A year off did little to deter Steven Szczepanik's goals. In fact, it only fueled his desire to play college football.
A 2010 graduate of Bluffton High School, Szczepanik has spent the past year studying at USC-Beaufort. But in the back of his mind, he has kept his dream of playing football alive, spending his free time lifting weights and practicing his long-snapping.
"I've known for a long time that I wanted to play football beyond high school," he said. "... I just love to hit people, so I've always loved football and wanted to play in college."
He made his goal a reality Tuesday, when he signed a letter of intent to attend Newberry to play football in the fall.
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Szczepanik, a two-way player in high school, will play defensive line for Newberry, he said, and will also try to work his way into the team's long-snapping role.
Name: Steven Szczepanik
High school: Bluffton High School
High school coach: Jeremy West
Position: Defensive line, long-snapper
Probable major: Physical education
About Newberry: The Wolves finished 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the South Atlantic Conference in the fall 2010 season, Todd Knight's second season as Newberry's head coach.
Why Newberry? "I went on a visit there and fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere," Szczepanik said. "I knew it's where I wanted to go."
Other schools considered: Coastal Carolina, Campbell University (N.C.), Presbyterian
Accolades: Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette all-area team (2009)