With the 2014 Chicagoland high school football season now behind us, it’s time to congratulate the players on their successes and highlight a few of their accomplishments, including letters of intent and offers.
Warren’s Darrius Crump
When the football season started, Warren’s junior running back Darrius Crump was something of an unknown. Even though he’d played varsity ball since his freshman season, the Carmel transfer was worried about fitting in with the Blue Devils, telling Mike Clark of High School Cube News that he didn’t know how much playing time he’d get.
His solution? “I headed to the gym, I did the leg workouts,” Crump said.
First-year Warren coach Bryan McNulty expects big things for Crump, saying: “Nobody really knows about the kid. I would assume colleges will start coming around pretty quick.”
Carmel’s Rondel Jamison
Early in the season, Carmel sophomore Rondel Jamison told Tim Froehlig of High School Cube News that he’d “received letters of interest and questionnaires from Division I schools Michigan St., Nebraska, Duke, Louisville and Northwestern.”
Corsairs teammate Patrick Lyman zeroed in on Jamison’s dedication and focus when he said “team unity is probably our biggest strength. If everyone wasn’t on the same page, there’s no way we’d be standing here right now headed to the playoffs.”
Grayslake Central’s Titus Booker
Grayslake Central senior Titus Booker, who is verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spent time with the Badgers in Madison according to Beth Long’s weekly recruiting roundup. Booker commented on the experience, saying: “I enjoyed just getting to know the other commits and being able to see the guys I am going to spend the next four years with. That was a great experience.”
He added: “While I was there, I just felt that the best part about Wisconsin is just the people around you. Everyone there just shows so much passion about the football team.”
Stevenson’s Kevin Pearson
The news of Stevenson senior defensive back Kevin Pearson’s first offer was made public in a November roundup by Beth Long. Pearson explained that the University of Indianapolis’ offer happened during preparation for the 8A state championship, saying:
“[I’d] been in constant contact with the recruiting coordinator of their football program, and then earlier in the afternoon the coaches sent me a letter with the official offer letter and offered me. It was a great evening.”
When Pearson told his Patriot teammates, “…they walked into the locker room and tackled me and hugged me, and it just felt awesome. There was also a sense of relief.”
Warren’s Javon Burruss
It was mid-November when Beth Long called Warren senior Javon Burruss a prospect to watch. Even though he had been injured early in the season, he was still getting recruiting interest. Burruss is quoted in the High School Cube News article as saying, “I am trying to pick up some offers so I can put this recruiting process to an end and play for the school of my dreams.”
Long wrote that the Blue Devils offensive lineman planned to “visit Ohio State, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Indiana and Illinois in the coming months.”
Stevenson’s Nick Dillon
Senior Nick Dillon of Stevenson verbally committed to Eastern Michigan early on. The defensive lineman told Beth Long in a November round up that, while he considered offers from Western Michigan, Bowling Green, New Mexico and North Dakota State and visited a couple of them, he is satisfied with his choice.
“I am happy I found a home with Eastern Michigan,” he said. “Coach Chris Creighton does a great job, and I feel like I am loved out there.”
Warren’s Jerry Powe
It was October when Warren defensive back Jerry Powe picked up scholarship offers from four schools: Lehigh, Colgate, Valparaiso and Lafayette.
He was quoted by Beth Long in her weekly recruiting roundup as saying: “Recruiting actually started off pretty slow, but now that my senior tape is going around, everything is starting to fall in place.”
As for the schools themselves, Powe said: “I know they are really good schools academically, and that’s very important. When I get the chance to visit those schools, I’ll get a feel for what their football program is all about.”
Stevenson’s Matt Morrissey
Stevenson grad Matt Morrissey, who scored 10 touchdowns and recorded 89 tackles in his 2013 senior season, is currently on the Michigan State scout team. The Chicago Tribune’s Jon Kerr, in a piece published just before Christmas, describes Morrissey’s current role as redshirt, which Kerr says is “not an uncommon designation for first-year players at Football Bowl Subdivision programs.”
After the New Year, Morrissey will play four more seasons for the Spartans, putting his months of studying the opposing defense into action. Morrissey is quoted in the article as saying: “I go against the best players in the country, and it makes you a better player. That’s a big reason why I came to MSU.”
Lakes’ Tanner Blain
Tanner Blain, who graduated from Lakes Community High School in 2012 and signed with San Diego State, will join the Aztecs to participate in spring ball. He is quoted on the Lakes Football website as saying: “San Diego State was my first offer, and … when I visited, I just loved it. I really liked the school and the fact that they play in an NFL stadium. It just felt like the right place for me.”
Sometimes, the best thing that happens to a high school athlete isn’t a great offer from a university dream team — it’s life itself. Lake Forest’s Wes Janeck found this out last year. After missing an entire season due to a sudden and possibly life-threatening heart condition, the starting running back is just thankful for the chance to return to the field. In an article by Jon Kerr for High School Cube, Janeck says now that he’s healthy again: “There’s more of a purpose. I’m so appreciative.”