By Ronald Hanaki
Earlier this week, the NCAA recognized ESU redshirt senior wide receiver Jon Schnaars as the NCAA Division II statistical champion for receptions per game (10.4) and receiving yards per game (146.4) for the 2015 season.
In his final season, Schnaars had a season for the record books. He had 114 receptions for 1,610 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. His 114 receptions is a single-season ESU record.
Schnaars was a second-grader in church when he saw a flyer for youth football. He wanted to play, so he asked his father who said, “God wanted you to play.”
Schnaars played high school football in Harrisburg. As a standout wide receiver and safety in high school, he had offers from Clarion and Division III schools when ESU offensive coordinator Mike Terwilliger called.
Schnaars played in a run-first offense, so when Coach Terwilliger informed him that the Warriors threw the ball fifty times a game, Schnaars thought that he had found football heaven.
In time, Schnaars would become a starter at wide receiver, and after Dusty Reed graduated in 2014, Schnaars would become ESU’s No. 1 wide receiver. The rest, as they say, is history.
Schnaars said, “Before the  season, I did a lot of offseason training. I didn’t go home and see my family and friends over the summer.”
“I focused on speed and strength,” Schnaars continued. “I ate right, and that’s why I took the next step.”
Nevertheless, the 2015 season started out a bit rough for the Warriors.
Schnaars said, “In our first game, we lost by one point to LIU Post, but we could have beaten them.”
One of the most memorable games from last season was the five-overtime thriller against Shippensburg.
“It was so much fun. When it ended, I couldn’t believe what had just happened,” said Schnaars.
“Games don’t happen like that,” Schnaars added. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It had the craziest numbers and was the craziest game.”
The game against Bloomsburg last season was also big.
“I’ve never beaten BU [Bloomsburg University] since I’ve been here.”
Schnaars took ownership of his own play.
“I made a lot of mistakes. We got down early, but we kept pushing. They [Bloomsburg] tried to double me and bracket me, but over the course of the game, we figured out a way to get it done.”
The result was a 35-34 ESU win over Bloomsburg.
Schnaars was a business management major with a management concentration and was recently named to the PSAC Fall Top 10 for his athletic and academic accomplishments.
In addition, Schnaars was an Academic All-American during his junior year.
“My parents want me to keep up my grades, so I strive to do well academically,” said Schnaars.
Schnaars said, “Eventually, I want to become a corporate lawyer or sports agent.”
Looking back on his collegiate football career, Schnaars said, “At first, it was extremely hard. As a freshman, you don’t know what you are doing.”
“After the first year, you understand time management,” continued Schnaars. “Class, football, film study, and sleep – what times to do those things.”
After such an outstanding season, will Schnaars be playing football on Sundays?
Schnaars said, “Some professional scouts have come to see me. NFL Draft Diamonds did an interview with me, and they gave it out to all the teams. But I can only control what I can control and let everything else fall into place.”
As his final college football season came to a close, Schnaars wanted to thank ESU and Warrior Nation.
Schnaars said, “Thanks for showing love at all the games. ‘Blood runs thick,’ our coaches say. Warrior Country is a real thing.”
“This place was the best years of my life,” said Schnaars.
Jon Schnaars graduated cum laude in December with a business management degree.
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