v Faces in KS: Drew Schmelzle - Sports in Kansas
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Faces in KS: Drew Schmelzle

Drew Schmelzle is a breakout recruit in the state of Kansas for 2021. photo courtesy of Schmelzle
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Jul 29, 2020

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Sabetha High School sports have made a lot of statewide headlines in recent memory and for good reason. The Bluejays won back to back 3A state football titles in 2017 and 2018 under Garrett Michael while also going back to back in 3A baseball in 2018 and 2019 under Aaron Frey without getting a chance to three-peat in 2020 due to Covid-19. Gone are the names from those title teams you may remember like Elliott Strahm, Joseph Gruber, Gabe Garber, Carson Ukele, and Cauy Rokey. One name that does return for the 2020 football season is senior Drew Schmelzle.

Schmelze is next in line to be a name to remember in Sabetha as he enters year number three as a football starter. He became the first football player from Sabetha earlier this summer to pick up an FBS full-ride football offer from the Division I level since the 1980s as he picked up an offer from both Tulane and Akron. The 6-foot-4 and 205-pound senior tight end and linebacker is looking to be one of the best two-way players in the state this season. He earned Sports in Kansas All-Non Senior honors last season as a junior, a list that honors the best players in the state that are not seniors.

Schmelzle blew up in recruiting in the off-season because he gained nearly 20 pounds since last summer and has 4.56 40-yard dash speed. He has also really got in done in the weight room in the offseason as he features a 295 clean, 405 squat, and 260 bench. He also features a vertical of 35 inches. College recruiters like his length, physicality and speed at the linebacker position. They feel that he can put on 25-30 pounds and keep his speed. He is also an all-state catcher in baseball that missed his senior season. Drew can also play a variety of positions besides tight end and linebacker which include safety, defensive end and receiver.

Schmelzle works as hard in the classroom as he does on the field. He features a perfect 4.0 GPA and his favorite subjects are chemistry and physical science.

Sabetha, led by Michael who has two titles in 2017 and 2018, may not have had the season they wanted last year in 3A with a 6-3 record but six starters return on the offense led by offensive coordinator Josh Wertenberger and five on the defense led by defensive coordinator Nathan Bauman. Michael will depend on Schmelzle for leadership this season as well as his ability to be a game changer on the field.

Sabetha will certainly be a team to keep an eye on in Class 3A. The Bluejays are in a district with Hiawatha, Holton, Royal Valley, Jefferson West and Rock Creek.

Chet Kuplen of Sports in Kansas on Schmelzle

“First off, Sabetha is a great place with great people. A true sports town with incredible community support. They have been really good to us at Sports in Kansas as I’ve gotten to know several people really closely there over the last few years. Big thanks to David Glynn as I really enjoyed bringing the power of social media tour there last year and getting to talk to all of the students. I love every chance I get to talk to on the radio or see Coach Michael, great guy. As far as Drew, I have been really impressed with him. I first met Drew last summer in Dodge City at our Sports in Kansas Shrine Bowl Combine. He was a kid I had my eye on because he was a 6-foot-4 kid entering junior year. However, he was very, very light at the time. I next saw Drew in January at our power of social media tour in Sabetha, February at our baseball combine and then a few weeks back at Sharp Combine. The kid doesn’t look like the same person from last year in Dodge City. He has really added a lot of muscle and kept his speed. They’ve had some players that have jumped off the page and were under-recruited at Sabetha because of size whether that’s been Strahm, Rokey or Garber, but the difference with Drew is he has the size/speed at 6-foot-4 that can get those offers and that’s why we’ve seen those FBS offers. I am expecting him to be one of the best players in the state this year. He’s a very physical backer with great speed. Colleges that i've talked to about him love his length and speed. When we sent his stuff to Tulane I know they loved his film and the way he could run for how tall he is. They really feel he can add 25-to-30 pounds within a couple years with that same speed and be a standout backer. He can fit multiple spots if needed and has some versality but personally I like him as a linebacker. He will definitely need more weight but look at what he's done in one years time. Imagine what he could look like in 2022 or 2023, I think he will be up for the challenge. Hats off to him for changing his body over the last year to have a shot to be a Division I recruit.”

This feature is presented by Keim TS. Proud to support Sabetha High School Athletics. Best of luck this season. 

The Sabetha community is very proud of Dvew Schmelzle for being chosen by Sports in Kansas as a features preseason all-state football player for the 2020 season. It's an honor for Community National Bank to help sponsor such a fine young man and very gifted athlete. Congratulations Drew! 

Horizon PSI - Our business is Your Business - Proud to support Sabetha High School Football.

Rainbow Communications is a proud supporter of high school sports coverage in the state of Kansas. 


Q&A w/ Schmelzle 

How did you get involved in football?

I watched football until I was old enough to play and I’ve loved the game for as long as I can remember. 

What are your goals this season?

This year I’m focusing on team leadership and passing on the traditions of the Sabetha football to the underclassmen. I also want to fine tune the little details of my game on both sides of the ball. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure we make it as far as we can in the playoffs. 

Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?

Yes, we always have a shot. Our young underclassmen need to to step up and help out but we’ve got all the pieces we need to be a real threat. 

What makes you such a force as a player?

I’m a great combination of big, fast, strong and smart. I’m a tall athlete at 6’4” and I’ve worked for 4 years to fill out and bulk up and I made it to 204 this spring. I put in a lot of work to improve my speed and my 40 time dropped to 4.56. But I think my greatest asset is my ability to learn whatever I’m coached and make reads well on defense. 

What’s the atmosphere like to play football on Friday night for your school and town?  

The community support we get from the people in Sabetha is unrivaled by any other town. There is an energy that hits the whole town of Sabetha at about 6:30 when everyone knows the game starts at 7. We always have a huge amount of fans no matter who the opponent is and the fans really get into the game and they get loud for us. The school gets behind the football team and they really support us and our student section is always ready.

For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?

Sabetha is a hidden gem and our stadium is very unique. The community goes crazy for our football team and there are always tons of fans and they get loud. You’re gonna hear louder pops on the field than you will at most places because our guys know how to bring it. Football at Sabetha is a tradition like no other and it is a great experience and a special atmosphere.

Who are other key players on your team?

Everyone who steps on the field in a Bluejay uniform. More specifically, Kaden Dillon our quarterback. Ross Duncan and Michael Gugelman in the backfield. Noah Nonnast and Riley Lierz out wide. Thad Menold at linebacker. Brycen Hartley, Kaleb Evans, and Ethan Mitchell on both sides of our line. 

Favorite thing about football?

The brotherhood aspect and the togetherness of a football team. You take guys of different sizes, speeds, and backgrounds to make a team. You need everyone to do their job to make the team successful. Guys are putting their bodies on the line for their team and it’s amazing to be a part of. Football is truly unlike any other sport.

Do you play any other sports, tell us about that, what other positions do you play?

I’m addition to being a versatile athlete in football, I also play basketball and baseball. I play a post position in basketball because of my height and lack of shooting ability. I mainly just get after rebounds, my single game best is 18 rebounds. In baseball, my sophomore I was an All-State player catching for Sabetha’s 2019 state championship team. 

What is it like to play for your coach?

I truly believe we have the best coaching staff in the state at Sabetha. They love what they do and they make every athlete feel like they are important. Coach Michael bases everything he does on the standard of “Faith, Family, Football” and he makes sure we keep our priorities in that order. When you play for Coach Michael, you’re playing for a coach who cares about you outside of football. He does an exceptional job at taking 14 year old kids, working with them for four years, and sending them out into the world as best as possible. It’s very easy to trust Coach Michael and the rest of the assistant coaches and everyone is always focused on the same goals.

What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better?

During the school year I was extremely focused in the weight room and ended up breaking a few records at Sabetha. I did a lot of lifting weights, resistance band workouts, agility, and sprint workouts while we were out of school because of the virus. As a team, a few of us would get together a couple times a week to do conditioning before our summer weights and practices started. 

What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?

I’ve received interest from coaches at all levels of athletic competition. I want to play football at the highest level in college. My main interest is in my FBS offers. I have not made any decisions on which school to play for. 

Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?

Eat pretty much anything off a grill, or sit out by a fire.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I haven’t decided on a career path or where I want to go. So as long as I’m alive and healthy in 10 years, I’ll be satisfied.

Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?

I work as hard in the classroom as I do on the field. I enjoy learning about chemistry and the physical sciences. My GPA has never been lower than a 4.0.

Who is your role model?

Gabe Garber. He’s a legend in Sabetha and widely known around Kansas. He had more success in his high school career and he’s also the most humble person I’ve ever met. Gabe just does things the right way.

Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?

Buzz Cafe, great hospitality, great food, great pie. 

One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?

I do what I do to repay those who have invested in me and been with me since the beginning. I have worked hard to show the young kids in my community that it’s possible to make it to the Division 1 level from a small town.

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