So it was no surprise Callaway had a long list of reasons why he chose Bowling Green to continue his football career.
“I love the coaches, I love the school … it fits me academically and athletically,” Callaway said Sunday night. “The facilities are awesome and the campus is great.”
Before Callaway could decide on a school, he had to figure out what sport he wanted to play. He received a dozen Division I offers for baseball — including Ohio State, Florida State, West Virginia and Tennessee — and seven more for football.
“It was definitely a tough decision and I love both sports, but my heart’s in football,” he said. “I had a couple schools talk to me about playing both — Bowling Green offered me for both — but in the long run it’s just too hard to try and excel at both sports, especially playing quarterback.”
Callaway has impressed everyone with his prowess on the diamond — sparkling as the Middies’ shortstop and pitcher — but he has also put together one of the best quarterback resumes in Lorain County history.
Callaway was thrust into the starting lineup during Week 8 of his freshman year, and managed just four completions for 41 yards against Avon. He bounced back to throw for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Firelands, and 208 yards and two touchdowns against North Ridgeville in the season finale.
As a sophomore, he threw for 1,983 yards and 18 TDs — highlighted by five-touchdown performances in back-to-back games — rushed for 165 yards and four TDs and landed on the All-Ohio third team.
Callaway topped those numbers in the fall with 1,892 yards and 20 TDs passing and 240 yards and six TDs rushing and led the Middies to a postseason berth — all while battling through an ankle injury and broken finger. He was named the Northeast Lakes District Offensive Player of the Year and landed on the All-Ohio first team.
Through it all, Callaway had been talking to college recruiters.
“It was a really long process — going on three years now — and I’m thankful it’s over,” he said. “There are a lot of good quarterbacks across the country and fortunately I got some D-I offers and am now able to go to a school where I’d like to play.”
Callaway narrowed the list to three schools — BGSU, Ohio University and Ball State — and visited each, but Bowling Green still had an inside edge.
“My dad (Duane) went to Bowling Green and played (baseball) for Coach (Danny) Schmitz, who is still coaching there now,” Callaway said. “But (my father’s) been great through this whole thing. He never put any pressure on me. He told me to do whatever I wanted to do, go wherever I wanted to go and play whatever sport I wanted to play.”
Callaway also credits Falcons offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero, who serves as the quarterbacks coach, as a big factor in his decision.
“He recruited me awesome,” Callaway said. “I’d talk to him on the phone once or twice a week. I went there for an unofficial visit and loved the way he runs practice and loved the way he teaches his players.
“We definitely had a strong connection.”
Callaway also liked that Bowling Green is less than two hours away from home, and that the university just built an $11.4 million criminal justice facility.
“That’s what I want to study,” he said. “I want to have a career as maybe a state trooper or a game warden … something in law enforcement.”
He also likes the challenges playing for the Falcons will bring.
“Coach Ruggiero showed me next year’s schedule and there are four or five games on ESPN,” Callaway said. “Bowling Green has some pretty big games in the next few years, like Ohio State and Mississippi, and I’m looking forward to playing some big schools.”
But first Callaway has his senior season — not to mention the rest of his junior and senior seasons in baseball — to look forward to next fall.
“I’m happy that I can now turn my focus to my baseball and football teams, and winning a championship for both of them,” he said. “I also hope that I was able to set an example for the other local football players and kids at my school. If you work hard and try your best, you can accomplish your dreams.”