It's been a long road for Jay Prosch, but he's finally home.
The UMS-Wright product took his services to Illinois out of high school after few schools offered him the chance to play college football. He was an offensive lineman/defensive lineman in high school, but Prosch turned the tables on everyone developing into an All-American fullback for the Illini.
Now, he brings his immense talent and brute strength to the new-look offense of the Tigers.
"Whenever I left high school, I really didn't have many offers. That's why I went to Illinois, it was probably the best offer I had and the school I felt like fit me the best," Prosch said. "It's probably helped me see that you don't have to have that many offers to get where you want to be. There's always other ways. You know, I feel like things really worked out for me, the cards kind of fell out good. I'm happy about it."
Prosch, who entered spring at 6-foot, 253-pounds, always loved Auburn. Unfortunately things didn't work out the first time around, but that doesn't bother Prosch. The important thing is that he's finally arrived at his destination and is eager to contribute for his childhood favorite.
"Growing up, my parents are not really big football fans either way," said Prosch. "I have three older sisters, so before I came along, it was a girl's house. As I started growing up, I became an Auburn fan. My sister came to school here, so that definitely helped, but this is the school I wanted to be at when I graduated high school."
A main reason Prosch decided to transfer from Illinois was because of the current health of his mother, who is battling cancer. Prosch would go long periods of time without ever seeing his family, as Champaigne is a 12-hour drive from Mobile, Ala.
Since Prosch's arrival at Auburn, he's already been home four different times, and welcomed his mother and sisters three different times to Auburn.
"It's not like I could just pick a weekend and drive with football. So really, it was only the breaks. It was crazy for me to be able to go, I'm going to go home this weekend, leave after class and drive home. It's been awesome."
The start of spring practice marked the end and the beginning for Prosch, as he officially moves on from his days in the Big Ten and looks forward to his days as a premier blocker in the SEC and for one of the nation's most respected programs when it comes to running the football.
"I've always wanted to come to Auburn and play here, ever since I got out of high school," Prosch said. "The whole thing has been a dream for me, and this kind of set it in stone. It was great. About after the first week, classes were just hitting good, I was doing workouts and everything, so about after that first week, everything just started to get in the flow."
Sources say Prosch is already making his mark on Auburn history, throwing up 380-pounds in the clean lift in front of the entire team. It's unclear whether that is a new Auburn team record, but Prosch's toughness and mentality to pave the way have him itching at the chance to put the pads on.
"Today, it's kind of hard when you just go out in helmets and you still kind of have to go against the defense, because you don't know what's too hard and what's too soft, so you have to find that little medium there and make everybody happy, he said. "Once you get all the pads on, it's balls to the wall, see what you can do. I'm excited about that."
Early on, Prosch has been impressed with Loeffler's welcoming demeanor. Prosch believes Loeffler is a coach that will always be open to questions and feedback from his players. Prosch has also paid close attention to the running backs that he will be blocking for, noting their is some speed to burn.
"I think two or three of them ran 4.2's. They're fast, they're strong, and I'm really looking forward to playing with them and seeing what they can do," Prosch said. "I'm very impressed with the backs we have."
In order for Prosch to get to that point though, he must first await word from the NCAA. Auburn has petitioned the organization for a waiver to grant Prosch immediate eligibility, and Prosch is optimistic he will be cleared.
"I don't think so. I feel strongly that it's going to come through. I'm hoping it does, but if not, I still have a redshirt year, so I won't be wasting a year of eligibility, and I'lll still have two years after that. But I feel good about it, so we'll see."
So while Prosch waits, he will practice, and look towards the day when he hits the field for the first time at Jordan-Hare Stadium. A place he always dreamed of playing, next fall, he's hopeful those dreams turn into reality.