BY DENNIS CHASE
TRAVERSE CITY — Foes in high school, teammates in college.
That's how it will be next fall after Traverse City Central's Tyler Gildersleeve and West's Derrick Diver officially sign letters-of-intent Wednesday to play football at Michigan Tech.
That's also how it will be after Central's Nate Pupel and West's Chance Murphy sign with Siena Heights.
Meanwhile, Central's T.J. Schepperly will sign with Northwood.
Gildersleeve, an offensive tackle, verbally committed to Tech just before Christmas. Diver, a linebacker, followed suit after visiting four Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools — Tech, Grand Valley, Saginaw Valley and Hillsdale.
"I really enjoyed my visit to Tech," Diver said. "It's a small school, which I like, and it definitely has the academics that I was looking for. The football program's pretty successful, too."
Diver plans to major in biomedical or biological engineering, which made Tech a good option.
"They (Tech coaches) told me they really take academics seriously there," Diver said. "That was big."
So was the fact the Huskies recruited Diver as a linebacker. Some of the other schools, like Grand Valley, projected him as a defensive end, he said.
"They were the only school that really looked at me solely at linebacker," Diver said. "That's my preferred position."
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior led the Titans in tackles last season en route to earning Record-Eagle Dream Team honors.
"He's got a good top end," Titans coach Tim Wooer said. "He runs the hurdles in track. That tells you what kind of athlete he is. He was second in the Big North in the 300 hurdles last spring.
"He's a great student, a great worker. He's going to continue to get better and better."
Wooer said Diver could probably add weight, without losing speed, to play defensive end — if need be.
Former West quarterback Isaiah Hackney, a freshman at Tech, was Diver's host on his recruiting visit.
Gildersleeve picked Tech for similar reasons.
"Tyler found a perfect fit at Michigan Tech," Trojan coach Tom Passinault said. "He is an outstanding student and will flourish in their excellent engineering program."
Tech, Grand Valley, Saginaw Valley and Hillsdale all tied for the GLIAC's North Division title at 7-3. Northwood came in at 4-6.
Schepperly, who earned Class A All-State special mention honors at quarterback, will switch over to defense at Northwood. He'll play cornerback or safety.
"I'm excited," he said. "I haven't played DB since I took over at quarterback (as a junior). I'm anxious, ready to get started."
Schepperly measured 5-9, 175 on his visit at Northwood.
"And that was on a good day," he said, laughing. "I'm a little undersized (to play quarterback at the collegiate level). We had one of the bigger lines in the Big North this season, one of the bigger lines we've had at Central, and seeing over them was tough. I had to rollout whenever we wanted to pass. Going to the next level and doing something like that would be crazy."
Passinault called Schepperly, who led the Trojans to a 9-2 season, a "tremendous athlete"
"The best compliment I can give T.J. is that he's a football player in the most positive fashion," he said. "He's a hard worker, a leader. He willed us to several wins this past fall. Northwood got a great player."
Siena Heights will land Pupel, a linebacker, and Murphy, a defensive tackle.
"Nate was Siena's No. 1 recruit at linebacker," Passinault said. "He's excited about the opportunity to step in and play right away. They tagged him early as someone they really wanted and they went after him hard."