Ivan Drobocky didn’t take the email seriously at first glance.

He knew by his performance at a Northwestern summer camp that coaches were interested in connecting him with IMG Academy, a nationally prominent prep football program in Florida.

The email came first, then the Twitter follows and direct messages. This powerhouse program was indeed pursuing the Bowling Green tight end.

It forced Drobocky into an emotional decision, but one he believes will benefit his future.

The rising senior will forgo his final year with the Purples to attend IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

“It was surreal,” Drobocky said. “Once it became closer to that time, it got more and more realistic how they wanted me to play there. It was a great opportunity for me to take and I’m really happy about it.”

Drobocky had a few weeks to accept the offer that first sparked at a prospects camp at Northwestern University this summer. The coaches at Northwestern knew the IMG Academy was looking for a tight end to fit a run-oriented offense and suggested they contact Drobocky.

IMG Academy, which lists a tuition rate at $79,900 per academic year, is a boarding school with a schedule that “emulates the college experience,” according to its website. The football program plays a national schedule against similar prep academies and a varsity schedule that stays in-state. Both squads play independently as part of the Florida High School Athletic Association.

Drobocky will play tight end on the national team whose 2019 schedule includes road games in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Alabama. Report date is July 18.

“The pros (are) of going where a better opportunity for me as a person and player to improve myself,” Drobocky said. “They have a lot of connections. The cons are I have great friends and family here and a community I really love. Leaving that behind is the most challenging part. I’ve been very emotional about it. I think the decision to go is a far greater opportunity for me.

“I didn’t want to regret turning down this opportunity.”

Bowling Green coach Mark Spader said Drobocky was clearly emotional when he was told the news.

Last year was Drobocky’s first year as a main contributor on offense with 23 receptions for 251 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end was expected to be a major part of that group again alongside fellow tight end Jordan Dingle, a rising junior picking up offers from numerous Power 5 programs.

Spader said he had mixed feelings about Drobocky’s decision.

“From a head coach at Bowling Green High standpoint, it’s disappointing,” Spader said. “He’s a senior that worked very hard and was going to be a weapon on our team with a number of teammates and friends and relationships built. That part is initially disappointing and on the flip side, I’ve known him a big part of his life. He’s the same age as Evan (Spader’s son) and that senior class, I’m close with them.

“He’s pretty emotional about it and feels he’s made the right decision. As any good relationship goes, we support him and want him to do well, but he will be missed.”

Drobocky isn’t rated by recruiting services Rivals or 247sports, but he holds scholarship offers from Valparaiso, Centre College, Air Force, Jacksonville, Eastern Illinois and Morehead State.

IMG Academy has held a top-five national ranking and finished undefeated from 2015-17 and produced 29 Under Armour All-Americans. The exposure, coaching staff and overall program challenge helped Drobocky make his decision.

He also noted the added exposure he’ll receive on the national level. According to IMG Academy’s website, more than 120 NCAA Division-I programs visited campus during the 2017 spring evaluation period.

“You get more exposure to colleges and people,” Drobocky said. “It’s just a great opportunity.”{&end}

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