AMHERST, N.Y. -- Several Western New Yorkers are getting ready to play college sports after officially signing binding letters of intent during Wednesday's "National Signing Day.”
Among them is Blake Haubeil, a Canisius High School senior, who is off to play for one of the best college football teams in the country.
"I was just so happy to sort of have that [signing] be the icing on the cake. It's been over a year and a half since I verbally committed, so to have that signature down was just great,” said Haubeil at his Snyder home.
Haubeil continues to practice and keep his grades up. He tries to make sure he's in the weight room four to five times a week, and soon enough he'll take his skills to Ohio Stadium.
The 17-year-old joins the Ohio State Buckeyes football team this summer.
Haubeil says he believes consistency is what stood out in his tryout with Ohio State coaching staff.
"I try to approach every kick the same way, and I think they liked that when I went down there,” he said.
His highlight reels are a testament to just that, showing field goal after field goal.
Most notably perhaps is a 61-yarder against South Park High.
"South Park went on that year to win the State Championship. That was their only lost against us, so it was a huge game, we won 20-17,” Haubeil recalls. "It was a huge game for us as a program and Canisius.”
Haubeil’s athletic career actually started with soccer. Teammates noticed he had a strong leg and suggested he try football in sixth grade.
"I tried it, and I've loved it ever since. Just sort of developed a passion for it throughout middle school and obviously in high school now,” he said.
He is especially thankful to his family.
"Without them I couldn't get the kicking sessions I needed paid for, I couldn't go to Canisius as a school, I couldn't do other things in the weight room, go to a gym, and they've been there every step of the way,” he said.
This is not the first time in recent years Canisius High has produced a talented Big 10 conference football player.
Baltimore Raven lineman John Urschel graduated from Canisius and played for Penn State.
"These college programs are recognizing that Buffalo has talent,” Urschel said in a Skype interview Thursday evening.
But if you know anything about this conference, you know that the Ohio State-Penn State rival is among the most heated.
"It's really awesome to see someone from Buffalo and specifically my high school go play Big 10 football. When I was a kid that's what I dreamed of; I dreamed of playing in the big 10. Sadly, he picked the wrong school,” Urschel joked. "Had I been around Canisius when he was thinking about it, I would have set him straight, but, you know, people make mistakes.”
In all seriousness, however, Urschel is thrilled to see young Buffalo athletes making it big.
Haubeil is unsure at this time if he will be red-shirted his freshman year, or if he will start.