HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – It wasn’t hard for Hutchinson Community College to feel like home for Maize South’s three-year starting quarterback, Colin Shields.
“It’s made the adjustment to college pretty easy just with my family only being 40 minutes away,” said Shields.
The short drive isn’t the only reason why head coach Drew Dallas’ program felt like family.
“I actually ran into coach Dallas’ dad in a gas station in the middle of Missouri, just completely out of nowhere the summer before,” said Shields. “I kind of knew a little bit about Hutch.”
The junior college freshman had big dreams of playing for a Division I program out of high school, but the pandemic would change the college recruiting landscape.
“Because of the limitations last year… where a school would usually take three or four quarterbacks, they were only taking one,” said Brent Pfeifer, Shields’ high school football coach at Maize South. “Was that actually an offer or was it just an opportunity?”
Shields would land on the best junior college team in the country – the Hutchinson Blue Dragons.
“I think he really picked the best route for himself to grow and continue to improve,” said Pfeifer. “To go over to Hutch and get to work every day with Coach Dallas who is such an integral part of the quarterback room… to learn from a guy like that is an amazing opportunity, and it’s going to take him, I believe, big places.”
“Colin’s a very mature football player,” said Dallas. “He goes about his business like a professional, and that’s giving him a really good opportunity to come in and learn the offense and operate it consistently.”
While it’s a different route than he expected to take, Shields said he wouldn’t change a thing about his journey.
“You just go out there, and you take advantage of the reps they give you,” said Shields. “You’re going against the best players in the country every single day, and there’s only room for improvement. It makes you speed everything up and build upon what you already know.”
This season, Shields hopes he can help bring another national championship title back to Hutchinson.
“My goal is just to help us repeat what they did in the spring. Whether it’s the practice squad, second string, third string – maybe being on the field at some point,” said Shields. “I’m going to do the best I can do to help this team be prepared for whatever is thrown our way.”