Updated: Monday, December 28, 2015
JACKSON TWP. For Jack Tirmonia, Northwestern University offers the best of both the athletic and the academic worlds.
The Jackson High School senior wide receiver with the good hands and the Ivy League-caliber brain is too smart to pass on that.
Tirmonia announced Monday that he has committed to play football for the Wildcats as a preferred walk-on after originally committing to Brown University in August.
Tirmonia said Northwestern began showing interest in him late this regular season. He was invited to the Evanston, Illinois, campus for a recruiting visit and saw the Wildcats — currently ranked 12th by The Associated Press — beat Penn State with a late field goal Nov. 8.
Then Northwestern offered him a preferred walk-on spot Dec. 16.
“It took a lot of thought and consideration over the last couple of months,” Tirmonia said. “But at the end of the day, this is where I think I’ll be the most comfortable and what will be the best opportunity for me. It was a gut-wrenching decision to not go to Brown and tell those coaches there. But I know I made the right decision.”
At Northwestern, Tirmonia, who finished his junior year with a weighted 4.3 GPA, gets to play FBS college football while receiving about as close to an Ivy League education as one can get without actually being in the Ivy League. He is leaning toward majoring in business.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Tirmonia caught 44 passes for 645 yards and eight touchdowns this past fall as the Polar Bears went 5-5. He earned first-team honors for All-Northeast Inland District and All-Federal League.
Playing Big Ten football has special meaning for Tirmonia. His grandfather, Jerry Krisher, is a Massillon product who played for Woody Hayes at Ohio State and helped the Buckeyes win the 1954 national championship as an offensive lineman.
When Tirmonia told his grandfather of his decision to switch to Northwestern, Krisher searched through his office and produced a recruiting letter that Northwestern sent him more than 60 years ago.
“It was really cool,” Tirmonia said.
Tirmonia is encouraged by the fact that one of the Wildcats’ top receivers (junior Austin Carr) arrived at Northwestern as a walk-on and now is on full scholarship. He also points out that the holder (junior Christian Salem) for the game-winning field goal against Penn State is a walk-on.
Said Tirmonia, “I know I’ll have a good opportunity to contribute there in the future if I work by butt off.”
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