It took a good while before Darek Stachowski wanted to go to St. Cloud State to continue his impressive football career.
He committed more than a month after the February signing date.
The Sartell senior is an example of how hard it can be to make up your mind when so many colleges covet you, yet there isn’t much scholarship money being thrown around.
Stachowski was all set to go to Bemidji State, which showed the most interest early and, as an NCAA Divisiion II program, had money to offer.
He also considered St. Thomas and St. John’s University and had conversations with coaches from Minot State and St. Paul-Concordia.
“I don’t know if I was really feeling the Division III route,” Stachowski said. “There were five or six Division II schools that were in touch, and Bemidji State was the first to offer (a scholarship).”
He verbally committed, then had second thoughts.
“I just didn’t like it the more I talked about it,” Stachowski said. “It was just a gut feeling.
“I didn’t feel like I would fit in … I guess I’m a city kid.”
All the schools liked him because of his standout career at Sartell. He’s the school’s all-time leading rusher, an all-area and all-state player who was a work-horse running back for the Sabres, who won the Central Lakes Conference South Division with a 5-0 record then won the Section 8-5A title by beating Moorhead 34-27.
They made it to the state quarterfinals, losing to Simley 44-20 at St. Cloud State.
He started coming around on going to SCSU in January.
“I remember when their coaches (at SCSU) came to talk to us and I met (head coach Scott) Underwood and it seemed to click,” Stachowski said. “Obviously, living so close to St. Cloud State is nice for my family and friends.
“It seems like the right fit for a college for me.”
The Huskies have an ally in Sartell head coach Scott Hentges, who was a former star defensive back and captain at SCSU.
“(We) talked about it and it just seemed like it would fit,” he said.
Stachowski said a former Sartell teammate at SCSU, offensive lineman T.J. Bevans, was a big help, too.
“T.J. was another factor,” Stachowski said. “He influenced me, told me about the redshirt process.
“He explained a lot.”
At SCSU, he’s thinking about an exercise science major, but that’s not etched in granite.
“To be honest, that could switch in a matter of seconds,” he said. “Things could change.”
In the meantime, he’s looking forward to wrapping up his senior year at Sartell. He says he’ll continue training and working out in preparation for college, where he may be in for a position change.
“They’re talking about maybe a defensive back or outside linebacker,” Stachowski said. “I want to get out there, start working hard and try to be a contributor as soon as possible.
“Obviously, I’m excited to find a college, to find my home. It’s also definitely a relief.”
This is the opinion of Times prep sports coordinator Tom Elliott. Contact him at 259-3661 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @sctimestom.