The bad news for Nic Shimonek (Corsicana, Texas/Mildred) from Thursday: His baseball team lost the opening game of a best-of-3 series in the third round of Texas Class 2A playoffs against Sunnyvale (Texas).
The good news: His college football career was solidified earlier in the day.
Shimonek, a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball, verbally committed to play football in the Big Ten Conference for Iowa. A 6-foot-4, 190-pound quarterback, Shimonek accepted an offer from offensive coordinator Greg Davis, which he received Thursday morning.
“They [Iowa] called my athletic director [Patrick Harvell],” Shimonek said, “and as soon as he told me, it was so exciting. To get that feeling and to know you don’t have to drag the process out, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Shimonek is Iowa’s eighth commitment of the 2013 recruiting class and the Hawkeyes’ first quarterback pledge. He threw for 2,942 yards and 37 touchdowns with only three interceptions – one of those being a Hail Mary on the final play of the 2011 season.
Shimonek completed 67 percent of his passes, and he also rushed for 225 yards and eight touchdowns. Shimonek chose Iowa over an offer from Lamar. He also received interest from Oklahoma State, Rice, Arkansas State, Texas and Texas Tech during his process.
“It’s their tradition,” Shimonek said of Iowa. “They’re good just about every single year. Another plus for me is that my mom is from Runnells, Iowa, about 15 minutes outside of Des Moines. Probably 80 percent of her family is from Iowa. My dad is from Omaha, Neb., which isn’t too far from there, either.
Shimonek added that he has a cousin who coaches football in Iowa. His cousin, Pete Vitritto, is an assistant coach at Saydel High School in Des Moines.
“It didn’t seal the deal for me, but it was definitely a plus,” Shimonek said of having family close. “My freshman year is going to be different from a lot of what I was used to, and family is family. Any time you can have them close, that’s a good thing. With my cousin close, I can call him up and have a little conversation about football.”
During the spring season, Shimonek is a pitcher and shortstop for the baseball team. He threw a no-hitter last week in a second-round matchup against Grandview (Texas). He’s scheduled to pitch against Sunnyvale on Friday.
As a quarterback, Shimonek is the reigning offensive player of the year in his district. He’s been on the varsity since his freshman season. As a baseball player, he’s been a utility player of the year and a pitcher of the year for his district. On the basketball court, he’s a two-time district MVP as a versatile forward.
Shimonek said he is proof that with a positive work ethic and determination, an FBS offer is possible. He added that he will continue working throughout the summer and hopes to attend some summer camps.
“My freshman year was bad news,” he said. “I probably threw five touchdowns to 10 interceptions. My sophomore year, I threw 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. That summer, I really buckled down and studied the game a lot more with my coaches, and I went to a lot of camps to get better. All the dedication and hard work really did pay off.”