Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Central Catholic linebacker Griffin Baumoel knows what he’s signing up for.
The four-year starter for the Crusaders is aware his signature means something a little different, a little extra than most high school football players on National Signing Day.
Still, Baumoel is ready. The co-captain of Central’s 2016 Division V state-championship team is anxious to tackle the challenges - and opportunities - that await him in Annapolis, Md.
Baumoel officially committed to the United States Naval Academy Wednesday morning.
“I have a lot of ambitions and they aren’t all just on the football field,” Baumoel said. “I wanted to find a place that would put me in the best possible position moving forward. The Naval Academy felt like the right place to do that.”
Baumoel, who was named the AP’s Division V defensive player of the year last fall, enjoyed an extraordinary career at Central. He logged over 50 games overall and helped his team reach the state finals in Columbus three years in a row. The last of which ended with a ring on his finger as the Crusaders memorably came from behind to dethrone four-time defending state champion Coldwater back in December.
The All-Ohio middle linebacker recorded well over 100 tackles during his senior campaign and also scored four touchdowns as a fullback on offense. All that just added to a wonderful ride through high school that Baumoel has quickly come to appreciate.
“Coming to Central is the best decision I’ve ever made,” Baumoel said. “Thinking about that final game, everything before it was worth it. I couldn’t be more proud of how it ended.”
The next step for the 6-foot-2, 210-pound inside backer will be entirely different. Not only will he have to focus on improving his football skills for the Division I-FBS level, but he’ll have a lot more on his plate, too.
Attending Navy means ultra-high academic standards, not to mention the service aspect of the commitment. Those were things, however, that just added to what made the school special for Baumoel.
“I always thought serving my country would be such a cool thing,” he said. “Being able to move up through the ranks and get a top-notch education is just a perfect set up.”
Baumoel says he’ll arrive on-campus at the end of June to begin training - for school, not football. In fact, athletics likely won’t even be on his mind until later in the summer. But Baumoel, rated as a two-to-three-star recruit by most national databases, realizes how unique his college experience will be. It also helps him plan for the future as he starts down a career path in the military.
“It’s basically a nine-year commitment,” Baumoel explained. “Four years of school, five years of service. I’ll come out 27-years-old. It’s such a big commitment and career choice, but it’s something I want to do.”
Baumoel made a verbal commitment to the Midshipmen last summer. That was the plan all along, according to the Crusader standout. He wanted to focus on being the type of leader Central needed on the gridiron entering his senior season, rather than get tied down by the always-ongoing recruiting process.
That, among many other things, shows just what kind of person Baumoel has become during his time at Central. It also shows the type of individual that is tailor-made for such a prestigious place like Annapolis.
One thing is certain. The entire Central Catholic community will be rooting for him.
“He’s such a quality young man,” Central coach Jeff Lindesmith said. “Football has been such a great vehicle for him. But the way he accepts his education, his community and now his country, that’s something to be proud of.”
Reach Joe at 330-775-1129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @jmitchinINDE