.