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June 26, 2008

Former ISU QB gets back to Amarillo

TERRE HAUTE — Once upon a time, Indiana State had a winning football season.

That happened back in 1996, before this writer had even thought about moving to Terre Haute to attend Indiana State.

Moving on to memories I was here to witness ...

In 2002, the Sycamores’ 5-7 record was their best since going 5-6 in 1998.

Behind honorable-mention All-America quarterback Julian Reese and fleet-footed Soso Dede at running back, coach Tim McGuire’s team came within a 20-12 loss to Illinois State in the season finale of finishing with a .500 record.

Despite the season-closing loss, the program seemed to be capable of building on that season.

Things have obviously turned sour for the Sycamores, who have lost 31 of their last 32 games, including last year’s 0-11 record.

The signing of highly touted quarterback prospect Calvin Schmidtke earlier this week has given the Sycamores that rare recruit that people around town can talk about. And hopefully the numbers fans talk about next year are a 60-plus completion percentage and not Schmidtke’s blood-alcohol content after another off-field incident.

More importantly, the 15th-rated quarterback in this year’s high school class, according to scout.com, could help make the Sycamores a winner sooner than we previously thought.

“That’s great to get a guy like that,” said the aforementioned Reese when hearing the news Thursday.

Reese is currently in the middle of an outstanding individual season for the Amarillo Dusters of arenafootball2. He plans to make a trip to Terre Haute for homecoming this fall. Reese said he former teammates such as wide receiver Chris Lewis have discussed making their first homecoming trip.

The new coaching staff is the main reason for Reese’s optimism for his alma mater.

“I’m real excited, especially with coach [Shannon] Jackson coming back [as defensive coordinator],” Reese said. “He’s a guy who played there; I was real excited when I saw that. Plus he’s a great guy, and he’s from Fort Wayne.”

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