Western Illinois, under new head coach Jared Elliott, was able to add a handful of strong in-state names to the Leathernecks’ Class of 2018.
Glenbard South senior outside linebacker recruit Nick D'Ambra (6-foot-0, 206 pounds) decided to end his recruiting process earlier this week. He pointed to a good general vibe at WIU that made him pledge to the Leathernecks after his official visit last weekend.
"It was just the overall fit for me at WIU that sold me," according to D'Ambra. "The players and coaches at WIU all seem to be on the same page and have a lot of the same goals. WIU just felt like home for me and I feel really comfortable whenever I visited them. I was able to see a lot more of the school and get to know everyone much better after my official visit."
Oswego senior defensive back Josh Shodipo (6-foot-0, 185-pounds) is, once again, headed to Macomb. At one point, Shodipo was committed to Western and then decommitted. But in the end, he rediscovered his passion for the Leathernecks and recommitted to WIU. He will sign his Letter of Intent on Feb. 7.
"I never closed the door with WIU," Shodipo said. "I kept an open mind and once I made my official visit, I knew that I wanted to go to school and play at WIU. I had other options, but I feel great about my decision and excited to sign with WIU."
Lake Forest sophomore defensive lineman recruit Rylie Mills (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) made a recent visit to the University of Minnesota for a junior day event. It resulted in his first scholarship offer, courtesy of the Gophers’ head coach PJ Fleck.
"It's a weird feeling and also a great feeling," Mills said after adding his Minnesota offer. "I was just so surprised to go to Minnesota and come away with a scholarship offer. It's amazing. I always thought I would end up getting my first offer maybe after a summer camp. I was in a bit of shock at first and so was my dad."
Mills is also planning to visit more schools in person this winter and early spring.
"I'm planning to get out to visit Iowa sometime soon. Iowa made an in-school visit last week, and they seem very interested. I'm also looking to get out to visit Northwestern and also Tennessee."
Algonquin (IL) Jacobs junior offensive tackle recruit Joacheim Price (6-foot-8, 315 pounds) is already holding four early verbal scholarship offers. He’s also getting recruiting attention from several Power Five programs. Not bad for a kid who just started playing football recently.
"Last season was my first year ever playing football," according to Price. "I just was always a basketball player and never really considered football until some of the coaches at school convinced me to go out for the team. Now I have football scholarship offers from Illinois, Iowa State, Northern Illinois and Ball State. It's a real blessing."
Price, who is in the middle of his basketball season for the Corsairs, has also continued to draw increased football recruiting attention.
"I've also been in contact with Minnesota, Toledo, Purdue and Michigan State. The college coaches want me to stay in touch with them so that they can get to know me better."
Chicago (IL) Solorio junior athlete recruit Messiah Travis (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) has remained on several college recruiting radar screens this winter. Travis added his third offer this winter on Tuesday from Toledo.
"I have offers now from Toledo, NIU and Western Michigan," Travis said. "We are also seeing a lot more college coaches in school, and it's been fun so far."
Travis, who played receiver and defensive back for the Sun Warriors in 2017, is also drawing recruiting looks at a few different positions this winter.
"It seems like every coach I meet wants to know what side of the football I see myself playing in college. I really like playing wide receiver but I'm pretty open to anything. It's not really that big of a deal to me."