“He looked down, he put his face in his hands, he said, ‘Dang!’ and his right hand punched his left hand and he goes, ‘I can’t believe this,” said his father, Ed Printz. “Then, he looks at me, and he says, ‘Is that it, Dad?’ I said, ‘Son, it’s not your fault. He goes, ‘Dad, I’m OK, just let me be.’
“So, he walked off. Then, about 20 minutes later, he came back to me and said, ‘What options do I have.’”
The options Printz didn’t have before, or ones he didn’t want, are now opportunities for him. Committed to UCLA since January, Printz was “all in” with the Bruins, according to his father, but he must now re-open his recruiting search as he also focuses on his senior season at Lassiter, beginning with tonight’s home game against local rival Kell.
“I was disappointed when I first found out,” the younger Printz said. “But we gathered as a family and we talked about it and discussed that other offers are going to come throughout the season. We just have to keep taking it one week at a time. We have to worry about the Kell game (tonight) and the Woodstock game next week. So, I’m taking it one week at a time and focusing on what’s most important right now, and that’s my team and this season.”
Lassiter coach Jep Irwin agreed.
“He had a really good week of practice,” Irwin said. “I think Eddie is mature enough and has been around the recruiting process to know that, for the college coaches, recruiting is really a business. It’s their livelihood. But for Eddie and kids his age, it’s about their future. So, he understands, and he was disappointed.
“He had the attitude of ‘OK, well, what’s next? What are our options.’ So, he immediately started looking to the future. I think he knows he’s going to find a great place to go to school. He’s a mature kid who’s had his ups and downs. I think being a quarterback, and being in the public eye has readied him to dealing with a situation like this. He’s handled it really well.”
Printz on Tuesday told a few of his friends about his situation, and word spread quickly Wednesday as more news became available.
“He actually told me Tuesday when we had practice,” said Lassiter receiver Juwan Dickey, who himself is mulling over scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, South Florida, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi among others. “When he told me, he was kind of sad, but then again, he was still a leader on the field and getting everybody pumped up and stuff. It affected him, but it didn’t affect his play during practice this week.”
It’s just continued a roller coaster of a recruiting process, just a little more than one year after Printz originally committed to Southern Methodist. Four months after that, after a breakout junior season in which he passed for 3,350 yards and 28 touchdown, Printz changed his commitment to UCLA.
As one door closes on UCLA, others are opening, and Printz already has much of his season laid out in front of him. According to his father, Printz has 11 to 12 schools looking at him.
“Over the next few weeks, I’m going to try to visit Missouri, Florida State, Wake Forest, Iowa State, Kentucky and also Auburn,” Printz said. “Those are some of the top schools I plan to visit over the next few weeks, but there are more that are interested in me.”
Since his intent was made to head to UCLA in the spring and participate in the Bruins’ spring practices, Printz took extra classes over the summer in order to graduate this December. His plan now is to finish classes and his season at Lassiter, graduate and commit to a college between graduation and February’s National Signing Day.
“I think (UCLA) handled the situation wrong,” said Printz, who didn’t receive a call from the university, or coach Jim Mora, regarding the decision. “I mean, it’s their choice, and they did what they had to do. Personally, I just have to move on and learn from what’s happened.”
Despite his circumstances, Printz did receive some good news this week about his friend and teammate, linebacker Ryan Gildea.
“Ryan got an offer from Mercer,” Printz said. “That’s a pretty big deal for him. I’m sure a few more will keep rolling in, and they may not be huge, big schools, but he’s definitely good enough to play college ball. So, I’m glad he finally got one. I know I’ll have other offers, but I’m really excited for my teammates when they get them.”