Zionsville — It was a long road back from injury for Zionsville senior Josh Wagner.
And that is why Wednesday afternoon was even sweeter for the Eagle quarterback. After suffering a serious knee injury at the end of the 2017 season, Wagner worked hard on his rehab, had a strong senior season and earned himself the opportunity to play football at the next level at DePauw.
"It 100 percent means more," Wagner said. "At one point last year I couldn't even walk. Coming back from that gave me a different perspective and now having the chance to play college football just means that much more."
Wagner had a signing ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the high school.
He said he is excited to take the next step in his journey.
"It has definitely been a long journey and it is great to make my decision," Wagner said. "I feel really good about it too. When I visited, I felt like I belonged there with the coaches and everything, they were very welcoming. It gave me a different feel than the other schools."
Wagner had his signing ceremony with classmate Evan Bohrer, and will be joining a team that has a couple of former Eagles on it already.
He said Wednesday that it will be good to have some familiar faces on the roster.
"I have a really good relationship with them, and I know they are really hard workers," Wagner said. "I know they will kind of take me under their wing and help me succeed there."
Wagner set numerous passing records at Zionsville in his one main season as a starter.
He completed 168 of 267 passes (62.9%) for 2115 yards and 23 touchdowns.
He joins a Tigers' football team that went 4-6 under Bill Lynch last year.
"The coaches really liked my leadership and my play on the field," Wagner said. "They liked my attitude and the way I carried myself on and off the field, and in the classroom as well."
Since the season ended for the Eagles, Wagner said he has been working hard in the weight room to help get himself ready for DePauw.
He said that bulking up has been his main focus.
"I have definitely have been working on the physical side of things, just trying to get bigger and gain weight," Wagner said. "I know at the college level, there is going to be some bigger guys that I have to deal with."
When looking back at his time at Zionsville, Wagner said he will remember the good relationships he was able to create.
"I will remember spending time with my friends day in and day out and building those relationships," Wagner said. "Working together to accomplish one goal is something I won't forget."
Wagner plans on studying business next year at DePauw.