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Throughout most of his childhood, Drue Tranquill had his future laid out.
A phenomenal athlete, the Carroll senior saw himself playing outfield for a Major League Baseball team, gunning runners out at home plate and leaping over walls to rob hitters of home runs.
Football? That was something to keep himself entertained in the fall.
“Ever since I was 3-years-old … I had aspirations of playing (Major League Baseball),” Tranquill said.
That changed last January at the junior combine as part of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in Texas.
Tranquill had been hearing from AWP President Michael Ledo that he had a future on the gridiron if he chose that route, but the trip to the Lonestar State to compete with some of the nation's best was what completely convinced the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Notre Dame commitment to change priorities.
“(Ledo) saw potential (in me) I guess I didn't see,” Tranquill said. “He knew the position I needed to play (in football).”
So Tranquill did the unthinkable. He gave up his baseball dreams to pursue a future on the football field.
So far, it has worked out well.
In his senior season, Tranquill rushed for 1,403 yards and 28 touchdowns on 114 carries, an average of 12.3 yards per touch.
He also caught 16 passes for 348 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, Tranquill finished with 62 tackles at linebacker, including 18 tackles for loss. He also had four sacks and an interception.
With an outstanding season for the 9-3 Chargers, Tranquill has earned The News-Sentinel High School Football Player of the Year honors.
The football resurgence at Carroll under Coach Doug Dinan has been impressive over the last four seasons. It has been helped along immeasurably by the presence of Tranquill, and not just for his on-field contributions.
“Without question we will miss (Drue) on the field, we will miss his physicality, his athleticism,” Dinan said. “But in some ways, with schemes, those guys can be replaced. But what you can't replace is leadership of the caliber he brings.
“It is not only on the football field and the locker room but within the school and the relationship academically with teachers. He has impact.”
Tranquill made plenty of impact for the Chargers between the lines this year as well. Drue and his brother Justin comprised one of the most electric offensive duos in recent memory in the area. The two seemingly took turns in breaking off huge plays as they helped Carroll to a nine-win season in its first year in Class 6A.
Colleges took notice, with Drue eventually committing to Notre Dame in November.
Despite Drue's time at Carroll nearing an end, Dinan believes that the lower grades have learned many lessons from his star player. While he may miss football Fridays in the coming years while in South Bend, the massive footprint Drue laid upon the Chargers' program will be felt for years to come.
Meanwhile, his first love of baseball has been left behind. But his new-found love has supplanted everything that baseball used to be.
“The reality of the situation is I get to attend school for free and play football (for a school with the) best tradition in the country,” Tranquill said. “My expectations (now) in no way shape or form (represent where I was) a year ago.
“I thought I would be a baseball player.”
Sometimes, the hardest decisions to make turn out to exceed anyone's expectations.
“(Baseball) was not just a habit, but a lifestyle. It was hard to turn away,” Tranquill said. “But I had a passion for football.”
QB-David Morrison, Concordia, Sr
RB-Drue Tranquill, Carroll, Sr
RB-Ariest Vasquez, New Haven, Sr
RB-Jaylin Bennett, Woodlan, Sr
TE-Ryan Watercutter, Bishop Dwenger, Sr
WR-Jordan Hogue, New Haven, Sr
WR-Jake Minich, Concordia, Sr
OL-Nathan Braster, South Side, Sr
OL-Andre Green, North Side, Sr
OL-Nathan Niese, Bishop Dwenger, Sr
OL-Logan Glaze, Leo, Sr
K-Trey Casaburo, Bishop Dwenger, Sr
Athlete-Michael Lovett, North Side, Jr
DL-W.R. Sanders, North Side Sr
DL-Zach Swarts, Homestead, Sr
DL-Donavin O'Day, Snider, Sr
DL-Debo Woods, Woodlan, Sr
LB-Keion Powers, Wayne, Jr
LB-Piercen Harnish, Norwell, Jr
LB-Rahju Blackmon, Snider, Sr
LB-Latavion Guy, North Side, Sr
DB-Logan Harris, Churubusco, Sr
DB-Donovan Clark, South Side, Sr
DB-Greg White, Woodlan, Sr
DB-Justin Tranquill, Carroll, Jr
P-Walker Boyles, East Noble, Sr.