Shawn Bodtmann thought he had taken the guesswork and worry out of the college recruiting process last April when he verbally committed to accept a football scholarship from the University of Nebraska.
Then, in January, only weeks before the National Letter of Intent signing period, the Cornhuskers withdrew their scholarship offer and asked the star halfback and linebacker from Scranton, Pa., to walk on.
Enter the University of Maine.
After spending the last six weeks re-evaluating his football future, Bodtmann has agreed to accept a scholarship to play for coach Jack Cosgrove’s Black Bears beginning in the fall.
Bodtmann, a 6-foot, 205-pounder who played for West Scranton,
“I just I thought it was a great place,” Bodtmann said of UMaine, which he visited back on Jan. 30. “I really liked the closeness of the team and the coaches. I thought it would be a good fit for me.”
Bodtmann, who made the decision last week, said he is awaiting the NLI paperwork from UMaine and will sign it.
Cosgrove is prohibiting from discussing a recruit until UMaine has received a signed NLI.
Bodtmann, who essentially had been out of the recruiting loop for nine months, had his hand forced when Nebraska rescinded its offer. He also made official visits to Western Carolina and Fordham, but decided to attend UMaine.
Bodtmann was recruited by Bears running backs coach Kevin Cahill.
Bodtmann said UMaine’s recent track record of sending players to the National Football League was one of the factors that influenced his decision.
“It wasn’t a major factor, but I think playing at the next level is every college football player’s dream,” Bodtmann said. “I definitely had that in mind when making my decision.”
Bodtmann was a two-way standout for the Invaders. He was the 18th-ranked player in Pennsylvania according to Rivals.com.
As a junior, he rushed for 1,452 yards and 22 touchdowns to help West Scranton win the District 2 Class AAA title. As a senior, Bodtmann was hampered by a significant injury.
“In the third game I had a fracture on my collarbone,” he explained. “I came back in the seventh game and played the rest of the games.”
Last fall, he rushed for 389 yards and four TDs.
Bodtmann said UMaine will evaluate him both as a linebacker and as a running back before deciding where to utilize his skills. He was projected as a defensive player at Nebraska, according to published reports.
“I don’t have a preference,” he said. “I’m going to come in and I have an opportunity to play either/or. I’ll take it.”
Bodtmann will spend the spring as a member of West Scranton’s track and field team. He does the high jump and throws discus and javelin.
He is glad to have the whole Nebraska mess and the recruiting process behind him.
“I’m glad I was able to find a fit where I felt comfortable and that that whole process is over now,” he said.
Bodtmann’s participation at UMaine is contingent upon his admission to the school and compliance with NCAA initial eligibility guidelines.