Watch this video of Purdue defeating Notre Dame and remember that Neil Schmidt's cleat marks are all over Bluffton High School's Harmon Field. It could be the most amazing video of any Bluffton High School athlete.
Neil Schmidt, one of Bluffton High School's most outstanding athlete This photo is from his football days at Purdue
Note: We originally posted this on Sunday Bowl Sunday 2022. We've added several links including a video of the famous Purdue-Notre Dame football game won by Purdue with Schmidt as a hero of the contest. As you scroll down, allow time for the graphics to pop up on the screen.
Would you believe that a Bluffton High School graduate earned five Super Bowl rings?
This honor goes to Neil Schmidt, who might well be the best male athlete to graduate from BHS.
The 1940s-era Bluffton High School athletic standout in football and basketball started in both sports at Purdue, was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals and became a scout for the San Francisco 49ers.
He was the only Pirate to be named first team all-Ohio in two sports the same season, in football and basketball.
For the Pirates, he was a member of two basketball teams to win Western Buckeye League titles, in 1943-44 and 1946-47. He was also a member of the 1946 Bluffton HS Western Buckeye League football champs.
Interesting to note that his career was interrupted by more than a year of World War II naval duty between his junior and senior years.
At Purdue, Schmidt started as halfback and defensive safety. In 1950 he scored one TD and had an 85-yard TD called back against Notre Dame. Purdue won that game, snapping ND’s 39-game win streak. As a senior, he was the team’s leading offensive receiver.
Also as a senior, Schmidt started on the basketball team and averaged 14 points per game. He received Purdue’s Gimlet Award, given to the most outstanding Boilermaker athlete.
In the 1950-51 season he received the Big Ten Medal, given to the athlete with the highest grade point average.
He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals football team in the third round of the 1951-52 draft. An injury retired his career.
He was an assistant coach at Wichita State, Texas A&M, Florida State University and the University of Miami.
In the 1970s he became a pro scout and from 1974 to 1994 he was a scout with the 49ers, where he earned his Super Bowl rings. There's a story about Woody Hayes realizing that Schmidt slipped through his fingers, ending up at Purdue.
Today, Neil Schmidt is part of forgotten Bluffton.
Note: Neil’s sister is Mary Amstutz of Bluffton and his nephew is Steve Amstutz, former Bluffton teacher.
Several links to Neil Schmidt follow:
• Purdue basketball stat https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/neil-schmidt-1.html
• Purdue photo
• Video Purdue defeats Notre Dame
• Purdue football history
• Purdue 1951 draft picks
Purdue's Neil Schmidt (40) defends a Roy "Colonel" Burks catch from John Coatta in front of end Tilden Meyers (84) during a football game between Wisconsin and Purdue at Camp Randall Stadium