George Prusock III just wanted a college football coach to believe in him.
He yearned for a coach to ignore his 5-foot-11, 250-pound size — deemed too short by college standards. Just believe.
Prusock found such a man at Gannon University in head football coach Erik Raeburn.
A three-time, first-team All-Ohioan with the Kirtland Hornets, Prusock announced his commitment to the NCAA Division II Golden Knights on Jan. 28. Gannon won out for Prusock’s services over two other area programs who also believed in him — John Carroll and Baldwin Wallace.
“Their coaches and how I interacted with them,” Prusock said when asked what separated Gannon from other potential college suitors. “They saw me as flying under the radar because of my size.”
Prusock, a powerful road-grader of an offensive lineman who paved the way for Kirtland’s bruising run-based offense, was overlooked by some colleges because of his height. It was a frustrating point, he noted, but also a motivational one.
“Gannon looked past the measurables,” Prusock said. “They looked at flim and saw how I played and how I could fit into their scheme. I looked for a coach who saw the player, not as a height and weight.”
Signing with a Division II program will net Prusock an athletic scholarship of some sort, though he said he isn’t sure of that financial package yet. Academic money is also in play, as Prusock sports a 3.6 grade-point average.
“Some say it’s above average,” Prusock said. “But I say I’m average since most of my friends are around the mid-4s.”
He plans to major in pre-med, following a similar path in college as his mother Julie, a certified athletic trainer through LakeHealth.
“That plays into it a lot,” Prusock said of his anticipated choice of major that parallels similarly to that of his mother. “Not only have I spent a lot of time in the doctor’s office with my injuries, but seeing how she does things every day and how she interacts with people, that helped draw me toward (pre-med).”
Prusock’s journey to All-Ohio status, state championship rings with the Hornets and a college football scholarship is a rags-to-riches story of sorts. In a November interview with The News-Herald, he chronicled his trip that got off to a rough start.
“Funny story. When I was younger, I was really bad at football,” the senior offensive lineman said. “I was one of those 10-play guys in youth football. You know, that requirement that everyone has to play at least 10 plays and they sometimes put you in on punt to count as one of your 10? I was one of those guys. Never saw the field much.”
The son of former Mount Union University lineman George Prusock Jr. improved and got stronger. Coach Tiger LaVerde said Prusock developed into “one of the all-time best we have ever had.”
He is one of three Kirtland players to be three-time, first-team All-Ohioans, joining defensive lineman Canon Schroeder and linebacker-running back Mason Sullivan.
“It’s been exciting,” Prusock said of his journey at Kirtland. “This is four years of work coming to fruition. It’s been fun. I probably won’t see just how fun it was until I’m older, but I got to play for one of the best people and coaches you could ever meet, and playing with my friends was nothing short of amazing.”
Prusock hoped to play one more time for LaVerde in this spring’s North-South Ohio all-star football game, but he is scheduled to have surgery on the torn labrum in his right shoulder on Feb. 9.
“I think I hurt it in Week 8, but didn’t know it was torn,” he said. “But I got it checked out after the season. … I’m disappointed not to get to play one last time with (LaVerde) as my coach, but it came down to me deciding to play a the next level.”