On Wednesday morning, Madison Southern quarterback Tobias Storm found himself in a place he never thought he would be.
The senior stood at a podium on the school's auditorium stage and nervously looked out at the standing-room only crowd of people that had come to watch him sign a letter of intent to play football at Centre College.
A chance he never imagined he would get.
Storm spoke about his journey and his struggles to get that chance at the podium and thanked the people in the room for their help along the way.
Among the list were his coaches, of course, but also his teammates, teachers, family and friends who have encouraged and stood behind him on his journey.
"It means a lot to me,"
Storm said of the signing ceremony and those he shared the moment with. "I didn't know what my future would be when I was younger. It's been a rollercoaster. Even though my brothers couldn't be here today, I'm glad my mom is the family member who was here today. Mostly, I'm glad I got the opportunity to try to make my mom and my dad proud."
Storm's father passed away when the football player was just starting his sophomore season.
However, the senior said he knows that his father was also there in spirit and was proud to see his son follow his passion.
Still, Storm shook his head in disbelief that he even made it this far.
"I, statistically, wasn't supposed to make it," the senior said matter-of-factly.
But he did.
Storm took the field two days after his father's death with his teammates behind him and the Eagles went on to play for a Class 5A state championship.
The following year, Storm was asked to take on quarterback duties -- a position he had not played since middle school.
The senior admits he didn't do a great job of preparing to take on that responsibility at the time.
Storm said if he could go back, he would focus more on training to handle the rigors and responsibility on the field as an upperclassmen.
"I didn't put in the time as a freshman and sophomore. I didn't realize what the weight room and things like that could do for me as an athlete. I didn't take it serious until my junior year. I think that hurt me overall as player. I think I could have been better athlete if I took it more seriously as a young guy," Storm explained.
Still, Storm pushed through, and his senior year he led his team to a district championship and a win over rival Madison Central.
In the 36 high school games, Storm had 54 touchdowns.
In his high school career he had 1,699 yards rushing on 278 carries -- an average of 6.1 yards per carry.
The quick-footed Storm racked up 25 rushing touchdowns and threw 123 for 233 in passing for a total of 2,411 yards -- 19.6 yards per completion.
He also had 25 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Storm had eight catches for 107 yards and three touchdown catches.
Storm also pulled double duty on the defense and had 32 tackles with two interception and one interception for a touchdown.
The stats are less important to the senior, who said he hopes to be remembered as someone who kept going even when things were rough.
"Overcoming my dad's death and bouncing back from it was the hardest thing I've had to do. I hope I helped other people see you don't have to stay down -- you can work through things and persevere. I'd like to be an example on how to make it through things and keep a smile on your face. I hope people look to me and say, 'I can make it, if he made it,'" Storm said.
The senior said he chose Centre College over larger football schools because of the high academics standards.
"I liked the education and that promising future their academics gives you. I love the coaches and the team and the whole campus. I had a lot of Division III offers, but I chose Centre because it felt like a really good fit," Storm said.
The senior plans to major in business.
While at Centre, the football player will revert back to his previous roll of a running back and slot receiver.
"I'm not really a quarterback, I just had to take on that role. I think I'll be back where I'm better suited," Storm said.
The senior admits he almost didn't think he would pursue football after high school, however he said the draw of the game was too much to walk away from.
"I missed it every day and I realized what Centre could do for me in the future. I had to take the opportunity," Storm said.
Football has been essential to keeping him stable, the senior said.
"Coming from a rough childhood, football has been my therapy. It's kept me on the right rack and helped me make the right decisions. Football is more than a game for me. It's something that keeps me out of trouble and living the right life and making good decisions. If I didn't have that, I don't know where I would be," Storm said.
The thing he will miss most about playing high school football, the senior said, will be the close friendships he formed with his teammates.
"A lot of us are moving away. A lot of guys are going different places. I'll miss them. It will be weird not getting to see them every day," Storm admitted.
However, the senior will join another close friend and former teammate at Centre -- Carter Smith.
"I'll get to play with him for two years. He actually hosted me on my overnight visit and we had a great time," Storm said.
The senior said he hopes to earn a chance to play as a freshman and contribute to the team in his first year.
Storm said wished he could've given some advice to his younger self that would've made the past few years less stressful.
"I'd tell my younger self to trust the process and stick with it because it's all going to work out," he said. "For the younger guys coming up and other people, I hope seeing me here today helps to motivate them to keep going, too. I still made something of myself after going through some things. If I can, anyone can."