Purdue University made too much sense for Elijah Sindelar to go elsewhere.
The Caldwell County junior quarterback made a verbal commitment Tuesday to attend Purdue. The key reason: an engineering department U.S. News and World Report ranked among the top 15 nationally.
But Sindelar, who has a 4.0 GPA, also liked Purdue because he wanted to stay within a five-hour drive of home and because the Boilermakers run an offense that requires the quarterback to play under center and in the shotgun, giving him a better chance of playing professionally.
"If I had a chance to go to the NFL, which is a very small percentage, I'll need to be able to do both," Sindelar said. "I feel if I could learn it in college, that'll help me if I have a chance to go to the NFL."
Tigers coach David Barnes thinks the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Sindelar has room to grow in college.
"He's nowhere near the level he can compete at," Barnes said. "He's going to get bigger, he's going to get stronger. As he gets into a program where he can totally concentrate on not just his academics but concentrate on getting in the weight room consistently, he's going to put on more muscle."
Sindelar was named the Paducah Sun Pepsi MidAmerica All-Region Player of the Year after competing 196 of 303 passes (64.7 percent) for 3,374 yards with 44 touchdowns and just eight interceptions last fall. He said he also had offers from the University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Ole Miss.
The Tigers finished 12-1, their lone loss coming in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state championship to Murray. He went 23 of 33 for 253 yards with two touchdowns but three interceptions in the game.
Caldwell County lost in the state final his sophomore year and made the state tournament his freshman year. He has thrown for 95 touchdowns and 9,028 yards in his high school career.
Sindelar said he committed early because he wanted other programs to have an opportunity to recruit other quarterbacks. But the early choice allows him to no longer worry about the recruiting process.
"I figured when I knew where I wanted to go that it was time (to commit)," Sindelar said. "When I stepped on campus at Purdue, I knew that's where God called me to be. I can focus on sports now. Going into my senior year, I can just play football and focus on winning a state championship."
Contact Daniel Paulling, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8662 or follow @DanielPaulling.