Schwab: Geneva football's Hess to make a run at Indiana’s backfield

Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 5:32 a.m. CDT

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Geneva senior running back Bobby Hess faced that classic conundrum – go to the big school and face the long odds of a walk-on or choose a smaller program that offered a higher likelihood of major playing time.

Hess is opting for the tougher path.

After attending a day for prospective walk-ons for the Indiana football program in late January, Hess decided shortly thereafter to commit to the Hoosiers as a preferred walk-on.

He was likely bound for the Hoosier state regardless. Hess also was seriously considering playing at Butler before deciding to give Big Ten football a whirl.

“That was definitely something I had to think about,” Hess said. “It’s always been a dream and a goal of mine to be able to play on the big stage, to try to get that opportunity, and since this opened, I just thought I have to go for it.”

A Kane County Chronicle First-Team All-Area running back for the 2012 season, the elusive Hess rushed for 1,496 yards and 22 touchdowns for the 4-5 Vikings.

Hess said the meet-and-greet with IU coaches and players in January emboldened him that he’d be given a serious look in coach Kevin Wilson’s Hoosiers program. Wilson was a walk-on in college at North Carolina.

“First off their coach mentioned he was a walk-on, so he understands what we’re going through, and one of their tight ends who was a walk-on last year, I think the starter got hurt and he ended up getting some serious playing time last year as a freshman, so that was interesting,” Hess said.

Hess, currently gearing up for his senior season as an outfielder with the Geneva baseball team, attended a camp at IU last summer, and maintained a relationship with the Hoosiers’ coaching staff.

Hess intends to major in business. He plans to aggressively hit the weight room in hopes of making himself a viable prospect in the Hoosiers’ backfield.

“I really do think if I work hard enough I can get a chance and take advantage of it,” Hess said. “I really believe that.”

Meanwhile, one of the key Geneva offensive linemen who helped pave the way for Hess’ prowess – senior Connor Chapman – said Tuesday he continues to weigh his options, which include playing college football, college basketball or giving up sports in college.

A strong senior season in basketball made college hoops a late-developing possibility for the 6-foot-5 Chapman.

“I’d say probably football would be more natural for me but I think I’d enjoy either,” Chapman said.

Jorgensen heads west for success: While all the Tri-Cities basketball teams have been knocked out of the postseason, one Batavia resident can call himself a state champion.

Former Batavia player Michael Jorgensen, who transferred to Cornerstone Christian Academy in Sycamore for his final two years of high school, won the Association of Christian Schools International state tournament the week of Feb. 18.

Cornerstone stormed back from a 20-3, early deficit against a team from Collinsville in the championship game, played in Kankakee.

“It was probably the biggest deficit we faced all season, only losing four games before that, so we were definitely in the hole,” Jorgensen said. “I thought to myself I couldn’t ever lose focus or give up. … Luckily we got hot in the second quarter, and the game just worked from there. It was an incredible comeback.”

Jorgensen, who has committed to play college ball at Judson University, averaged about 21 points a game as a senior and was the team’s captain.

Jorgensen acknowledged a huge cultural shift transferring from a school of almost 2,000 students to one with about 50 students in the high school grades, but said he has appreciated the family atmosphere at Cornerstone.

“It definitely works with me,” Jorgensen said. “It’s something I’ve really loved over these last couple years.”

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or jschwab@shawmedia.com.

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