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Indiana high school football star playing for national championship

Connersville native plays for nat’l title Sunday

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Evan Shafer seemed destined for a stellar football career. A three-sport athlete at Connersville High School, he was courted by several Division 1 football schools.

“I was going to visit Cincinnati because they were officially recruiting me, they had sent me their whole official recruiting package where they show yourself in a locker,” said Shafer, who plays the tight end position.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, those offers dried up.

“It was very discouraging it was something I always worked for,” Shafer said. “Something that lifted my spirits a little bit is that the transfer portal has become more and more used.”

In 2021, Shafer enrolled in small Hillsdale College in Michigan, and after two seasons, he put his name in the transfer portal.

“From an early point on, Montana was talking to me because their star tight end Cole Grossman had gotten hurt last season and he had to do surgery where he would be out for a year,” said Shafer.

Last summer, Shafer got a call from the University of Montana from a coach who wanted him to report to camp in time for fall practice.

“We play in front of 27, 28 thousand fans every single Saturday,” Shafer said. “And compare that to when I had 5,000 fans at Hillsdale College on a good day.”

The timing was perfect for Shafer. Montana finished 13-1 and will play South Dakota State in the FCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7 at 2 p.m.