Over the past three seasons, Countryside quarterback Jimbo Chmelik and wide receiver/defensive back Todd Shorter have developed a unique chemistry on the football field, one that helped propel the Cougars to the region finals this past season.
That chemistry extended off the field as well as the two quickly became best friends.
Wednesday, Chmelik and Shorter, side-by-side, signed letters of intent to continue playing football just a short car ride from one another. Chmelik inked with NAIA Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois; Shorter cast his lot with Illinois State, a FCS (formerly DI-AA) school playing in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
"It's kind of cool that me and Todd will be close to each other," Chmelik said. "Our schools are only about three hours away. Me and Todd got so close over the past three years. To be going to the same state for college is pretty cool."
Chmelik, who had a full offer from NAIA champions Sioux Falls as well as partial offers from three other schools, feels Quincy presented the most opportunity of all the schools interested in him. Chmelik was the only quarterback Quincy signed.
"It's a great situation for me to get into," he said. "They have great receivers and a great offensive line. They have a great foundation for an offense, they just need a quarterback. They're expecting a lot out of me, so I'm just hoping to go and do my best."
Chmelik will run the 100 and the 400 for the Cougars' track team this spring before concentrating fully on getting ready to compete for the starting quarterback position.
"I don't want to overwork, but right now, I'll probably throw once a week. As soon as track starts to pick up, I'll probably take a month or two off to give my arm some rest. When April rolls around, I'll throw three times a week, and on Sundays, I'll be trained by a professional trainer. Do as much as I can to get ready."
Shorter, who was recruited to Illinois State to play in the secondary, called the recruiting whirlwind "a dream."
"This is probably the most exciting time in my life right now," he said. "It's fun feeling wanted."
Shorter was also looking at Wofford, Jacksonville University and Youngstown State but was sold on Illinois State durinig his official recruiting trip in January. It was the only visit he scheduled. He committed before his plane arrived back in the Bay Area.
"The coaches, the players, I loved them," he said. "I loved the field. I loved the facilities, the school. I just thought it'd be a great fit for me."