A few weeks after Chad Frigon was hired to take over the Liberty football program in 2011, he made it a point to recruit some new players from within the school.
He started attending a slew of spring sporting events, hoping to find a hidden gem.
When he saw Kolton Shindelar compete in a 110-meter hurdle race, he knew he had one. Shindelar won the race, but it was his size (6 feet 6, 250) that stood out.
After a little persuasion from Frigon, Shindelar joined the football team in 2011. He stayed for 2012. And it appears now he’s in for the long haul.
Shindelar signed a letter of intent Wednesday to attend Tulsa on a football scholarship. He had seven Division I scholarship offers, including ones from Missouri and Kansas State.
Tulsa originally recruited Shindelar as a track athlete, he said. He will play tight end for the football team instead.
“They talked to me in the spring about coming to run track there,” he said. “It was probably my third or fourth (football) game that they started showing interest in me for football, too.”
That may sound like Tulsa was late in the recruiting game, but in fact, it was the first Division I school to offer Shindelar a scholarship. And that offer didn’t come until early November — after the Liberty season was over.
Shindelar’s combination of size and speed — he has twice received all-state honors in the 110 hurdles — is intriguing enough on its own.
“Kolton is a fabulous athlete,” Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said on the team’s website. “This guy is kind of freakish. … These kind of guys don’t come along very often.”
As for his football skills, he’s still learning the game. Although Shindelar played a couple of seasons as a youngster, the high school lingo was well beyond his knowledge when he returned to the field a year ago.
Therefore, he saw most of his reps on the junior-varsity team during 2011 before moving up to the varsity team as a senior.
The Liberty coaching staff tried him out at numerous positions — most of them on defense — before giving him a look at tight end. It was an immediate fit.
“He was patient enough that he was able to really develop this year,” Frigon said. “Where he really excels is in his blocking. He’s truly a great blocking tight end. And as he gets used to the game, he’ll develop as a receiver, too.”
That addition could make him a dangerous weapon in a Tulsa offense that often features the tight ends.
“Frigon got me into football, and I’m really grateful for that,” Shindelar said. “Never expected I’d be signing to go play football somewhere.”
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