White and McCulloch sign with Iowa Wesleyan University

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,

Richtman said.

“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

football players.

“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

with football.

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.”