Marian Central’s Cale McThenia appreciated the interest, commits to Northern Iowa

Marian Central's Cale McThenia throws a pass during a non-conference football game Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, between Marian Central and Johnsburg at Marian Central High School.

Marian Central quarterback Cale McThenia knew other offers eventually would come his way later this spring.

Several NCAA Division I schools were waiting to see the Hurricanes’ junior throw in person this spring, but Northern Iowa already had offered McThenia a scholarship from watching game videos.

That meant everything to McThenia, who announced his commitment to the Panthers on Tuesday on Twitter. “Blessed to continue my career on a full ride scholarship and pursue my dream of playing Division I football at Northern Iowa, Go Panthers!!” he wrote.

McThenia had visited numerous schools over the past two months. He committed to UNI on Sunday, then informed other schools he had been in contact with his plans.

“I just had one offer. Other schools wanted to see me throw in the spring,” McThenia said. “I told them, I went through that process last year and didn’t really enjoy it. Northern Iowa is the team that believed in me and offered without coming to see me throw. I’m blessed to be in that position and commit to a school my junior year.”

McThenia (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) was a Northwest Herald All-Area second-team selection after throwing for 2,554 yards, which was second in the area, without the benefit of any playoff games.

McThenia completed 55.9% of his passes and had 26 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He also led the Hurricanes with 393 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

“For Cale, it’s really important to him that he has people who are confident in him,” Hurricanes coach Liam Kirwan said. “He felt that with the Northern Iowa coaching staff, similar to the way he feels with our staff and our confidence in him. When Cale has a coaching staff like that, the sky’s the limit. That went a really long way.”

McThenia forged strong ties with Panthers quarterback coach Bodie Reeder and wide receivers coach Joe Ganz.

“They’ve been so great to me over these past two stressful months,” he said. “They said, ‘You always have a home here.’ I finally decided to commit. They’ve been nothing but great. I respect them a lot for being patient with me throughout the whole process.”

McThenia had planned to throw in front of coaches at Marian this spring and attend some one-day camps at colleges this summer.

Now, he will just work with teammates like Christian Bentancur (Clemson commit), Rylan Dolter and others.

“A lot of stress has been taken off now,” McThenia said. “I mainly did it because it was the best fit for me, but I want to help my teammates prepare the most for this last season and try and get a championship under our belt.

“I didn’t want to be traveling all the time and going places, I wanted to stick around with them and get a lot of work in.”

Kirwan talked with his quarterback and just urged him to find a place that felt like home. The Cedar Falls school was that place.

“He’s not necessarily someone was looking to be camping all over the place and needed to get as many offers,” Kirwan said. “He wanted to find a home and he felt Northern Iowa is a good home for him and was happy with that decision. I told him, ‘You have to go with whatever you’re feeling.’

“I told him if he waited there’s a good chance there would be more, but if you feel strongly about it, if you and your parents feel this is the best for you, that’s what you should do.”

Marian produced a string of D-I quarterbacks dating 15 years ago with Jon Budmayr (Wisconsin), Ben Krol (Eastern Illinois), Chris Streveler (Minnesota/South Dakota) and Billy Bahl (Miami, Ohio). Now, McThenia joins that list.

UNI coaches constantly were in contact with McThenia since he visited and was offered.

“They’ve been calling me ever since then, wanting me to commit,” McThenia said. “I finally committed. I’m going back up there this spring for a visit. I’ll go to a spring practice.”