Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs senior Will Zimmerer signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play football at Mesa State.
Zimmerer, an offensive lineman, will join Joe Ramunno, the current coach of the Mavericks. Ramunno is a former Sailors football standout.
"He's a legend here," Zimmerer said of Ramunno. "It was easy to persuade me to go there."
Zimmerer will likely red shirt next season, as he hopes to put more than 30 pounds on his approximately 6-foot frame.
"He'll definitely get bigger and stronger," Steamboat coach Mark Drake said. "This is so exciting for him to have the opportunity to play. There's nothing like going to college to play ball, especially when you have that burning desire to play."
Mesa State contacted Zimmerer about joining its program in December, and while Zimmerer may not be the largest member of the Mavericks' team, Drake is confident Zimmerer will be one of their hardest workers.
Ramunno, Drake said, wants football players eager to learn under his watch. In Zimmerer, Ramunno found an athlete determined to improve, and that's what stands out most about the senior, Drake added.
"I really liked the things they were saying," Zimmerer said of the Mesa State coaches. "They were right on track. The coaches sounded like they cared."
Despite being contacted at the outset of the wrestling season, Zimmerer said it was easy to remain focused on the sport at hand. In fact, Ramunno encouraged him to work hard in wrestling during the winter and track this spring.
"Lifting is good," Zimmerer said. "But the most important thing they said is to compete."
Zimmerer plans on throwing shot and discus and running distance events for the Sailors track and field team this spring, but he is already eager to get on the football field. He has a bad taste in his mouth after disappointing ends to both his senior wrestling and football seasons. Zimmerer failed to qualify for the state wrestling tournament, and the Sailors football team missed out on the playoffs.
"How the season ended in football and how it ended in wrestling, I'm excited to get going again in a sport I care about," Zimmerer said. "It's always been a dream of mine to play in college."
Mesa State is a Division II school in Grand Junction. The Mavericks are members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.