By Doug Gorman
When it comes to the definition of a student-athlete, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy senior Cole Springer is the complete package.
Springer is a four-year letterman in football, and a member of the baseball, swimming and track team.
He's also a scholar athlete, posting better than a 3.8 grade point average in the classroom.
His academic and athletic success is about to pay huge dividends for the talented former starting quarterback. In a ceremony Monday morning at the end of the ELCA chapel service, Springer announced to the entire student body, faculty members and friends, his intention to attend Dartmouth College in the Ivy League.
Springer is the second member of the ELCA senior class to sign a Division I football scholarship. Last month, Alec Huber signed his letter off intent to Purdue.
Huber became one of Springer's favorite receivers.
"I am so excited about this opportunity," said Springer. "I am so happy (head) coach (Tim) Luke stuck with me."
Luke returns the praise.
"Cole and Alec spent all four years of their high school careers with us. They worked hard and are being rewarded. This is a great opportunity for Cole. What student-athlete wouldn't want the chance to play college football and get an Ivy League education."
Springer helped Eagle's Landing Christian through a period of transition this year, completing 58 of 114 passes for 13 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions as the Chargers moved from the Georgia Independent School Association to Class A of the Georgia High School Association.
He had the third best passing rating among Class A quarterbacks with a 166.66 rating
Springer and the Chargers made the playoffs out of Class A in their inaugural season, finishing with an 8-3 overall record.
"He has great arm strength" said Luke, who recently stepped down as head coach at ELCA to spend more time with his family. "Even when he is flushed out of the pocket, he is able to make things happen. That's why Dartmouth is so excited about getting him."
Springer started his career as a running back, but spent time working with quarterback coach Nick Westbrook when he switched positions right before his junior year.
"They did a lot of one-on-one work," said Luke. "Coach Westbrook played quarterback in high school and knows the position."
Springer earned several postseason honors after leading the Chargers to the playoff, including the Coaches' Choice Award for the best athlete in Region 5-A. He was also named first team Southern Crescent Football Team by the Daily Herald/News Daily newspapers.
With Huber in the line up, ELCA had one of the best quarterback-receiver combinations in the Southern Crescent.
"Every quarterback needs a good receiver," he said. "Alec made me a better quarterback."
The former ELCA all-star football player heads to Dartmouth as the college's football team enters a new era.
Buddy Teevens, who most recently served as head coach at Stanford was recently hired as head coach at Dartmouth.
Teevens played football at Dartmouth and is back for his second stint as the college's head football coach.
He also served as an assistant at Florida for head coach Steve Spurrier.
"He runs the 'fun and gun' offense," said Luke, "so Cole is definitely in the right offense."
Springer had a tough decision to make before deciding to head to the Ivy League school.
Princeton, Davidson and Mars Hill were among the schools showing interest in Springer.
Although Luke is no longer coaching the football team," he said he has plenty of fond memories, especially from this last season.
"I feel so blessed that I had a chance to coach Cole and Alec and everybody on this football team," Luke said