WEST LAFAYETTE -- Jake Conrad, a Ridgewood football senior running back, set a standard that others will try to emulate for years to come.

Conrad is the son of Dianne Merrill and Kenny Koch of West Lafayette.

After listening to Georgetown, Youngstown State, Marshall University, and Ashland University, among others, the state of Ohio Division V Football Player of the Year settled on a school to continue his football career and academic pursuits. He will become a Red Tiger at Wittenberg University.

After visiting several campuses and speaking with coaches and students, he felt Wittenberg was the best fit.

"I know that it is a smaller school but my parents and I felt that my education should be my number one priority. Fortunately for me, they also have the most successful football program in Division III history," Conrad said.

Conrad said the tradition he became accustomed to at Ridgewood helps him understand the importance of hard work and how it can help him contribute at the next level.

"I know that only a handful of players get an opportunity to get drafted into the NFL, but if I work hard and keep things in perspective, there is no reason I can't create an opportunity. We all have to reach for our dreams," he said.

The coaching staff said Conrad is expected to make an immediate contribution.

"Making openings; it's what he did best at Ridgewood," said a Wittenberg football coach.

Defensive Coordinator Andy Waddle said, "I wouldn't bet against it this time either."

Conrad helped lead the Generals this past season to the state semi-finals. He has many state and division honors, and various records at Ridgewood including most yards, career scoring and rushing records, single game rushing and also the touchdown record.