COSHOCTON — Kobe Rust and Judah Nelson have shined during their athletic careers for Coshocton.
Rust was a two-year starter at quarterback after being a wide receiver, while Nelson handled the center midfielder duties for three seasons for the soccer team.
Their athletic prowess was noticed by Division II Ashland University, as both signed letters of intent on Tuesday to become Eagles.
Rust was a three-year letter winner in football, as well as a first-team Muskingum Valley League selection and a second team East District honoree this past season. He also lettered four years in wrestling and three in baseball and was a four-year member of the Varsity C and Fellowship of Christian Athletes clubs.
Rust, who will major in Exercise Science, noted everything around the Ashland football program grabbed his attention.
"I went for a workout and got to meet the coaches. They have a great staff that cares about the kids, and it's an amazing atmosphere and campus," Rust said. "It's an amazing feeling to have the chance to play at the next level."
Nelson was the Division III East District player of the year and made first team All-Ohio this past season. He was also named the MVL Offensive Player and Midfielder of the Year and received three letters in soccer and football, as well as two in tennis and one in baseball.
Nelson, who will major in Computer Science, understood how important the competition within the team is. He knows it will make him a better player.
"I know three guys playing for the team. They had nothing but good things to say about the coaches and program," Nelson said. "I've been playing soccer since I was 3 years old at Kids America, and a lot of guys don't get to keep playing. It's awesome to have that chance to take the next step.
"There's bigger, better competition in college soccer," he added. "I believe I'm at my best when I have to face that level of competition. I know I can thrive in an environment like that, and I'm going to be ready to step up to the challenge."
Both are ready for the challenges. Another for Rust will be moving back to wide receiver for the Eagles.
Coshocton football coach Steve Smith noted Rust had a strong season as a wideout during his sophomore season before moving to quarterback. He expects him to have little trouble returning to a familiar position.
"Kobe did a lot for us and played multiple positions, but he had great hands when he was a wideout," Smith said. "He is a type of wide receiver who can create matchup problems, especially in the slot when a linebacker or walk-up safety has to cover him.
"He's a three-sport athlete and brings great leadership," he continued. "He also has that fire about him, and being a competitor will help him at the next level."
Rust added learning the quarterback position provided insight that will make him a better wide receiver.
"You have to know everyone's assignments as a quarterback so that will help," he said. "I expect to go up there and compete, and I know I will get pushed by my teammates. I'm looking forward to the competition and having a chance to play."
They join classmates Korbyn Haley and Ella Bible at Ashland. Nelson, who graduates with Summa Cum Laude honors and a 4.0 grade-point average, noted familiar faces on campus will help their transition to college.
"I have three friends going with me so that helps," he said. "I will support them, and I know they will support me. It's nice knowing we will be there for each other."
Preparation for life after high school is part of a coach's job. Smith is confident they are ready for the next phase of their lives.
"We focus on teaching them life skills and showing kids the opportunities available to them after high school," he said. "Both guys played multiple sports and are heading to special programs. We've been preparing them for the next step, and both have great opportunities in front of them."
This article originally appeared on Coshocton Tribune: Coshocton's Nelson, Rust headed to Ashland