By Brent Huelsmann
After one of the most successful seasons in Nashville Hornets football history, two key players from that team, will continue their athletics at the college level. Royce Newman, and Hunter Schultze each signed their letters of intent to play, on National Signing Day, February 3. Newman, after previously being committed to the University of Missouri, changed his commitment to the University of Mississippi after visiting Oxford in January. Schultze, the all-time career yardage leader for Nashville High School, signed on to play at the McKendree University in Lebanon IL.
Hornets coach Tim Kuhn talked about what Schultze and Newman have meant to the program over the last four years. “Both of these guys, just continued to grow, and just tremendous, tremendous young men. We talked all the tiem about doing things right, and both of these young men are examples of doing right inside and outside of the program.” Kuhn went on to mention that the jmpact that Schultze, and Newman have had on the program is unmeasureable.
Kuhn talked about how far Schultze and Newman have came during their time in the program, “ what's kinda really neat is to watch the progression from freshmen to senior, and the growth that they've shown, in terms of not just themselves, but the program and everyobdy that they've had the chance to impact or touch.”
After a four year career for the Hornets, Hunter Schultze will suit up for the McKendree Bearcats next season. Schultze finished his Hornets' career with 3,982 total yards on offense, which eclipsed Justin Morris for the all-time record. Schultze finished with 1,211 yards rushing and 530 yards receiving during his senior year. Schultze scored 16 touchdowns during his senior year.
When asked why he chose McKendree, Schultze said, “ they just came to me and asked me to come on a visit, I went on the visit and just kinda fell in love with it. It wasn't too big, and it's not too small. I was looking at Lindenwood-Belleville, it was just a little too small, and McKendree is the perfect size and a lot of kids I know go there.”
When asked what he will miss the most, Schultze said “just the team, the family, the bond that I have with the guys you know, going deep in the playoffs my junior year and senior year and being able to experience it with the guys I grew up with since I was little.”
Coach Tim Kuhn praised the type of player Schultze is, “he's a young man that if he sticks to it, who knows where he's going.”
Although Schultze is the all-time career offense leader at Nashville, Schultze will be suiting up on defense at least to start. When asked about his role, Schultze said “ they've got me at linebacker right now, to see how that goes and see what I can do. But that might change, it could vary, but for now that's where they got me at.” Schultze said he expects to be a red-shirt freshman next season, and that he needs to get in the weight room to put on some muscle.
While at McKendree, Schultze will join fellow Nashville alumni Chase Hagene and Peyton Renken. Schultze plans on studying Criminal Justice. McKendree University is a division II school and plays in the Great Lakes Valley Conference
After receiving offers from Missouri, Nebraska, and Illinois just to name a few, Royce Newman signed his letter of intent to play football at the University of Mississippi next season. Newman finished his career at Nashville High School as the all time leading receiver with 67 receptions and 1,120 receiving yards. Newman finished his senior year with 37 receptions, 3rd most in one season in Nashville history tied with Ethan Reid, and 732 yards, another school record.
When asked why Newman chose Ole Miss, Newman said “ Coach (Hugh) Freeze and Coach (Matt) Luke and everyone were really awesome and the whole college atmosphere feel to it. I felt more comfortable at Ole Miss.” Newman said at the end it came down to Missouri, Nebraska, and Ole Miss.
Although Newman, played tight end at Nashville High School, he will have a new position awaiting him in Oxford. Newman will play on the offensive line for the Rebels. When asked about the position change, Hornets coach Tim Kuhn said “ if there's anybody thats gonna go do it, it's Royce Newman.”
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze also offered his opinion on Newman, "Royce Newman is a guy we got in on late, and (offensive line coach) Matt Luke did a great job of building the relationship with that family. Once they came on their visit, they knew this was the place for them. I think a lot of schools were on him late. He’s so athletic; he played tight end most of his time in high school. We think he’s going to be an extremely athletic offensive tackle in time and will fit in our system very, very well."
Newman knows he has a lot of work ahead of him, at one of the premier programs in college football, “It's gonna be a major transition, the guys are gonna be a lot bigger, than they are now in high school, it'll be something to get used to. I'll have to work hard and put on some weight.”
Newman says although the second place finish at state in basketball is a close second, his favorite memory will be this past football season. “ This past season making it to the final four with my brothers. And that New Berlin game was probably the craziest becase, we were down, and at the very last second we scored that touchdown, it was nuts.”
The University of Mississippi plays in the SEC, which has produced eight out of the last ten national champions including the most recent champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama's only loss this season was to Ole Miss on September 19.