The Big E is heading to the Big Ten.
Ethan Wiederkehr, the All-Long Island lineman from three-time Long Island Champion Shoreham-Wading River, officially signed his National Letter of Intent at 7:01 Wednesday morning to play at Northwestern.
But when the 6-6, 290-pound Wiederkehr shows up Thursday for a workout at Define Fitness in Rocky Point, he’ll flash a membership card with a photo taken when he was 8 years old and first joined the gym to tag along with his father, Hans. “I’d lift, he’d do pushups and chin-ups. Now look at him,” Hans Wiederkehr said. “They make fun of him when they see his picture on the card.”
Added Ethan’s mother, Karen, “He’s there all the time, but they never updated his photo from his first gym card.”
The proud parents were joined by school officials and SWR coach Matt Millheiser at a private ceremony at the Shoreham-Wading River library. All wore various items of purple Northwestern gear, or in Karen Wiederkehr’s case, a purple blouse. “I feel blessed to be in this community with this team and the coaches and to have had the opportunity to win three LICs,” Wiederkehr said. “I don’t know if my high school career has sunk in yet because I’m still here. By the time I go to college and look back more, maybe I’ll think about it.”
In the meantime, Wiederkehr thinks only about preparing for Big Ten football. He will give up playing basketball and lacrosse as a senior to concentrate on “getting bigger, faster and stronger. They want me at 290 but in great shape.”
Though he excelled on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Wildcats of SWR, he expects to be an offensive tackle for the Wildcats of Northwestern. “It’s not written in stone, but that’s what they originally told me. I know the coaches will put me in the best place to help the team,” Wiederkehr said. “It’s not definite that I’ll red shirt but being an offensive lineman, it’s likely.”
By NCAA rules, that means Wiederkehr will be allowed to participate in all practice and team meetings and dress for home games, but is not allowed to travel to away games. He will report to the Evanston, Ill., campus on June 17 and begin classes and workouts on June 19.
“I’m excited about it,” Wiederkehr said. “It’s definitely a new chapter in my life that I can’t wait to get to.”
Including that new photo ID on his Northwestern gym membership.
Jordan, Goldberg also sign. Among the other Long Island players who signed Division I letters of intent were 6-3, 195-pound wide receiver Cam Jordan of Half Hollow Hills West, who will attend Syracuse, and 6-3, 275-pound offensive lineman Spencer Goldberg, a 2016 graduate of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK who attended Milford (Conn.) Academy this year and heads to University of Massachusetts.