Preps Talk

Northwestern adds its first in-state 2020 commitment

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USA TODAY

Northwestern adds its first in-state 2020 commitment

Lake Zurich junior tight end Hunter Welcing (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) added an offer from the Northwestern Wildcats last week. On Saturday, he decided to give head coach Pat Fitzgerald his verbal commitment.

"I was planning to go back to visit Northwestern on the 19th but I decided that I was ready to commit," according to Welcing. "I called up the Northwestern coaches and asked if we could come by practice on Saturday instead and that's when I committed."

Welcing, who is the first in-state verbal commitment and the fifth overall pledge for the Northwestern Class of 2020, discussed why he decided to pledge to the Wildcats on Saturday.

"Northwestern is my dream school. They will allow me to pursue my academic goals along with getting to play for a great football program in the Big Ten. Northwestern is just 45 minutes from home so my family can come see all of my home games. I'm planning to major in Pre-Med. Northwestern is just a great fit for me on so many levels. I was starting to hear from other Big Ten schools but once Northwestern offered me I pretty much shut everyone and everything else down."

Welcing was recruited by Northwestern to play its superback position.

"I knew a little bit about the superback position and how Northwestern uses the Superback in its offense. The superback is used as a combination of a tight end, wide receiver and a fullback and you can play all over the field in any given down. It's a great fit for me and I'm excited for the challenge."

Edgy Tim: Which local names could get the call to the NFL?

Edgy Tim: Which local names could get the call to the NFL?

The 2019 NFL Draft is almost upon us. And despite the Bears not having a first or second round pick, there are a couple of names from the Land of Lincoln who could make waves this weekend-- including a few who could hear their name called in the early rounds. Here is a list of local players to pay attention to when the NFL Draft gets underway Thursday night: 

Julian Love, DB, Notre Dame (Nazareth Academy)

Love was a four star-ranked cornerback recruit by Rivals.com coming out of the La Grange Park school in the Class of 2016. He had over a dozen FBS scholarship offers while also being a two-time All-State player for the Roadrunners. He then gave Notre Dame his verbal commitment on Mar. 22, 2015. Love also looked hard at both Northwestern and Boston College before committing to the Fighting Irish. Love is ranked by several NFL scouting services as the state's consensus top overall pick in the 2019 draft. 

David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin (Downers Grove North)

Edwards was listed by Rivals.com as a 6-foot-6, 225 pound athlete in his prep football days. He played quarterback for the Trojans and head coach John Wander. Edwards gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment on June 14, 2015 as a potential tight end recruit, choosing the Badgers over several other Big Ten schools. In Madison, Edwards grew into a 6-foot-6, 308 pound offensive tackle and was a multi-year starter. He is being projected by several NFL scouting services as a low-second round to high-third round pick.

Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame (Providence Catholic)

Boykin, listed in high school as a 6-foot-3, 225 pound four star-ranked wide receiver by Rivals.com in the Class of 2015, gave Notre Dame his verbal commitment back on Dec. 14, 2014 after taking an official visit to the Sound Bend campus. Boykin, who held nearly 20 FBS scholarship offers is being projected by several NFL Scouting services as a high to mid-third round selection. Chicagoland fans may remember him as part of the High School Lites "Drive" series.

TJ Edwards, LB, Wisconsin (Lakes)

Edwards was listed in high school as a 6-foot-2, 215 pound three star-ranked outside linebacker in the Class of 2014. And he was versatile, assisting in a few other positions as a player for then-head coach Luke Mertens. Edwards, who was originally verbally committed to Western Michigan, switched his decision and gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment on Dec. 3, 2013. Edwards is being projected by several NFL Scouting services as a an early-to-mid-fourth round selection.  

Terry Beckner Jr., DT, Missouri (East St. Louis)

Beckner Jr. was a 6-foot-4, 298 pound four star-ranked defensive tackle and the 36th best recruit in the nation according to Rivals.com in the Class of 2015. He gave Missouri his verbal commitment on Feb. 4, 2015 in a nationally-televised signing day press conference. Beckner Jr. selected Missouri after making official visits to Auburn, Florida State and Ohio State. He is being projected by several NFL scouting services as a mid-fourth round selection. 

Here are some additional names to keep an eye on during this weekend's NFL Draft:

QB Clayton Thorson - Northwestern (Wheaton North)
DE Chris Slayton - Syracuse (Crete-Monee)
OG Nick Allegretti - Illinois (Lincoln-Way East) 
OG Tanner Farmer - Nebraska (Highland)
K Austin Seibert - Oklahoma (Belleville West)
TE Daniel Helm - Duke (Glenwood)
WR Scotty Miller - Bowling Green (Barrington)
S Julian Hylton - Illinois/Southern Illinois (Lincoln-Way North)
LB Jerry Powe - Lafayette (Warren Township)
 

Edgy's recruiting news and notes: LWE's Dzioban commits to Miami (OH)

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USA TODAY

Edgy's recruiting news and notes: LWE's Dzioban commits to Miami (OH)

Lincoln-Way East junior kicker Dominic Dzioban (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) added a recent scholarship offer from Miami of Ohio and has since given the Redhawks and head coach Chuck Martin his verbal commitment. 

"I just had a great visit on Saturday to Miami of Ohio and I was able to get every question I had about the school and the program answered on Saturday," Dzioban said. "When I was first offered by Miami (Ohio) I had no idea what they had to offer or what they are all about. Miami (Ohio) has a historic campus and they also offer an amazing education. It seems like every facility at Miami (Ohio) is brand new and Oxford is just a great small college town. Miami (Ohio) really offers everything I was looking for in a school and having a chance to go to Miami on a full scholarship is a huge opportunity I couldn't pass by at all."

Lake Forest sophomore linebacker Cal Uihlein (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) was able to add his first offer recently from the Wisconsin Badgers, and Uihlein also made a visit to the University of Wisconsin this past Saturday. 

"I had a great visit to Wisconsin on Saturday," Uihlein said. "It wasn't a usual recruiting type of visit, it was much more low key and I was able to just see everything behind the scenes including seeing the team scrimmage. I was able to get a good feel for the team and the coaches after the scrimmage. I was also able to talk with some of the coaches at Wisconsin including head coach Paul Chryst and linebacker coaches. Everyone at Wisconsin seems very excited about me and it was just good to get to know them a bit better. I was able to just basically see the stadium and I didn't get to see too much of the facilities or the campus. I'll definitely head back again to Wisconsin soon and see more of the school and the facilities and overall it was a great visit."

Warren Township junior three star ranked defensive tackle Willis Singleton Jr. (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) was able to add an offer from the University of Illinois last Saturday while on a visit to watch the Fighting Illini's spring game. 

"I was hoping that an offer (from Illinois) was coming but I still had no idea," Singleton Jr. said. "I know that Illinois is on the rise and have added some really strong players from my recruiting class. My Dad also went to Illinois and just telling him over the phone that Illinois had offered me was an amazing felling and experience."

Singleton Jr. also said that "Illinois is definitely on the top of the spectrum. My recruitment is open, but there are definitely one of the top schools because of how they went about things with me on the visit."

Bolingbrook sophomore safety Justin Walters (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) has also seen more and more schools take notice of him this spring. Walters is currently holding six FBS level offers and growing by the day. 

"I have six scholarship offers now," Walters said. "I have offers from Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Army, Iowa, Iowa State and now Minnesota. Minnesota is my latest offer and they offered me a few weeks ago."

Walters has also been hitting the road and visiting a few schools this spring and plans to see even more soon.

"I've made visits already to Iowa and Iowa St and Wisconsin. I also visited Northwestern awhile ago. I'm also planning to visit Michigan State sometime this spring."