very winter, hundreds of lives are changed with the stroke of a pen. High school football players across the county may choose to sign their national letter of intent early, committing to where they would like to play football at the next level, many of them earning full-ride scholarships to cover their education.
This year, the early signing period began December 16, running for three days as recruits across the nation make the decision of their lifetime.
Just a few seasons ago, it was not often for Boulder Creek to be a signing day destination. Former University of Idaho quarterback Taylor Davis was the first, signing in 2008, Boulder Creek’s third varsity season. Since then, 13 former Boulder Creek players, including eight in the past five years, have signed with Division 1 programs, including former New Mexico wide receiver Marquis Bundy, who had a three-year career in the NFL.
Former Boulder Creek wide receiver and current Northern Arizona University All-American Hendrix Johnson was the most recent to sign with a Division 1 program on a full-ride scholarship.
This year, three Boulder Creek players signed with Division 1 programs, capping off a historic semifinal playoff run.
Running back Jacob Cisneros held other offers from Dartmouth, Georgetown, the University of San Diego and Northern Arizona University but ultimately settled on the University of Pennsylvania.
“They believed in me from the beginning,” Cisneros said. “They care for me like a person, not just a football player.”
The 5-foot-10-inch, 195-pound senior rushed for 1,552 yards and 21 touchdowns in addition to 666 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 41 receptions. Cisneros totaled 2,852 all-purpose yards and led the state in touchdowns, scoring 35 touchdowns. Cisneros also led the state in total kick and punt returns, with 634 combined yards and three touchdowns. Cisneros is also one of the top wrestlers in the state for his weight class.
After being named All-Region Player of the Year, Cisneros earned the award for Arizona Cardinals Offensive Player of the Year. Stacking up his accolades, he also earned the Archie Amerson Running Back of the Year award after a phenomenal, record-breaking season. Cisneros was also named a nominee for the Ed Doherty Award by the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club.
Cisneros has decided to major in business, and for good reason—UPenn is the No. 1-ranked business school in America.
“I wanted to go someplace where my degree will mean something to people,” Cisneros said. “Football isn’t forever, and a degree from a prestigious university will set me up for success in the future.”
This year, recruiting has been difficult with the COVID-19 pandemic, as the NCAA has opted to restrict in-person visits to campus.
“I wanted to see the school for myself, so it was tough (not being able to visit.) They did a great job with virtual tours and videos describing campus,” Cisneros said. “I’m most looking forward to the new lifestyle and the city life. It will be cool to make new friends and build new relationships.”
When asked about signing day, Cisneros added, “These are my boys. We battled together all year, and it’s great that our hard work paid off and we got to sign together.”
One of Cisneros’ teammates he was referring to is Bear Milacek, the Boulder Creek quarterback who held various scholarship offers from San Diego, Western Kentucky and Valparaiso but signed with the University of New Mexico after verbally committing to the school back in July.
“The amazing coaching staff really (drew me) to the school. I think with the 23 commits we have, it is safe to say there will be a very bright future in New Mexico,” Milacek said.
The 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound senior was named first-team All-Region quarterback after leading the Jaguars to a school-best 8-2 record. Milacek finished the season with 1,285 passing yards and 10 touchdowns as well as 569 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 108 carries.
During the course of his high school career, Milacek threw for a total of 4,372 yards and 32 touchdowns, rushing for an additional 882 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Milacek, who plans to major in biology, has always favored science and would like to someday become a dermatologist.
“I’m excited for college,” Milacek said. “I’m ready to work hard and chase my dreams. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while.”
Long snapper and defensive end John Ferlmann held offers from Air Force and the University of Arizona but opted to stay closer to home and signed with Arizona State University after verbally committing in August.
“Arizona State has been my dream school because of the campus life, the football program and the location. I wanted to stay close to home and compete for championships. ASU checks all those boxes,” Ferlmann said.
The 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound senior is the No. 7 long snapper in the country as well as No. 1 in Arizona. After moving from Modesto, California, after his junior year, Ferlmann was named first-team all-region defensive end. He finished the season with 48 tackles and two sacks. Ferlmann will major in business.
“(Arizona State) was my first offer, and it validated all the hard work I put in,” Ferlmann said. “I was ecstatic. I remember running around the house after getting the call from (special teams coach) Shawn Slocum.”
When asked about celebrating his decision, Ferlmann said, “My family and I will probably go to Chili’s,” he added with a laugh. “I’m just excited to make it official and focus on preparing for the 2021 season.”
After all, signing day is about the future. When the pen meets paper, dreams finally come true.