May 1 was National College
Decision Day when hundreds of high
school athletic recruits commit to a college
and sign on with a team. Competition is intense
between colleges as they battle to secure
the top athletes from around the country
that will make a good fit with a particular
school and program.
The elite athletes offered a slot on a college
team end up scattered across the country.
Rarely do students from the same high
school in a small town in rural America land
on the same college team.
Pinedale seniors Sammy White and Josef
McCulloch will hang up their Wrangler uniforms
for the last time this month to play
football for the Iowa Wesleyan University
Tigers this fall.
“We don’t purposely (recruit athletes)
from the same high school, but it does
happen,” said IW’s Head Football Coach
Michael Richtman. “With White and Mc-
Culloch, we got a two-for-one deal that will
be great for Wesleyan.”
Ritchman added that he is looking forward
to the oncoming freshmen joining the
program. White and McCulloch both made
the long trip to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, a few
weeks ago to meet the coaches and prospective
The recruiting process starts early, and
Richtman explained that he and his staff use
online resources to find high school players
with talent and potential. McCulloch caught
the eye of an assistant coach a year ago. The
coaches took another look at the Wranglers
and decided that White also had a lot to offer.
McCulloch will likely play as a linebacker,
“McCulloch is kind of like a quarterback
for defense,” he said. “We noticed that he
communicated well with players on his
team. He’s a good downhill player. He’s not
big, but he plays really physically.”
Richtman is considering White as a slot
“White showed an athleticism that will fit
in offense,” he explained. “He’s got experience
catching the ball and running out of
slots. He’s a competitor and shows a lot of
Richtman added that players like White
and McCulloch who hail from small teams
where they have to play both defense and
offense bring invaluable experience to any
A new team, a new start
White and McCulloch are both looking
forward to starting with the Tigers when they
arrive on campus for the first week of football
camp on Aug. 13. The seniors both said
that they are a little anxious about attending
a school far from home.
“I’m nervous about playing as a freshman
with kids I don’t know,” White said. “I grew
up playing with the same team (in Pinedale).
At least I will have (McCulloch) in Iowa.”
McCulloch agreed, saying that he was
hesitant about going to college several states
away. Having a Wrangler and friend with
him will help a lot with the challenge of
adapting to college, he explained.
White and McCulloch are year-round,
multi-sport athletes and excelled on the
Wrangler football starting line this fall.
This winter, McCulloch was part of the senior
group that led the Wrangler basketball
team to the state tournament. White was a
key player on the Pinedale Glaciers hockey
team that won the state championship. This
spring, the young men are braving the elements
with their teammates on the soccer
Despite all their combined athletic experience,
White and McCulloch said that they
have a lot of work ahead of them as college
“The adjustment to the next level will be
difficult,” McCulloch said. “I plan to get in
there and do whatever it takes to be a starter.”
McCulloch added that his father was an
inspiration, “pushing me to keep playing”
even when he wasn’t sure about continuing
White is excited by the opportunity to
continue playing football after graduation
from high school at the end of the month.
“I’m looking forward to playing college
football,” White said. “My dad played college
football for the University of Utah and I
want to follow in his footsteps.”
The young men admitted they have an understandable
case of senioritis, but said they
will miss their friends.
McCulloch plans to major in special education.
“(Iowa Wesleyan) has a good education
program,” he said. “I want to help people
and I work really well with kids who have
White is interested in math and science,
but from a more “hands on” approach. He
is interested in pursuing a major in electrical
The first thing the young men said they
noticed about Iowa was the humidity. But
they said their experience meeting the
coaches and the athletes who will now be
their teammates was positive.
“It was great to meet (White and McCulloch),”
Richtman said of their visit in March.
“It solidified for me that these guys will be
a good fit for Iowa Wesleyan. They gelled
with the other kids on the team really well.”