Frank Hepler has coached the kind of high school football players that required no work on his part to get recruited by college programs. The three he introduced Wednesday in the Forsyth Central cafeteria were not that kind.
Mark Heard, Parker Jeppson and Matt Olson took work, by Hepler and even the players themselves, to come to the moment when each signed their letters of intent. Heard signed with Birmingham-Southern College, and Olson signed with Kennesaw State University.
Jeppson signed with Clarke University, mostly by his own effort. The defensive back got a late start this past season, but he still had 44 tackles with three pass deflections and an interception in seven games. He went looking for a place to play in college, and a childhood friend who had been offered by Clarke encouraged Jeppson to look into the program. The school had just announced it was adding a football team that will begin in 2019 as a member of the NAIA.
Jeppson went to work emailing Clarke’s coaches his highlight tape and kept in regular contact.
“You had to get out of your comfort zone,” Jeppson said. “I think it was definitely worth it in the long run.”
After visiting the Dubuque campus, Jeppson was sure Clarke was the right choice. The city reminded him of Savannah, the coaches were friendly and the school offered him a good financial package.
With his work done, Jeppson relished Wednesday’s ceremony.
“It feels really good,” Jeppson said. “It’s a relief. After searching through different colleges, it’s just a relief to sign today. I’m excited for what the future holds.”