McPherson High School had two more Bullpups signed their letter of intent to continue on their athletic and academic careers. On Tuesday, it was Jake Alexander and Chandler Wiard.
Both players decided to stay close to home as Wiard will play football for Tabor College, and Alexander will play basketball for MidAmerica Nazarene in Olathe.
Wiard will be a tad bit closer with Tabor College only being 26 miles apart. Luckily for the senior, he's not alone. Noah Avila signed to play for the Bluejays in early February, and former Bullpup Gunnar Reiss has already made himself known after playing right away as a true freshman last season.
"I wanted to stay around home, but not be in McPherson," Wiard said. "Tabor gave me a nice offer, and Gunnar (Reiss) is out there. He's been a big influence. I really liked the community there.
They all seemed super enthusiastic about the program. Obviously, all teams are, but they seemed like they were ready to go. They talked about how young they are, and how over the years they are going to to get better."
Last season, Wiard played both sides on the field, but was a deep threat at wide receiver. Starting all 11 games, he recorded 26 catches for 459 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 41.7 receiving yards per game and made First Team All-AVCTL Division III. The Bullpups finished 11-1 that year, making far in the semifinals in the Class 4A State Tournament.
"I got to play with some amazing players like Kyler (Hoppes), Noah (Avila) and Gabe (Hoover). We all worked together since we were young. Just being able to stick with them is great. They have been a big influence on me.
Wiard, at 6-foot-2, will focus mainly at wide receiver at the next level, hoping to line up as an outside receiver, but won't have a problem playing slot either. However, at 162 pounds, he knows he has to beef up before the 2019 season.
"I got to get bigger," Wiard said. I have always been undersize playing football, but to feel a little bit bigger, faster and stronger, I should be alright."
Wiard plans on studying psychology when he enrolls.
As for Alexander, he will be farther away from McPherson but is looking forward to joining the Pioneers, which is part of the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Last month, MNU made the announcement early April of the verbal commitment of Alexander.
Alexander had other offers on the table, but it came down to MNU and Washburn University. After making his college visits, Alexander decided that MNU suited best for him.
"It seemed like a great fit. I liked the small town vibe, so I know that I will get a lot of personal connections with my professors," Alexander said. "Coach (Rocky) Lamar has been great the whole recruiting process. He's been constantly calling. I had some good talks with him, and I know we share the same values like religion. I say it's a great fit for me."
Last season, Alexander was named Co-MVP of the AVCTL D-III league and All-State honors, leading the Bullpups to a 15-6 season. Throughout his four years as a Bullpup, he played in 93 games, scoring 1,123 points and averaging 12.1 points per game.
Alexander, with the hopes of playing right away as a true freshman, also said he is likely to play at the wing or be a two-guard player. Outside the court, he is weighing his options of studying either nursing or biology, but will like to get into the medical field after graduation.
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