All is right for Jack Sanborn, who penned his right-handed signature on a national letter of intent with the University of Wisconsin on Wednesday.
"My right side's good," Lake Zurich's two-time all-state linebacker, with a sling wrapped around his left shoulder, said with a smile.
His left side? Not so right.
Regardless, life is right for Sanborn, who underwent surgery last Thursday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He revealed Wednesday, on the first early-signing date for high school senior football players, that he played the entire season with the injury, which he suffered in a preseason practice. The two-hour operation also entailed cleaning out some chipped bones.
"He had like a 360 (-degree) tear," Lake Zurich coach Luke Mertens said. "I texted him after the surgery and said, 'That proves how tough you really are.' "
Not that there were doubts, mind you. Sanborn's senior season saw him deliver pain to opponents, as he notched 120 tackles in becoming the school's all-time leader in that category with 296, while helping the Bears reach the Class 7A state championship game.
"I was in pain for most of the year," Sanborn said. "As it went on, I got more used to it."
It wasn't the only injury for the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder. Late in the regular season, Sanborn injured his left side again, this time spraining his big toe.
"The worst (injury) I got was probably the turf toe," Sanborn said. "You don't think it's bad, but when you get it, you're like, 'Geez, this awful.' "
More awful news for Sanborn came in the Bears' playoff opener against Schaumburg, as he sprained his left MCL. Through it all this season, however, he never missed a game and never doubted he could contribute at a high level.
"I know what I can accomplish out on the field, and I believe in myself," Sanborn said.
If Sanborn hadn't injured his shoulder before the season started, Mertens says his three-year varsity star would have had a more prominent role on offense. Instead, Sanborn played only sparingly on the offensive side of the ball.
"That combination of athleticism, size, speed and tenacity doesn't come around often," Mertens said.
A four-star recruit by 247 Sports and Rivals, Sanborn verbally committed to Wisconsin last March. He told the Badgers staff immediately when he injured his shoulder in August, and they supported him.
The coach who recruited him, Tim Tibesar, is leaving Wisconsin to become Oregon State's defensive coordinator, but that hardly soured Sanborn on his commitment to the university. Wisconsin (12-1) will play Miami in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.
"I love Coach Tibesar," Sanborn said. "He's a great man. I have a lot of respect for him. But once you commit, you commit to the school too. You commit to everything that school stands for and what the program stands for."
Sanborn will wear a sling for three weeks. He should be ready to resume football activities by May or June.
In the end, he counted nearly 20 scholarship offers. As late as Tuesday, a couple of college coaches contacted him to see if he still planned to sign with Wisconsin. While he could have waited until the next signing period in February to make his commitment to the Badgers official, he felt there was no need.
"I've been committed for a while, and nothing is going to change in the next two months," Sanborn said. "So why not get it done right now? I'm all onboard to Wisconsin."
With an achy left shoulder, he left no doubts Wednesday.