August 07, 2022


St. Rita’s Tommy Ulatowski chooses football over baseball, commits to Kent State as preferred walk-on

St. Ritas Tommy Ulatowski scrambles to the outside against Wheaton North in the Class 7A state championship at NIU Huskie Stadium. Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in DeKalb.

Tommy Ualtowski wasn’t ready to let go.

The St. Rita quarterback knew he wasn’t done playing football after his senior season ended at the Class 7A state title game.

All he needed was someone to give him a chance.

He received that opportunity from Kent State when the coaching staff offered him a preferred walk-on spot in the winter. The quarterback knew he needed to take it and announced over Twitter on Tuesday that he decommitted from playing baseball at Creighton and will play football for the Golden Flashes.

“It was a pretty difficult decision,” Ulatowski said. “I’ve played both sports my whole life. Realizing that I had to give one up was definitely very hard and was a hard decision I had to make. I reflected on what I wanted to do and what I could see myself doing for the next four years and it ended up coming down to football being where my heart’s at.”

Ulatowski committed to Creighton in January 2021 when he wasn’t sure how much of an opportunity he would get to play football amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He worked out a deal with the Creighton coaching staff that if someone gave Ulatowski an opportunity to play football collegiately that he could decommit.

Kent State didn’t start showing interest until 2022. Ulatowski and his family visited the campus and after the coaches offered him a preferred walk-on spot, the senior knew he needed to accept.

The Golden Flashes have grown as a program since Sean Lewis took over four years ago and Ulatowski knew he wanted to be part of it. Kent State qualified for the Mid-American Conference Championship this past season and has competed in two straight bowl games.

The coaches told Ulatowski that the best players will play in games and he was ready for the challenge.

“All I wanted was an opportunity, all I wanted was a chance, that’s all I could ask for,” Ulatowski said. “It doesn’t matter whether I’m a scholarship guy or a walk-on guy, all I want is a chance to play and show what I can do at the next level.”

Ulatowski took over as St. Rita’s starting quarterback late in his sophomore season and never gave the starting slot back. He led the Mustangs to three straight conference championships and never lost a conference game as a starter. He earned First Team All-CCL/ESCC Green and CCL/ESCC Green Offensive Player of the Year honors for his senior season.

The senior has won and started the most games at the position for St. Rita under coach Todd Kuska, who knows his quarterback has the intelligence that will help him excel at the next level, he just needs a chance to play.

“It’s great to see him get that opportunity,” Kuska said. “He’s a winner, he figures out ways to win a football game.”

Ulatowski knows the transition to the college game won’t be easy. He’s excited to get to campus this summer and start learning Kent State’s system and learn what it takes to play at the next level.

But the senior’s excited to get the opportunity, because he wasn’t ready to let football go.

“I’m extremely excited,” Ulatowski said. “I feel like going in there, competition brings out the best in everyone, and I’m going to do whatever I can to make them a better program and push everyone to become better players and better versions of themselves.”

Michal Dwojak

Michal Dwojak

Michal is an award-winning sports journalist based in Chicago. He most recently served as the sports editor of The Glenview Lantern and Northbrook Tower and is a graduate of the College of Media at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.