Sam Bodine could spend his time wondering how the recruiting process might have been different if he hadnt broken bones in his left leg in September.
Instead, hes just grateful to have the opportunity to play football again.
Like any athlete or any competitor, you think about what could have been, he said. But the key words are could have, and it didnt happen. So its hard not to think about it, but it doesnt matter.
Bodine, whose promising senior season at Canby High was cut short by a grotesque injury, took another step on his road to recovery Feb. 5 by signing a letter of intent of intent to play at Portland State.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker will continue rehabilitating as he looks forward to joining coach Nigel Burtons program.
Bodine, who plans to study business, said Oregon and Washington State encouraged him to walk on but added that PSU was the best fit for him.
The Vikings came forward with an offer before the start of Bodines senior campaign with the Cougars, and they kept in touch with him after his season-ending injury. Bodine said Portland States linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator, Lester Towns, called regularly to check in.
Sam was our No. 1 high school linebacker, Burton said. He had every school calling him every week, but when he got the injury we may have been the only school to stay with him. Our loyalty to him pays off.
Bodine is part of a talented recruiting class that includes several other area standouts, including Lakeridge defensive tackle Marqueese Royster and Central Catholic quarterback Aidan Wilder.
The group also includes Michael Doman, a Canby alumnus who transferred from BYU, and Cougars teammate A.J. Schlatter, who will join the program as a walk-on.
Hes one of my best friends, and Im extremely excited to play with him, Bodine said of Schlatter. Hes extremely underrated, so hes going to play with a chip on his shoulder.
The same could probably be said for Bodine, a multitalented player who was integral in Canbys schemes on both sides of the ball.
The outpouring of support he received from teammates, fans, opponents and beyond after he mangled his leg Sept. 27 against Oregon City underscored the ramifications of his absence on the field.
But he vowed to use the injury as a motivational tool.
This may have been the worst thing that has ever happened to me, he tweeted the next day. But I PROMISE this will not define me. I will come back stronger and faster.
And I will live the life I want to live with the success I want to have. I WILL NOT BE STOPPED, by this or anything that ever comes my way.
Some look at this as a curse ... it's a great opportunity all this adversity will prepare me for my future so much and make me the man I want (to) be.
For Bodine, the last four months have been characterized by slow but steady progress.
In October, he started lifting weights again. By late November, he could wear shoes on both feet. By late December, he was walking.
He is working on proper heel-toe form and hoping to be cleared for light running by the end of February, although he knows he wont be able to do everything he was accustomed to doing right away.
If I take it too fast and hurt myself, its another setback, he said. So its as much as I can do as fast as I can do it. Ive just got to be careful.
But despite the adversity he has faced, Bodine has remained upbeat on his path to playing football at the collegiate level.
And now that he has taken his official visit to Portland State, made his verbal commitment and signed with the Vikings, Bodine wants to keep his focus on the future.
Im ready to move on from that struggle, he said. Youve got to know where youve been to know where youre going. But I think I can overcome anything.