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When Ian Prchlik talks, everybody listens.
Prchlik, a senior tight end, fullback and linebacker at Oakland’s Skyline High School, speaks with an awareness of everything. He speaks confidently. He speaks with an understanding of everything. He’s well educated. Smart. Calm. Wise beyond his years.
And Prchlik is an individual whose prowess is not only felt on the football field for Skyline, but also in the classroom, where he has IVY League ambitions (his grandfather attended Yale), holds an astounding 4.3 GPA and has a 1340 SAT score.
“He’s a hybrid guy for us,” said Skyline head coach Joe Bates. “He’s a big guy, but he can move and he can catch. We’re putting him at a position where a lot of schools don’t utilize the H-back, like that hybrid tight end/fullback. We’re going to get him going there a little bit and hopefully someone is able to see a fit for him. He texts me all the time, like, ‘Coach, I need Ivy. I want Ivy. I want to go Ivy. That’s my goal. I’m not stopping until I get it. Right now he has a bunch of those schools. They have Ivy standards, but it’s not an Ivy conference.”
For much of Prchlik’s life, he grew up going to Skyline games, idolizing those older than him and looking to create a similar legacy as they did before him.
He always wanted to be at Skyline, and now that he’s there and entering his final football season at the school, he wants to be the role model for the younger generations now. He wants to be the one everyone looks up to. He remembers doing just that when he was a freshman.
“Being a senior I know that there’s freshmen who might look up to me, and I want them to see me in a positive light because there were seniors when I was a freshman that I looked up to,” Prchlik said. “And I want the freshmen now to be able to when they’re seniors have freshmen that they looked up to, and I want them to look up to me. So it’s a whole legacy thing I think.”
But there’s another legacy Prchlik wants to leave, and the sense of proudness in his voice when discussing it says everything.
Prchlik is beyond proud to be from Oakland. It’s part of his identity, part of his DNA. He wants to represent the city in as positive of a light as possible.
Plus, he knows the rich history the city holds, particularly in athletics.
He’s played on fields where Marshawn Lynch and Marcus Peters shined on. He’s been in the gyms where Bill Russell and Gary Payton dominated. He’s where Jason Kidd is from. Joe Morman. Frank Robinson.
“There’s so many world-class athletes that came out of Oakland that it makes me proud to be from Oakland as an athlete and be able to say, “Yeah, I played baseball against the team that Joe Morgan played for or that I go watch basketball against Bill Russell’s old school,’” Prchlik said. “A lot of kids can;t say that about their high school. Or I played PE in the same gym that Gary Payton got recruited from. It’s a really exciting thing to be an athlete in Oakland I think, and we want to be able to represent our city.”
Football was a sport that entered Prchlik’s athletic life just three years ago, as he never played Pop Warner, but in that short time he’s created an indelible legacy in the Titans uniform.
Skyline football was struggling when he first got there his freshman year. It won five games at the varsity level when he was a freshman, which was the first year under head coach Joe Bates. And then when Bates left for a year to go to Florida, Skyline won four games.
When Prchlik became a junior and Bates returned, the Titans thrived, providing glimpses to the glory days of Skyline football and showing that the program is going through a renaissance. Prchlik caught two passes for 37 yards while registering 21 tackles defensively, apart of a Skyline team that went 9-3 – its best season since Bates’ senior campaign in 2004 – and notched a runner-up finish in the Silver Bowl, which is Oakland’s championship game.
“I think I’ve always felt like I could play football,” Prchlik said. “It was just a matter of getting on the field and everything.”
College coaches are taking a keen interest in Prchlik, too.
Thus far, Prchlik boasts three offers – an NAIA school in McPherson College, which was his most recent offer on Dec. 31, and two Division III offers from Rose-Hulman and Whittier.
Other schools have expressed an interest in Prchlik, but Bates said some are waiting on more film to eventually send an offer. UC Davis has shown interest. So have places like Davidson and the University of San Diego.
The senior leader credits his coaching staff, parents and teammates for putting him on this path.
“I’m very grateful for everything they’ve done and taught me to do this, don’t do this, whatever,” Prchlik said. “And also I think I’ve had some very good peers that I’ve been able to look up to over the years. I try to seek out the good people around me and latch onto them and learn from them and gain knowledge from them on what to do, how to live life.”
Ahead of whichever college decision Prchlik makes, all he wants to do is win and represent himself, his family, Skyline and the city of Oakland in the best possible manner.
“I want to win,” Prchlik said. “I don’t care if I get two touchdowns, 20 touchdowns, zero touchdowns. If I get one sack on the season or 30 sacks, if we end up in the championship and I have an opportunity to help the team, that’s what I’m here for. And for personal outside of football, I want to keep my grades straight. I’m applying to colleges right now, so hopefully I can get into the colleges I would like to attend.”
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