GREEN BAY – Henry Geil has been waiting for this moment, when the talents he displayed on the football field and the work he put in would be recognized.
The Green Bay Preble junior running back already had started to attract the interest of NCAA Division I schools even before his standout performance at the Edgy Tim/EFT Showcase in Illinois on Jan. 16, but it’s only gotten more intense in the days that have followed.
Iowa State, a school Geil has been in contact with since November, made an offer.
A coach from Central Michigan stopped by Preble last week to speak with the 6-foot, 190-pound prospect, while North Dakota State also called.
This likely is just the start for Geil, who is no rush to make a decision. He has no dream school he’s waiting on. He just wants to go to the place he and his family think suits him best.
“It’s kind of a weight being lifted off my shoulders,” Geil said. “Ever since I’ve been pretty young, this has been a dream of mine. To really succeed in what I’m doing. I’m a pretty competitive guy, so I like to always try to be the best at everything.
“I was always a pretty good athlete, but I never stood out. Just to kind of know that all the work that I put in when I was younger, just to know that it is all paying off now, it’s a really relieving feeling.”
Geil is the latest Hornets player to receive attention from Division I schools the past few years.
Former standout Will Daniels is now on scholarship at Northern Illinois. Coy Wanner, who started at quarterback the last two seasons, recently accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the University of Wisconsin while Paul Stefiuk committed to Bradly University for baseball.
Geil had a breakout season in 2016 while helping Preble reach the WIAA playoffs for a program-record sixth straight year. He ranked fifth in the Fox River Classic Conference with 768 rushing yards and third with 14 touchdowns. He also was the league’s top punt returner at 14.4 yards per return.
All this hoopla surrounding him isn’t surprising to Preble coach Tim Larsen, who sees Geil’s talent every day during the season.
“Henry is a great athlete,” Larsen said. “I think really why he’s a Division I caliber football player is the coaches are seeing on the film when they are going through their process of evaluating guys, they see right away he’s just very versatile.
“He’s just an all-around great athlete. You look at his speed, you look at his shiftiness. … there is a lot to work with.”
Geil was a running back growing up but played wideout for Preble early in his career and didn’t feel he was making much of an impact. But instead of having some doubts keep him down, he used them as motivation.
Still, his work is far from done.
He is spending the offseason adding muscle and also will go out for track and field for the first time this spring after previously playing baseball.
Geil knows he won’t have former Preble running back Darionne Hughes to help carry the load anymore, so he wants to be ready for a workhorse role and be prepared to take some punishment.
He loves the thought of his team counting on him to deliver.
“Offense, defense, I’d kick if it meant the game would be on me,” he said. “I just like my team so much to where if anybody is going to blame anybody, blame me. I’m really excited that I’m going to be able to take on the bulk of the work. Not so much so that I can get credit for it, but just so that the team can rely on me.”
He also has a desire to make it for reasons off the field. He was adopted a few days after being born in Florida and has never met his birth parents. Geil is confident he knows where he got his athletic ability after learning his mother played in the WNBA.
He would like to meet her at some point.
“I don’t think she knows who I am,” Geil said. “My biggest goal in life, to be honest, is to one day return and meet her and have something to show for it. Show her that she made the right choice. Obviously, she is not keeping tabs on me, but just show her and let her kind of live in peace and take weight off her shoulders.
“I want to go show her that the choice she made had benefits from it.”