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With a healed foot, Schroeder signs with Chippewas

With a healed foot, Schroeder signs with Chippewas
With a healed foot, Schroeder signs with Chippewas
North Harrison senior Bryan Schroeder signs with Central Michigan last Wednesday as his father, Mike Schroeder, laughs with friends and family. (Photo by Brian Smith)

‘It’s finally over. You finally reach that happy ending, that’s how it feels.’
It was a relieved Bryan Schroeder last Wednesday morning in the North Harrison High School cafeteria at 7 a.m. The running back who was tough to tackle for opponents and a pleasure to watch for Cougar fans signed his national letter of intent to play college football at Central Michigan the first minute he possibly could.
The previous year was a tough one for Schroeder and Cougar coach Jason Mullis. After giving a verbal commitment to CMU before the start of his senior season, a season where he was set to break the state record for career rushing yards, a foot injury in game two ended his season.
In the season opener against West Washington, the star ran for 207 yards and four touchdowns on just 11 carries. Yet in game two, against rival Corydon Central, Schroeder went down with a broken foot after one carry, ending his senior campaign.
‘This whole year has been emotional for me,’ Mullis said. ‘If you were at our banquet, you could see how hard it is for me to even talk about the kid. It’s just hard. He is just a special kid to me, not just from an athletic standpoint, but in general. He and I have gotten along real well; he’s just special.’
Despite the injury, Central Michigan never backed down from committing to Schroeder. Once he got more familiar with the school after his verbal, and knowing they were still with him after the injury, Schroeder became more and more sold on becoming a Chippewa.
‘The summer before my senior year, when I had a lot of interest from some Big Ten schools, Central Michigan was really the only MAC school I talked to,’ Schroeder said. ‘Their recruiting process was at its best. I was looking forward to my senior year and maybe getting a few more offers. At the time, I may have not been completely sold on Central Michigan, but I got up there a few times and really started to like the program and the coaches. Other than the injury, the past year has been good.’
Mullis recalls CMU coming in late on the sweepstakes.
‘Central Michigan called me and said, ‘Hey, we want to come down and see this kid.’ At that point, we hadn’t heard anything from them. They kind of came through the backdoor on this and wanted to see him,’ Mullis said. ‘They came down and talked, watched film, and that is when it all started.’
Butch Jones, head coach of the Chippewas, echoed many of the same thoughts as many who’ve witnessed the running back in action have long known.
‘You talk about productivity, he is productivity,’ Jones said in a press conference last Wednesday. ‘He is a bigger back, at 212 pounds now. I see him playing at around 220, 225. What he has different from other big backs is he has the ability to make you miss.’
Jones added that when his staff seeks running backs on the recruiting trail, they go by a common motto: ‘Does he get what the play is blocked for, or does he get more than the play is blocked for?’ He added Schroeder’s numbers speak for themselves when they ask that question.
Schroeder wrapped up his career with a plethora of school records, including career rushing yards (6,003), rushing touchdowns (96), single season touchdowns (35), career yards per carry (11.28), special teams touchdowns (six), career points (504) and single season rushing yards (2,558). Jones, Schroeder’s future head coach, even emphasized that he set the standards without a full senior year of football.
His most impressive game was a 16-carry, 376-yard, six-touchdown performance against Charlestown his sophomore year.
Other accomplishments include three-time MSC All Conference, three-time Indiana All State, Street and Smith Top 50 Junior, McDonald’s Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, top 33 players in the state as a junior and two-time leading rusher in Indiana.
After the injury, the senior stuck around to help guide the younger players such as Matt Bruderle, a freshman who finished with a spectacular season.
‘I’ve had great coaches,’ Schroeder said of his North Harrison career. ‘Coach Mullis really got my name out there. Our strength coach, Coach (Cliff) Dawson, really helped me out physically, getting me where I need to be. My family has been really supportive. I have had several family members at every game since I was young. I am going to miss it. It was a tough ending though.’
Schroeder, the son of Mike and Lori Schroeder, chose CMU after considering Purdue, Iowa and Indiana.
The Chippewas’ non-conference schedule for 2008 allows for a short drive to see Schroeder in action. It includes trips to Purdue (Sept. 20) and Indiana (Nov. 1).
With the foot back into full swing, Schroeder plans to participate in track and field this spring to get the competitive juices flowing again. He said he plans to start at CMU in the summer, enrolling in two summer classes.
‘The offensive coordinator said I need to come into summer camp with the mentality that I’m going to be able to play as a freshman,’ he said. ‘I don’t think I will be red-shirted, and they think I have a shot for some playing time that first year.’