Minneapolis Washburn tight end Noah Scarver heard throughout his junior season that if he wanted to play Division I football, gain 30 pounds.
"All I did was eat peanut butter and jelly [sandwiches] every day. That helped me gain weight and then I reached 230," Scarver said. "And this football season, I think, was my best football season ever."
Scarver was one of five Washburn football players to sign scholarships Wednesday on National Signing Day.
The 6-5, 234-pound Scarver will attend Montana. He passed up scholarship offers from South Dakota State, North Dakota, Western Michigan, Northern Iowa, and the chance to walk on at Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Also signing in front of family and friends in the Washburn gym were Jamison Whiting (Northern Iowa), Jack Evenson (University of Mary), Corey Puterbaugh (Augustana), and Calvin Tinnin (Ridgewater Community College).
A 9:25 a.m. school-wide announcement held extra significance since Washburn had no signees a year ago.
"We do have athletes and we do have kids that can play," said Whiting, a Division I-bound cornerback. "It's a dream come true. Since I was a kid, I've watched on ESPN kids sign letters of intent and dreamed that one day I could do that."
Washburn coach Giovan Jenkins said this is one of the best classes in the program's history. The last time it had two or more Division I signees was 2003-04.
Also at the signing day ceremony was Washburn junior Jeff Jones, who recently committed to the Gophers. The four-star nationally rated halfback has to wait a year until he can officially sign his full scholarship offer. He said his early verbal commitment was necessary to help the Gophers secure Minnesota's best talent.
"There are a lot of kids from Minnesota we need to get to commit," Jones said. "We can run this city."