In one of the biggest non-surprise signings of the year, Hannibal quarterback Dalton Powell has signed on to play for the Truman State University football team after graduating high school. Powell made the announcement Friday afternoon in the Hannibal High School library.

“I have been looking forward to that for a while,” Powell said. “The whole signing process, going to college, and being able to play football, it’s a really special moment and I will remember it for the rest of my life.”

Even before accepting the scholarship, Powell knew he wanted to attend Truman State.

“Truman State overall was really a perfect school for me,” Powell said. “Academically they are one of the top in the Midwest and one of the top in the nation also. ... The opportunity to play football there is just icing on the cake.”

Hannibal football coach Mark St Clair noted Truman State was where Powell wanted to be from the beginning.

“His recruiting process was a little bit different,” St Clair said. “From the onset, Truman State was where he wanted to be. He went there for a visit academically and I think he will tell you that he not only just fell in love with the school, but with the department he wants to be involved in.”

As the quarterback for the Pirates, Powell lead Hannibal to a 10-2 season. The team’s only two losses came against Helias. The first was in the final game of the regular season and the second came during the dictrict championship game.

Powell finished his senior campaign with 915 yards passing while throwing for nine touchdowns. On the ground, Powell was one of three Pirates to rush for over 500 yards. Powell finished with 560 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns. His longest TD of the season was an 84-yard carry.

For his career, Powell rushed for 745 yards and scored 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also passed for 1,685 career yards with 17 career touchdown passes. Powell led the Pirates to 18 wins over his two seasons as starting quarterback.

“He is a 34 ACT and one of the top two in his class,” St Clair said. “He is a kid that became our quarterback as a junior and won 18 games as the starting quarterback. He has participated in three sports now for four years and is just everything you could ask for in a student athlete.”

One of three remaining inaugural members of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), Truman State will be moving to the Great Lakes Valley Conference starting with the 2013-2014 school year. The Bulldogs will end over 100 years of history with the MIAA.

“I am looking forward to being able to continue the competition,” Powell said. “With Truman changing conferences, they are going to be playing more games up towards the Hannibal area. ... Just the whole aspect of competing in college sports, during my high school career I didn’t really think it was a possibility. Now that I have signed, it is really exciting looking forward to it.”

Truman State is located in Kirksville, a short 90 minute drive fron Hannibal.

“I have been down there a couple of times,” Powell said. “The football stadium kind of reminds me of a high school stadium as it is really compact in size. That is something I am looking forward to. The whole college, I really like it. It is compact and you can get to places easily but it is big enough where there is stuff that you can do a new thing almost every day. Kirksville reminded me of Hannibal a lot. There is plenty of things to do, but you are not going to be overwhelmed.”

While he will be close to home, Powell is planning on staying on campus, but isn’t ruling out the opportunity to visit home on the weekends.

“I am going to room down there,” Powell said. “I like it. It is far away and there are a lot of new things, but it is close enough to home that I can make it back on the weekends if I need to or over breaks. Location-wise, it is real perfect for me.”

Powell’s desire to attend Truman State wasn’t just for football though. Powell plans on majoring in accounting and the education he will receive at Truman State will help him reach his goal.

“Truman has got one of the best accounting program, actually the best accounting programs in the state,” Powell said. “They are one of the top 20 in the country. Accounting is a real good profession to go into and I really enjoy it. I am going to intern over the summer with an accountant. It is something I am really looking forward to getting into.”

While he knew he wanted to attend Truman State, Powell is not going there blindly. There will be several players on the team that he already knows.

Hannibal graduates from 2012, Connor Brown and Kyle Arthaud, will both be entering their sophomore years at Truman State. Also playing for Truman State are a pair of sophomores-to-be from Quincy Notre Dame. In addition, the North Central Missouri Conference has football players from Kirksville, Mexico, Marshall, and Boonville on its roster. Powell played against them all while quarterbacking for the Pirates.

“I know there are three Hannibal people down there,” Powell said. “Logan Hicks, who transferred there this semester, Connor Brown, and Kyle Arthaud and I have been teammates with them. They also have some QND kids.”

Upon visiting the school and the team, Powell imediately felt like he was at home.

“When I went down there on my visit,” Powell said, “it was a really family-like atmosphere. Everybody really cares about each other and they want to have success.”

St Clair had nothing but high praise for his two-year starter.

“He was an absolute pleasure to have as a coach,” St Clair said. “He is the type of kid that you want in your program. Any program, no matter what the sport, would be lucky to have him. He is the perfect example of what hard work and doing the right thing all the time can do for you.”