While the entire sports world has come to a crawl due to COVID-19, college football recruiting just never seems to really stop. Although the NCAA decided to implement a recruiting dead period until April 15th because of the pandemic, college coaches are still allowed to text and electronically stay in contact with recruits.
Batavia (Ill.) junior wide receiver recruit Trey Urwiler (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) decided to give Northern Illinois University and head coach Thomas Hammock his verbal commitment earlier today.
"When I visited NIU back in the winter and they offered me I felt back then I was ready to commit," Urwiler said. "I decided to hold off a bit, but in the end I was ready to make my decision and I called up the NIU coaches and committed today."
Urwiler, who has been to NIU multiple times over the years, discusses why he has given the NIU Huskies his verbal commitment.
"Everyone has always told me that I'll know the right school when it feels right, and NIU is that place for me," he said. "NIU feels like home and I knew pretty early on that I wanted to play and go to school at NIU. They just offer such a great fit for me from a football standpoint, along with academically, and also from a location standpoint. The coaches at NIU are building something pretty special that not a lot of people seem to realize, but once you spend some time around the coaches and the players it's pretty special."
Urwiler is the fifth-known verbal commitment in the NIU Huskies 2021 recruiting class and the third known in state pledge, joining Aurora Christian QB Ethan Hampton and Solorio S Brian Whitsey.
Oak Park (Ill.) Fenwick sophomore dual threat quarterback recruit Kaden Cobb (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) was able to add his first scholarship offer when in-state Northern Illinois University extended Cobb an offer earlier this week.
"I visited NIU about two weeks ago just before Coronavirus hit," Cobb said. "I had a really strong visit to NIU and the coaches asked me to stay in touch with them. I'm thrilled that they decided to offer me a scholarship."
Cobb filled us in on his thoughts from adding his first scholarship offer from the NIU Huskies.
"I'm thrilled and very surprised that NIU decided to extend me an early offer," he said. "The NIU coaches said that they wanted to see me throw in person later this spring. I just assumed that they would just wait until later this spring or maybe the summer when it came to an offer. I really had a good visit to NIU and I had some great talks with the coaches at NIU. The NIU staff might be the most real coaches I've talked with so far in my recruiting process. They just really wanted to get to know me better and they all seem like great dudes including head coach Thomas Hammock. Coach Hammock made me earn that offer and we had a really good, straight forward talk on my visit. He talked about how NIU doesn't put out a lot of early offers and how they want to get to know the kids that they do offer. NIU is close to home, like 45 minutes from my house which is a positive and I just like the school and the football program."
Bolingbrook (Ill.) junior defensive back recruit Malik Rainey (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) has seen his recruiting stock and offers take off over the past week or so despite it being a forced dead recruiting period from the NCAA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rainey has been able to add five new offers over the past week.
"I'm shocked that all of these offers have come all of a sudden," Rainey said. "I added an offer a handful of days ago from Western Michigan, and since then I've added new offers from Buffalo, NIU, Ball State and Ohio University."
Rainey filled us in on his initial thoughts on adding several new scholarship offers over the past week.
"It seems like the offers have all come at once so I still need to do more research on a lot of these schools," he said. "I made a visit to NIU last summer so I've stayed in touch with the coaches at NIU. I was planning to make visits to both Western Michigan and also to Miami of Ohio, but both of those visits got cancelled. A lot of the schools who offered me said originally they wanted me to visit them before they would offer me or that they would be back in school later this spring. I guess because of the virus they decided to offer me anyways. The coaches would reach out via text and I would call them back and that's when they would offer me. I'm hoping to get a chance later this spring to visit some of these schools in person."
Rainey has scholarship offers from Ball State, Buffalo. Kent State, NIU, Ohio, Virginia and Western Michigan.
Chicago Mount Carmel junior three star rankled safety Benjamin Perry (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) recently released a Top 9 favorite schools list which includes Syracuse, West Virginia, Minnesota, Iowa State, Missouri, Northwestern, Purdue. Louisville and Cincinnati. Perry, however, recently told Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting analysis Josh Helmholdt that his recruiting process is now on hold because of the implemented NCAA dead period which currently is expected to last until April 15.
“The whole dead period that just happened is probably going to put a setback to what I am going to do, especially in regards to committing,” Perry told Josh Helmholdt. “I do have some favorite schools going, but it would be an immature decision for me to pull the trigger right now and skip (seeing) what the other schools have.”
Chicago (Ill.) Phillips junior safety recruit Willie Jones (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) recently decided to give the University of Toledo his verbal commitment.
"I decided that I was ready to make my college decision," Jones said. "I called up the coaches at Toledo and gave them my verbal commitment."
"I just felt very comfortable when I visited Toledo and it just felt like home to me. The coaches from Toledo just are great guys and I have been able to build up a strong relationship with them over the past few months. The coaches are very much like father figures and I trust the coaches. Toledo is also a good football program and they also offer a good education."
Jones is also hearing from several other schools but felt like it was time to make his decision.
"The coaches from Cincinnati showed a lot of interest along with Miami of Ohio along with a few other MAC schools," he said. "I really just felt like I was already comparing everyone else to Toledo and I really wasn't looking very hard at anyone else. I knew that I wanted to play and go to school at Toledo, so why wait? I decided I was ready to make my decision and I feel great about it."