One of the best and brightest student-athletes at Saint Ignatius High School will be playing Division I college football next season.
Jett Elad, a cornerback on the Wildcats' football team, has committed to Ohio University.
Elad announced the decision on Twitter on Sunday, completing a year-long process that saw the senior receive offers and interest from all across the Midwest and the country.
In the end, the decision came down to the quality of the education at OU, along with a great Bobcats coaching staff.
"Ohio offered me during the summer. My top two were Eastern Michigan and Ohio," Elad said. "I had a really good friend at EMU who was telling me to come there, but I have a lot of friends at Ohio and I liked the school better. One of the coaches came to visit me at practice a couple weeks ago when they had a bye week. He had two days to visit any recruit he wanted to, and he chose me on the first day. That meant a lot to me."
Ohio University will be a great fit for Elad. The senior plans to study business or econ, as he hopes to become a financial advisor. Bloomberg recently ranked OU's business school as among the best in the country.
Head Football Coach Chuck Kyle '69 believes Elad made a great choice in OU.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for him, OU is a wonderful school," Kyle said. "If you look at their record, they're always in the top one or two teams in the MAC, and they've been to a lot of bowl games. So from a football perspective, that's fun. OU is also a beautiful school, and it's a great education. It's great for the development of Jett, I'm very happy for him."
Elad certainly earned the attention from OU and other schools. The 6'1, 180-pound defensive back has starred at cornerback during his time as a Wildcat.
Last season, Elad 33 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 9 pass breakups, a blocked kick, and an interception he returned for a touchdown vs. Euclid. This year, Elad has notched 15 tackles, second only to Tommy Eichenberg's 39. Elad also has 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups, and 2 blocked kicks.
"Jett does a great job with man coverage. Sometimes you just say, 'Cover him,' and I don't care if it's high school, college, or pro, you need someone to lock it down," said Kyle. "That allows you to do a lot of other stuff with blitzes. It's a combination of some man and some zone, and he does a very good job of handling that. If we decide to play zone, he knows the concept and has done a really nice job this year. A lot of times, teams avoid him. He's quite deserving. He's a good size, too, a lot of colleges said he could play corner, or play safety. He can fill various spots for OU."
Without a doubt, Elad is a special player. He's also a wonderful human being. Kyle has watched him develop from a bright young kid to a great young man.
"Jett has had a really good four years here of developing himself, in so many ways," Kyle said. "Certainly, you can see it on the football field, but also in the classroom, socially, and religiously. Just last week at the team Mass, he read the responses and the first reading. It's nice to see that and for him to realize that's a big part of what we do."
Another person who has seen Elad's development up close is Bookstore Manager Debi Kinzel.
"At the start of his freshman year, Jett respectfully and eagerly offered his help to our bookstore," Kinzel said. "Jett made himself a member of the family here and has always been willing to help us when we needed it. He helps out during free periods and whenever he can."
Countless Ignatians pass through the doors of the bookstore, including plenty of visitors, young and old. Nearly everyone who passes through is impressed with Elad.
While serving as a volunteer in the bookstore, Elad helps with the physical labor part of the bookstore, but more importantly, gives visitors an invaluable look into the school from a student perspective.
"Over the past four years, Jett has personified 'Men for Others' by offering positive advice and words of encouragement to every visitor, including prospective families, nervous students, and visiting alumni," Kinzel said. "He's a great representative of Saint Ignatius."
For Elad, a native of Canada, attending Saint Ignatius and earning a college scholarship is a dream come true.
"Before I even got here, when I was a little kid in Canada, I dreamed about coming here," Elad said. "I looked up to Dre'Mont Jones. He was good friends with my brother, and now he's at Ohio State. I dreamed of being that really big athlete at the school and kinda putting them on the map, even though we're big. He texted me 'Congrats' today and that was an amazing feeling."
One of the most humble and caring young men you'll ever meet, Elad is very grateful.
Elad has a long list of thank you's to everyone who has made an impact on his life:
"I want to thank all of my teammates, past and present. Justin Sands and Cam Toppin and the DBs, they helped me get to where I am today. They taught me the ropes, what to do and what not to do. Also, my close friends on the team – [Tommy] Eichenberg, Nigel [Drummond], Grant [Abbott], Zach [McMahan], [Mike] Sarko, they've helped me. Also, the younger guys have helped me to realize that I'm looked up to as a role model. [Connor] Cmiel, [Jack] Welcsh, [Sam] Daugstrup, and the whole team have helped me.
"I want to thank all of the coaches, including Coach Kyle, Coach Franzinger, Coach Cicetti, Coach KJ, they have all had a key part in helping me to make my decision and in helping me to get all of these offers.
"I want to thank the entire Ignatius community. They have welcomed me with open arms. Parents, teachers, priests, and everyone have been amazing."
The football program has been lucky to have Elad, too. Coach Kyle thanked Elad just the other day.
"I told Jett the other day when he decided to commit, 'Thank you for being a good role model for our younger kids.' You can take care of the commitment there is to athletics, but also to do a great job in the classroom, that's a great example to the younger kids."
Elad's future is incredibly bright, both at Ohio University and beyond. But first, the talented young player has a big goal for his senior season.
"It's my last year, I'm going to do whatever I can to help my team win," Elad said. "I want to help us get to the championship, and I think we can do it."