ROCHESTER, NY - When Quentin Gause was in 6th grade, he stood with his father in a local gym watching a high school football all-star game.
Throughout the game, players would announce what college they planned on attending. Gause looked at his father and said "I want to play in that game, I want to go to college."
Standing in the same spot, in the same gym Wednesday morning, Gause made his dream a reality. Gause signed a National Letter of Intent to play Division 1 football at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
"Déjà vu," Gause said to his father as he signed his name.
The 6-foot-1, 210 pound athlete made his decision last May, when he gave Rutgers his verbal commitment. He held to that commitment though this entire process, despite hearing from such college football powers as Miami, USC, Oregon, and Stanford among others.
"This program is on the rise," said Gause. "Guys like Ray Rice, they built the first five floors of the Rutgers football structure, and we are going to build the next five. We are going to change the perception of Rutgers nationally."
Both of Gause's parents, Rick and Vielka, called the day "a blessing."
"This is where all the hard work paid off. This was the right place for him. In the end, where he went to college was his decision and we trusted he would make the right decision," added Vielka. "Quinten is a strong person and Rutgers just has the right group of people for him to surround himself with."
A lifelong resident of Rochester, N.Y., Gause attended Bishop Kearney High School.
"His transition to college will be smooth, he pushes himself academically and athletically, he is humble, he is a leader," said Bishop Kearney athletic director Sharon Kowalski.
Gause also took part in a mentoring program in the city. The program, "Changing the Community," was founded by former Division 1 football player Greg Hopkins.
Hopkins felt the need to teach inner city kids how to get from the high school level to the college level, the importance of scholarships, and how to be prepared on and off the field to compete at the highest level.
"Rutgers is getting the number one, most prepared athlete in the country. I fully believe that," said Hopkins. "My expectations are through the roof for him. I expect him to start as a freshman, and I expect him to be named Big East Freshman of the Year when it's over."
Gause just wants to prove he can compete right away.
"I need to be able to show I have the ability to help Rutgers win games," he said. "If I do that, then I will be starting from day one."
Gause has spoken to Rutgers coaches on both sides of the ball about where he will be playing. He will be given the opportunity this summer to try both linebacker and running back, and then the coaches will decide where he fits best for the 2011 season.
"He could play safety after we worked on his footwork and movement, he can play anywhere," added Hopkins.
"Right now, I'm just taking it all in and it feels real good," said Gause of Signing Day. "I'm ready for the journey to begin, I'm ready to get the playbook and start training. It's time for me to work even harder."
That 6th grader's dreams have finally come true.