Iowa State University reminds him of home.
Since the first football camp Raymore-Peculiar soon-to-be senior Scotty Schaffner attended his sophomore year, he knew he wanted to become a Cyclone.
“It’s really close to home so if I ever want to go home I can go visit,” Schaffner said. “It just made me feel at home. The coaching staff and the surroundings, everything is just there.”
But, ISU hasn’t always been as sure of Schaffner. That first camp, Schaffner went up as a wide receiver, but the school didn’t show much interested.
“When I was a junior, I got a little bit bigger and moved to tight end,” Schaffner said. “I went up there again and they were really interested. I did really well at their camp.”
After the football camp ended, Schaffner was pulled aside by the coaches and told that the staff liked what he can do, but they weren’t ready to give him a scholarship. The school was holding out to see what another player decided first.
“But two days later they gave me a call and said they wanted me to come play for them,” Schaffner said.
That was June 7 and Schaffner hasn’t stopped smiling.
“I was really excited,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to go to that school for so long and they believed in me and wanted me to come play for them.”
But Iowa State University wasn’t the only school that was interested in the 6-foot, 4-inch, 220-pound tight end. Schaffner attended camps at the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Kansas, Northern Illinois University, Florida Atlantic University and Oklahoma State University.
“I wanted to get my name out there so we picked a whole bunch of camps to go to,” Schaffner said.
He was also offered a scholarship at Florida Atlantic University, but of course the opportunity to be a Cyclone was too good to pass up.
“I knew the coaches would keep me in good spirits and they would take care of me,” he said. “Their football facilities are amazing. They have a brand new locker room and a brand new weight room. Their offense, they run a spread offense, so I will be in the slot the whole time, which is good for me because I’m used to playing out wide.”
Schaffner is quick to say that he wouldn’t have gotten the offer without the help of the Raymore-Peculiar football program.
“Coach (Tom) Kruse is an amazing coach,” Schaffner said. “Ever since I started in seventh grade, I have really bought into his system. I haven’t missed a day of weights and I haven’t missed a day of practice. Whatever I needed to do to play college football, I did. I just wanted to outwork everybody.”
And he had the support of the Panther coaching staff and his teammates.
“I think the whole team, the coaching staff, just everybody around you helps you reach your goals,” he said. “I definitely think playing at Ray-Pec has helped.”
His favorite moment of being a Panther so far happened last season in a rainy game against Liberty.
“It was a monsoon outside and we were down 27-7 at halftime,” Schaffner said. “We came back and won 41-37. It was crazy.”
Schaffner is a little superstitious, and hopes that his before-game rituals help. He always listens to the same songs on a play-list and has the same snacks, a banana and a Naked Mighty Mango juice. He also always drives his mother’s car, every game day, although he doesn’t quite know why.
“She lets me do it,” he said. “It just something I have to do.”
The superstitions might help Schaffner’s confidence going into a game, but he knows that his performance is just a small part of a big picture.
“I couldn’t have done anything without the rest of my team and their support,” he said. “If somebody does something, it’s because someone else makes a good block or makes a good throw.”
His teammates, including his fellow eight seniors, are supportive and excited about his commitment to Iowa State University, but Schaffner tries to keep focused on the upcoming season, his last year with Raymore-Peculiar.
The Panthers have had two team camps, at the University of Central Missouri and at Panther stadium and Schaffner has a bright outlook on what the team can do this year.
“I think we are going to be really good,” Schaffner said. “I think we can go deep into the playoffs and make a good run. We have a lot of underclassmen stepping up so hopefully we can put it altogether.”