Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WAVERLY — Payton Shoemaker has found a new home.
After four successful years at the high school level, Shoemaker announced his commitment to become a collegiate football player at Indiana Wesleyan University, via Twitter, on Monday evening.
Shoemaker told Southern Ohio Sports Authority that his faith and the interest IWU’s coaching staff showed had a huge impact on his decision.
“The coaching staff showed interest in me when no one else did. Also, they are very family-oriented and have shown that they really care throughout the recruiting process,” Shoemaker said. “Also, I will be able to grow in Christ and as a football player.”
Shoemaker is the second area athlete to commit to IWU in the past two months. Before him, Southeastern’s Lane Ruby made his decision.
Like Ruby, Shoemaker’s family and friends played a central role in the process.
“They have meant a lot. I’ve prayed a lot but I have had countless conversations with family, friends, teammates and coaches,” Shoemaker said. “They all have been there throughout this process and I am extremely grateful for them.”
This past fall, Shoemaker was a first-team All-Ohio selection and the Division IV District Offensive Player of the Year.
He ended his final season by setting new school records with 2,328 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns while leading the Tigers to a 9-3 overall record and the team’s fourth straight playoff appearance.
He’ll now join a program that finished 6-4 last season with a 3-3 mark in the Mid-States Football Association.
“It’s a great honor and blessing where all thanks goes to God,” Shoemaker said. “I couldn’t be in this position without him. I’m really excited and it’s a moment where you can see hard work being rewarded. It’s just beginning, though. It’s time to keep working.”