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Next Stop: Rutgers

Snyder Signs Letter Of Intent To Play For Scarlet Knights

Above, Cole Snyder speaks at Southwestern Central School on Wednesday when he signed a national letter of intent to play football at Rutgers University. Pictured to Cole’s left are his sister, Kayla, and his father, Ron. P-J photos by Scott Kindberg

At mid-afternoon Wednesday, Southwestern High School’s gymnasium was the place to be, at least if you followed the Trojans’ football team even a little bit this fall.

On one side of the gym, family, friends, administrators, teachers, staff and coaches alternately took their turn for a photo opportunity with quarterback Cole Snyder.

On the other side, seated in the bleachers, were members of the football team, who were there to support their co-captain and friend.

And high above it all, mounted on the wall, was a flat-screen television which displayed still images of No. 15 during game action.

While in many respects it felt like a “thank-you-Cole” moment for what Snyder had done for the school — both on and off the field — during his storied career, it was actually a celebration for what is to come for the 6-foot, 193-pounder.

Southwestern senior Cole Snyder signs his letter of intent to play football at Rutgers University on Wednesday. Pictured, in front, from left, are: Kayla Snyder, Cole’s sister; Ron Snyder, Cole’s father; Cole Snyder; and Tammy Snyder, Cole’s mother. In back are: Scott Cooper, Southwestern high school principal; Robyn Kayner, Southwestern guidance counselor; Jehuu Caulcrick, Trojans football coach; Maureen O’Donahue, Southwestern superintendent; Kevin Salisbury, Southwestern athletic director; Aaron Emley, Trojans assistant coach; and John Kinder, Trojans assistant coach.

Six months after making a verbal commitment to continue his academic and football career at Rutgers University, Snyder made it official yesterday when he signed his national letter of intent to attend the New Jersey school.

“Words can’t describe (what it means) just to be part of that family,” Snyder said. “You walk into that (football) building and you can just tell what they’re building. I’m so excited to be part of it.”

Snyder certainly put up the numbers to draw attention from many colleges, but it was the opportunity to play in the Big Ten that was the greatest attraction.

“Going into his sophomore season, I sat down with him and his parents, and we set goals and (asked him), ‘What do you want to do?'” Trojans head coach Jehuu Caulcrick said. “One of his goals was to play football in the Big Ten. It’s great to see it come to fruition today.”

Yesterday’s signing capped 3¢ months of highlights for Snyder and the Trojans, who reached the Section VI Class C championship game for the third straight season.

Cole hugs Trojans football coach Jehuu Caulcrick.

Along the way, Snyder completed 140 of 222 passes for 2,069 yards and 37 touchdowns. For his career, he completed 376 of 662 passes for 5,302 yards and 75 TDs.

“(Playing at Southwestern) has prepared me so much, not just the coaching staff and teaching me everything they know, but also my teammates having my back,” he said. “I really feel they had my back the whole time I’ve been here, and the community has been so supportive. Everything has been so awesome.”

Ironically, Snyder — an accomplished hockey player — had considered not playing football when he was in seventh grade.

“I played in eighth grade, and in ninth grade Coach Caulcrick came along and he had a big part of me loving the game of football. He let me play different, he let me have fun with it, let me go out there and celebrate and do what I like to do. They call me ‘Sauce,’ (because) I let my personality flow. … Now, I’m continuing my career at Rutgers. It’s just unbelievable.”

Snyder said he hasn’t had many conversations with the Scarlet Knights’ coaching staff about whether he’ll red-shirt next fall. Rutgers finished 1-11 overall and 0-9 in the Big Ten East this season.

“I’m just going to go in there and compete, and that’s been the message since day one,” he said.

Rutgers head coach Chris Ash told the Big Ten Network on Wednesday that “we’re really excited about Cole.”

“Clear back from our spring evaluations and our summer camp circuit, he was all over the place,” he said. “We’re really fired up about his fit in our offense. His senior year he was tremendous. He had a lot of production. … He’s a great fit for our culture.”

The competition will begin soon. In fact, Snyder will graduate from Southwestern late next month and, two days later, will be a student/athlete at Rutgers.

“It will be a quick move, but I’m definitely excited about it,” he said. “I’ll get out there, start taking classes and begin conditioning up until spring ball, and once spring ball starts it’s ‘go time.'”

Rutgers’ location and its academic offerings were also attractive to Snyder, who is an outstanding student.

“The business program is exceptional there and the location is pretty much perfect,” he said. “It’s 45 minutes from New York City and an hour from Philadelphia. … I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

Caulcrick, who signed his national letter of intent to attend Michigan State University in February 2003, can relate to how Snyder felt yesterday.

“I’m just so happy, because it happened to such a great kid and a hard worker,” he said.

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