An argument can be made that Abraham Lincoln (Iowa) running back Austin Ebertowski is the best senior running back in his state. Through a 9-0 regular season, Ebertowski gained an amazing 1,948 yards, the highest total in Iowa's Class 4-A. He's built like a versatile Division I running back -- he stands 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds -- and he's the state 4A 100-meter champion. In fact, Ebertowski has all the traits that a recruiter could want for a potential top-flight back, yet the senior has yet to receive an offer from a single Division I FBS program. Ebertowski and his coach think there's a bizarre reason for that: It's because he's white.
"I feel like it hurts me a lot more than people would think," Ebertowski told the Omaha World-Herald. "I think it really hurt Coach Kammrad when he played in college."
The Coach Kammrad of whom Ebertowski refers is Abraham Lincoln head coach Justin Kammrad, who was a Division II All-American and Harlan Hill Trophy finalist at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. According to the World-Herald, Kammrad walked on to the Nebraska-Omaha team after he failed to generate significant college football interest from other programs, and he worries that his current star could be facing a similar fate, largely because of his ethnicity.
"I believe that there is that perspective in big-time college football," Kammrad told the World-Herald. "But obviously [Nebraska's Rex] Burkhead and other guys do play that position, so people can look past that.
"[Ebertowski is] a football player. And if they don't like him as a running back, he can play other positions. With his athletic ability and his speed, you should be able to find a spot on the field for him."
There are other factors limiting Ebertowski's exposure. Despite Lincoln's perfect record, the Lynx (currently ranked No. 5 in Iowa's 4-A classification) play in the Missouri River Activities Conference, considered by some to be the weakest league in Iowa 4-A. It also doesn't help that Council Bluffs, the town which is home to Lincoln High, isn't exactly known for churning out significant football prospects.
The athletic senior said larger schools that had contacted him -- including Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State and Nebraska -- had only talked to him about playing defensive positions. Ebertowski said that recent conversations between himself, Kammrad and the coaching staffs at both Iowa and Iowa State have encouraged the two programs to begin considering the Lincoln star as a future running back, but neither school has offered a scholarship ... yet.
Of course, that hardly means Ebertowski won't have a major Division I program with which to land come signing day, but the early recruiting process has convinced him to remain skeptical until an offer is officially on the table.
"I really have no clue what's going on, so I've just got to keep doing my thing and finish the high school season," Ebertowski told the World-Herald. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, there are two [FCS] schools that did show interest early."