January 7, 2009

Fantuzzi Makes It Official

For most high school football players who will be playing college football in the fall, National Signing Day is February 4. However, some players elect to graduate early and enroll in the college of their choice for the spring semester. In their case, they must sign their conference's letter of intent before they enroll in classes.

This was the case with Central Michigan commit Jeff Fantuzzi, who has enrolled early at CMU and will be moving up to Mount Pleasant tomorrow.

Friends, family, and coaches gathered at Macomb (Mich.) Dakota High School to watch Jeff sign his letter of intent and make his allegiance to Central Michigan official. This closed the book on a high school career that included two state championships and three consecutive conference championships.

Dakota head coach Mike Giannone had several positive things to say about Jeff and what he contributed to the Dakota program, which has put three linemen in Division 1 football programs, one (Kyle Cook) who made the NFL. He also used the event to challenge his players to work hard to achieve what Jeff has.

"Leadership, hard work, and dedication have been a mainstay for Jeff," Coach Giannone said. "He has went from being just a big kid to a strong tough football player and I think a lot of our guys emulate that. It's been an ongoing tradition now and I think he will continue that tradition at Central Michigan."

Coach Giannone also had some sound advice for Jeff as he makes his way to the next stage of his football career.

"When things get tough, fight through them," Coach Giannone said. "Don't go around them. Go through them. Things will get tough. Adversity's going to hit. Coaches might get on him a little bit. Things won't go his way all the time but fight through it. That's the key."

Chippewacountry was also able to speak with Jeff, who was excited to begin his career as a Central Michigan Chippewa.

"It felt good to finish this recruiting process," Fantuzzi said. "It's been a long trip. It's nice to finally be signed. I'm going up there tomorrow and I'm real excited to just get up there."

"I can't even describe it, to be honest with you," Fantuzzi continued. "I've got every feeling going on in the world. I'm nervous. I'm excited. I don't know what to expect. All of these different things are going to happen and I'm excited about it."

Fantuzzi will be rooming with fellow early enrollee Jason Johnson, a defensive back from Durand.

"We've been on the phone a lot getting everything all set up," Fantuzzi said. "I like Jason a lot. He is a real good guy and we should have a great semester together."

Jeff is also looking forward to being able to stay in touch with the rest of the recruits in his class.

"Our class is already really tight and we have some great relationships," Fantuzzi said. "I'm looking forward to helping getting everyone else on board. Even when we have the spring game, I can talk to guys visiting and tell them that I'm your age and I'm going through this right now too."

While he is moving on to Central Michigan, Jeff had glowing remarks in regards to his time as a Dakota Cougar.

"It's been everything to me," Fantuzzi said. "I've learned everything that I have from there. They made me learn how to work hard. It's Dakota and it's been my life for four years. Now I've got to switch hats and go be a Chippewa."

Stick with Chippewacountry as we continue to bring you all of the latest on Central Michigan athletics.

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