By Rob Kiser
It would be hard to imagine any Alex Nees event living up to the hype.
But, the charismatic, defensive leader of the Piqua football team definitely pulled it off Tuesday — as hundreds of students, families and coaches witnessed as he signed his letter of intent to play college football for Ashland University in the commons at Piqua High School.
“There are two goals I always had,” Nees said. “Playing there (pointing out to Alexander Stadium/Purk Football) and playing in college.”
The numbers really don’t define what the son of Piqua football coach Bill and Velvet Nees meant to the program.
The safety made the All-GWOC team this season — as well as being named first team All-GWOC North this season and second team All-GWOC North the previous two seasons.
His role on the defense changed throughout his three seasons.
After 61 tackles and two interceptions as a sophomore — Nees, had 48 tackles as a junior and 30 tackles and three interceptions as a senior.
And as always, Nees looks back on his accomplishments from a team perspective — not individual.
“I love these guys,” Nees said, pointing out at all his teammates in attendance. “It is a brotherhood. I wouldn’t be where I am without all those guys.”
And it is why he takes particular pride in his senior season.
“To get a win over Trotwood, to keep the win streak against Troy going and to end the eight-years without Piqua being in the playoffs,” Nees said about the Indians 6-5 season. “Those things are huge. Honestly, nothing against the championship game — but to accomplish those three things is a better feeling than going to the state championship game and losing.”
Nees feels blessed to have played for his father Bill — he has roamed the Piqua sidelines for years and as a young boy could be seen on the field with Piqua’s state championship trophy in 2006 after the game.
“It has helped me tremendously (playing for his dad),” the 5-10, 176 pound safety said. “A lot of people may view me as an undersized safety. But, when they learn I am a coach’s son, they realize I will pick things up 10 times faster. It has helped me a lot in the recruiting process.”
Nees said his college choice was an easy one.
“It is a D-II school with D-I facilities,” Nees said. “The facilities up there are just unbelievable. That and getting a great education were the two reasons I chose Ashland.”
Bill Nees said Ashland is a perfect fit for Alex.
“It is a great fit,”the coach said. “They are as good as any Division II program in the country. They were in the playoffs last year and the facilities they have there are unbelievable.”
Alex Nees knows it will be different than playing for his dad — but he hopes to see some familiar faces on the team in the future.
“There is going to be a pipeline from Piqua to Ashland and I am glad it is starting with me,” Nees said. “It is going to be tough (not playing for his dad). I know I have a lot of work to do.”
But, Alex Nees expects to be successful.
“I know I can go there an make an impact,” he said. “I know they are excited to get me. One of the coaches is calling me almost every day, telling me that.”
It was not just a big day for Alex.
“It is always special day when you have one of your kids sign,” Bill Nees said. “And it is great for our program.”
And the two will have one more time on the field this spring.
“It is coaching in the (high school) all-star game and I am going to be playing,” Alex Nees said. “There is a lot less pressure in a game like that — it should be a lot of fun.”
Like any event involving Alex Nees.
“This completes the circle,” he said about his signing.
And he had a large circle of family and friends there to prove it.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.