For Jack Coan, there is no time for a case of senioritis. Instead, the Sayville quarterback is about to come down with freshman fever.
Coan, the 2016 Hansen Award winner and Long Island’s all-time leader in career passing yards (9,787) and touchdown passes (128), on Thursday made it official that he will enroll at Wisconsin next month — not next fall. He’ll begin his academic and athletic educations while the rest of his fellow seniors are completing the second half of their final high school year.
“It gives me chills that I’m finally a Badger and it’s finally official,” said Coan, who wore a red short-sleeved Wisconsin T-shirt with white lettering to a ceremony in the high school’s library. “It’s the end of my high school career at Sayville and the beginning of my new career at Wisconsin. I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity ahead of me. I’m going to the best place in the world.”
Coan was joined by eight other Sayville senior scholarship athletes along with family members, coaches and school administrators for the signing ceremony. The others were Kelly Marra, soccer and lacrosse, Massachusetts; Kiarra Grimes, soccer, LIU Post; Meg Havranek and Lauren McNeill, lacrosse, Tampa; Anthony Martino, baseball, Bridgeport; Ashton Bradley, lacrosse, Albany; Jason Intermesoli, lacrosse, Marist, and Rob Zeigler, lacrosse, St. John’s.
“I’ll definitely be really sad to be leaving behind my friends and family,” said Coan, who will be in Wisconsin on Jan. 10 to begin a week of orientation before classes start on Jan. 17. He likely will miss his high school prom and graduation day.
“I’m excited and sad at the same time,” he said, “but I’m ready to start my football journey and my academic journey. I’m ready to go.”
His father, Mike, who attended Thursday’s event along with his wife, Donna, and their other children, Mike Jr. (a junior at the University of Tampa) and Bella (a junior at Sayville who has committed to play lacrosse at Quinnipiac), acknowledged, “It’ll be a little sad and a little exciting that in three weeks he’ll be gone. More exciting than sad, though. It’s a father’s dream come true and I’m excited for him. I just can’t believe it’s here already.”
Mike Sr. and Donna both wore Wisconsin shirts. The Big Ten school is picking up followers as well as a top national recruit. “I never thought I’d be a Badgers fan, but now I don’t think there is a bigger Badgers fan than me,” Sayville coach Rob Hoss said. “Certainly for the next four years, I’ll be a Badgers fan and form relationships with the coaches because he’s going to a place where not only are they great football coaches but — and I can say this with 100 percent certainty — they’re coaches of great character.”
No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3), coached by Paul Chryst, will play No. 15 Western Michigan (13-0) in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2. Coan will be watching as more than just a fan.
“Every single play of theirs that I’ve watched this season, I’ve tried to break it down and understand what they’re doing on offense,” said Coan, who will participate in spring practice beginning in early March. “But I’ll be lifting and studying with the coaches as soon as I get there.”
Freshman fever. It’s going around.