Springfield coach Maurice Douglass has heard many players discuss their post-football careers, and it is easier for some than others.
“Some guys really don’t know what they want to do,” Douglass said.
That’s not a problem for Cameron Hoelscher. Hoelscher, a linebacker who’s entering his senior season at Springfield, has known for a few years he wants to join the FBI. The problem was figuring out what university to attend to fast-track that career. When Army offered him a scholarship, the decision became easy.
Hoelscher gave a verbal commitment to play football for Army last week , selecting the academy over Kentucky, Brown and Air Force among others. He toured the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York earlier this year and received an offer in June.
“Their coaches really made me feel like I was at home,” Hoelscher said. “When I toured, the atmosphere of the whole university — you can’t even describe it. And the academics are just second to none. I’ve talked to a lot of (FBI) agents and they say a degree from there is one of the best in the country.”
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A stint at the academy comes with a five-year service commitment in the Army, and Hoelscher said he’ll be proud to serve in the branch. But first, he hopes to help lead the Wildcats to a Greater Western Ohio Conference championship and playoff run this year.
Springfield finished 7-4 last season and second in the GWOC National East. The program won nine games in the previous five seasons and had not made the playoffs since 2010.
“It was the first step to what Coach Douglass wants to do,” Hoelscher said. “Hopefully last year will carry us forward this year. …The environment at practice has been completely different this year. Everybody is focused on that one goal. That’s not to just play in Week 11, but it’s to go all the way to state, Week 15.”
Improvement on defense will likely be needed for the Wildcats to reach that goal. While Springfield’s offense was able to move the ball against most opponents, its defense gave up an average of 302 yards and 20 points per game. Springfield ranked in the top half of conference teams in both categories but was way behind conference leaders Wayne (168 yards/10.8 points) and Trotwood (171/8).
Douglass thinks the Wildcats will be tougher to score against this year. Leading the defensive line will be junior Isaiah Gibson and senior Leonard Taylor, who each have a plethora of scholarship offers. Senior Brennen Hess also started on the line a year ago.
Hoelscher leads a linebacking corps that includes RaHeim Moss and returnee Jacob Yost. Moses Douglass and Jah’Erinn Echols are returning safeties, and Quincy Scott and Will Finch are back as cornerbacks.
“We should be a very, very good defense,” Coach Douglass said. “We’ve got a lot of speed coming back. We expect to be a long and rested defense that has a lot of speed.”
Hoelscher, a middle linebacker, led the team with 94 tackles and six sacks last season. He transferred from Shawnee between his sophomore and junior seasons and said the jump from a Central Buckeye Conference program to a GWOC school was a big one.
“It’s a faster game,” Hoelscher said. “You’ve got to study your film, study your playbook, and study your opponent. Everything just happens so much faster. … I feel (the move) elevated my game to the next level. With that, I feel college recruiters saw potential in me.”
Douglass said he saw Hoelscher at camps before he came to Springfield and knew he would play well last year.
“He’s a great competitor and he’s a guy that you’re never going to have to tell him to do anything twice,” Douglass said. “He’s a tremendous leader with his effort and his attitude.”
Springfield travels to Winton Woods for a scrimmage on Friday and opens the season Aug. 25 at Lancaster.