ZIONSVILLE – Four Zionsville football standouts made their college decisions official at a signing ceremony on Friday afternoon.
Camden Cooper, Chris Freeman, Cam McDaniel and Zach Sibila were honored in the celebration, in front a packed wedge classroom at ZCHS.
“These are the fun days,” Zionsville head coach Scott Turnquist said. “We get a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of the guys, and see all their hard work come to fruition. To see the excitement on their faces and what they are about to head off and do is really neat.”
Turnquist just finished his first year as head coach of the Eagles.
He said the senior class as a whole did a great job of adapting to the coaching change, and these four student athletes were a prime example of that.
“Whenever you have a new coach and a change like that it takes some time,” Turnquist said. “To see what they evolved into based on what we asked them to do throughout the season is just fantastic. Everything that goes into it leads to this point and it is awesome to see these guys take advantage of it.”
Cooper will be heading to Wabash College to further his academic and football careers.
He finished his senior season with 16 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown, but the touchdown came at the biggest moment, being the game-winner against Brownsburg as Zionsville won the sectional title.
“Camden’s story of perseverance is just amazing,” Turnquist said. “Battling cancer as a middle school student, and to persevere and battle through that is a testament to him. He played a position where quite frankly he was undersized, and to play as well as he did, he is really a guy that can play any where. He is so versatile and the coaches will love that.”
Freeman will be going to IU to continue his academic and athletic careers.
A two-sport standout at Zionsville, Freeman was the state player of the year in soccer, helping the Eagles win the state championship this fall.
He is also one of the top place kickers in the country, earning all-state honors. He went 31 of 31 on extra points and 11 of 13 on field goals, with a long of 45 this year. He has made multiple 50 yarders in high school.
“Every time we crossed midfield we knew we had a chance at a field goal and that’s a big safety net,” Turnquist said. “I have never seen anything like him. We have had several talented come through programs I have been at, but his combination of power and accuracy is impressive. I think he’s the best kicker in the country, and if he isn’t I would love to see the kid better.”
McDaniel will be attending Marian University to continue his education and athletic career.
A Region 6 All-Star, he had 18 tackles for the Eagles while being a force on the defensive line.
“When we fully made that switch (to defensive line), Cam just embraced it,” Turnquist said. “His motor is just incredible and he has limitless potential. When he gets to find a spot and solely focus on that he is going to blossom.”
Sibila will also be attending Marian starting next fall.
Also a Region 6 All-Star, as was Freeman, Sibila was a key piece of the Eagles’ offensive line that helped the team rush for 170 yards a game and 21 total touchdowns.
“Zach was not only extremely talented and gave great effort, but he was so steady for us,” Turnquist said. “We could count on him week in and week out, and no matter what we asked him to do, he would do with everything he had. It was a huge benefit to us, and he is a such smart kid too.”
Many of the current Zionsville players came to support the seniors at the ceremony on Friday.
Turnquist said that having the younger players there to witness the ceremony can be beneficial long term.
“It is something we can lean on with the younger kids,” Turnquist said. “They can see guys like (Purdue signee) Gus Hartwig and Chris who are going on to the Big Ten, but they also see there are other avenues to play this game and use football as a way to get an education. It doesn’t matter where you go, you have a chance to play and get a good education. For them to see that, it’s invaluable.”