The class bolsters depth at key positions of wide receiver, linebacker, running back and defensive end.
Feb. 5, 2014
Feb. 5, 2014
NORMAL, Ill. - Excitement surrounded the Kaufman Football Building at Illinois State Wednesday, as ISU head coach Brock Spack and his staff announced the newest additions to the Redbird football team on 2014 National Signing Day. A total of 24 student-athletes committed to the Redbirds to continue their collegiate and athletic careers at Illinois State.
"We feel this is a very good, deep class with quality players at every position," Spack said. "This group is used to winning, with several players from state championship winning programs, and it is a very smart class in terms of their performance in the classroom. I am very comfortable with this group and feel we had a great recruiting year."
The group of NLI signees includes four receivers and linebackers each, three tight ends and defensive ends, two running backs, two safeties, two offensive linemen and one quarterback, fullback defensive back and safety.
Spack felt the depth of his team needed improvement at certain positions, necessitating several signees at certain positions.
"We were a little thin at the wide receiver position and especially wanted to bolster our depth on defense up front and at linebacker," Spack stated. "It's always hard to pass on good players at other positions, like offensive line, but we felt like we have several young players in the program there that will contribute so we focused our attention in other places. In our league, you can never have enough backs, so we continued to add players there as well. I think we accomplished our goals with this class and will continue to look to fill out this roster going forward."
As has been a focus with Spack's previous recruiting classes, a heavy number of signees hail from the state of Illinois, with 11 overall. The class also included four players each from Wisconsin and Missouri. A pair of signees from Indiana are included in the group, and the remainder of the class is filled out with players from Texas, Louisiana and Nebraska.
With players from all over the country, it took a complete effort from the entire Redbird coaching staff to get this class completed and signed on the dotted line.
"Our staff did a great a great job, particularly at the end holding onto these talented recruits. Over the years I've been here, we've learned what an FCS player looks like and we beat some FBS programs on several of these guys. That is the type of player we are looking for here and we have several in this group."
The Redbirds will take the field to begin spring practice in March, with the annual spring showcase set for Saturday, April 26, at 1 p.m.
2014 ILLINOIS STATE FOOTBALL SIGNING DAY BIOGRAPHIES:
Brannon Barry | WR | 6-4 | 205 | Fr.-HS | St. Charles, Ill. (St. Charles East HS)
St. Charles East HS: Three-year starter for coach Mike Fields ... team captain ... 2013 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) Class 8A All-State Honorable Mention selection at wide receiver ... three-time First-Team All-Upstate Eight-River Conference pick ... earned First-Team All-Area plaudits from the Kane County Chronicle, Sun-Times Courier News and the Daily Herald in senior and junior seasons ... named a 2014 Top 75 State of Illinois Recruit by Rivals.com ... led team in receptions (47) and receiving yards (711) as a senior ... finished the season with 1,066 all-purpose yards with seven touchdowns ... also recorded 43 tackles and two interceptions as a safety on defense ... helped team advance to the IHSA Class 8A state playoffs in 2012 and 2013 ... caught 41 passes for 512 yard s with six touchdowns as a junior in 2012 ... selected as a wide receiver/defensive back for the U17 USA Team held in Texas in 2012 ... was also a starting outfielder on the St. Charles East baseball team that finished third at the IHSA Class 4A State Tournament. Personal: Born August 22, 1995, in Plano, Texas ... son of Blake and Donna Barry ... one of four siblings ... his brother, Bryce, is a linebacker at Butler and his sister, Erienne, is a setter for the Western Michigan volleyball team ... his father played football at Stephen F. Austin ... is a AP honor student and member of the senior peer leadership group ... plans to major in business marketing/law.
Matt Biegalski | WR | 6-2 | 185 | Fr.-HS | Winfield, Ill. (Wheaton North HS)
Wheaton North HS: Three-year starter for head coach Joe Wardynski ... 2012 and 2013 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) Class 7A All-State Honorable Mention selection ... two-time all-area and All-Dupage Valley Conference selection ... helped team advance to the quarterfinals of the IHSA Class 7A playoffs ... caught 52 passes for 984 yards with 12 touchdowns during senior season ... also averaged 14.4 yards per punt return on 20 attempts, with one touchdown ... finished with 43 receptions for 759 yards with 11 touchdowns as a junior in 2012 ... also a three-year varsity starter in basketball and a standout on the track. Personal: Born October 24, 1995, in St. Louis, Mo. ... son of Jack and Rita Biegalski ... second-oldest of five children ... his father played collegiate basketball ... honor roll and leadership council member ... undecided on potential major.
Mitchell Brees | S | 6-3 | 190 | Fr.-HS | West Allis, Wis. (Greendale HS)
Greendale HS: Three-year starter for head coach Brian Johnson ... 2013 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) All-State selection at wide receiver ... Associated Press Wisconsin Second-Team All-State Team member ... Al Toon Award winner as the most outstanding senior receiver in the state of Wisconsin ... first-team all-conference, all-area, all-region and all-suburban team ... helped team advance to the state playoff championship game and a conference championship in final season ... hauled in over 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior, while posting six interceptions and two touchdowns on defense ... honorable mention all-region and first-team all-conference selection at wide receiver/defensive back as a junior ... recorded over 700 yards with eight touchdowns through the air in 2012, with four interceptions on defense ... led team in interceptions and was an all-conference pick while starting on the varsity squad as a sophomore. Personal: Born July 26, 1996, in West Allis, Wis. ... son of Jack and Pam Brees ... has an older brother, Andrew, who played football at Minnesota-Duluth ... honor roll member ... plans to major in business management.
Tyler Brown | OL | 6-3 | 275 | Fr.-HS | Peoria, Ill. (Richwoods HS)
Richwoods HS: Two-year starter for head coach Roland Brown ... Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) Class 6A All-State Honorable Mention selection in 2012 as a senior ... Peoria Journal Star All-Area selection ... earned Mid-State 6 All-Conference honors, after helping team to a league title and the second round of the IHSA Class 6A state playoffs as a senior ... earned all-conference honors as a junior, while helping team to a runner-up finish in the 2011 IHSA Class 6A state playoffs ... also an all-conference shot put and discus thrower as part of the track team. Personal: Born July 15, 1994, in Peoria, Ill. ... son of Roland and Renee Brown ... has two brothers, Ryan and Cole ... his father, Roland, serves as the head football and track coach at Richwoods and ran track collegiately at Western Illinois ... his cousin, Daniel Dwyer, is an outfielder for the ISU baseball team ... plans to major in renewable energy.
Seth Combs | LS | 6-0 | 200 | Fr.-HS | Roscoe, Ill. (Hononegah HS)
Hononegah HS: Four-year starter for head coach Tim Sughroue ... ranked as the No. 1 long snapper in Illinois and No. 11 in the nation by nationally-recognized snapping instructor Chris Rubio ... 2013 All-NIC 10 selection at linebacker ... was second on the team in interceptions and third in tackles ... helped team to a 7-2 record and playoff appearance ... as a junior, was third on the team in tackles ... was a finals participant in the 11th-annual national kicking/snapping event hosted by Rubio. Personal: Born August 17, 1996, in Rockford, Ill. ... son of Harold and Corene Combs ... has an older brother, Mitchell ... two-time Northern Illinois scholar athlete ... plans to major in marketing.
Alec Diab | OL | 6-6 | 250 | Fr.-HS | Moline, Ill. (Alleman HS)
Alleman HS: Three-year starter for head coach Dave DeJagher ... All-Metro honorable mention selection by The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus ... played tight end and defensive end for the Pioneers, as they advanced to the IHSA Class 4A state semifinals in 2013 ... named team's offensive lineman of the year ... caught 14 passes for 120 yards with a touchdown ... posted eight sacks and 44 total tackles on defense ... caught four passes for 29 yards as a junior, while being named an academic all-conference selection ... helped team to a runner-up finish in the IHSA Class 4A title game ... also a three-year starter on the basketball court and threw the shot put and discus on the track. Personal: Born March 19, 1996, in Moline, Ill. ... son of Joseph Diab and Lisa Vander Bleek ... has two older brothers, Adam and Nick ... his father played football at Iowa and later coached him in track in high school ... member of the principal's list and honor roll every quarter ... Father John O'Connor scholar ... plans to major in business.
Christian Gibbs | WR | 6-1 | 185 | Fr.-HS | Aurora, Ill. (Waubonsie Valley HS)
Waubonsie Valley HS: Two-year starter for head coach Paul Murphy ... Beacon-News All-Area team selection ... Upstate Eight Valley All-Conference pick ... two-way starter at defensive back and wide receiver as a senior ... finished senior season with 49 catches for 759 yards and 11 touchdowns ... caught seven passes for 109 yards with a touchdown against Oswego ... had four catches for 111 yards and three touchdowns in a win over South Elgin. Personal: Born March 6, 1996, in Naperville, Ill. ... son of Mervin and Clara Gibbs ... has a sister, Anaya ... plans to major in business management.
DraShane Glass | DB | 5-10 | 195 | Fr.-HS | Garland, Texas (Garland HS)
Garland HS: Three-year varsity starter for head coach Jeff Jordan ... rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com ... named a second-team all-district selection at defensive back ... recorded 38 tackles in five games played ... helped team advance to the first round of the state playoffs during final season ... as a junior, named a first-team all-district selection at defensive back and a second-team pick at wide receiver ... finished the season with three interceptions, as team advanced to the playoffs ... led team with five interceptions as a sophomore ... also a standout on the track. Personal: Born December 20, 1995, in Dallas, Texas ... son of Rufus and Eva Glass ... youngest of five children ... plans to major in kinesiology.
Nick Griffith | WR | 6-2 | 195 | Fr.-HS | Northmoor, Mo. (Park Hill South HS)
Park Hill South HS: Three-year varsity starter for head coach Mark Simcox ... Missouri Football Coaches Association (MFCA) Class 5A Second-Team All-State selection as a senior ... Otis Taylor Award Finalist, which is given to the top senior wide receiver in the state of Missouri ... Suburban Middle Six All-Conference second team pick ... honorable mention All-Metro selection by The Kansas City Star ... finished the season with 69 catches for 1,012 yards with 12 touchdowns ... posted 14 catches for 150 yards with two touchdowns against Kearney ... was also an all-state track standout. Personal: Born January 17, 1996, in Kansas City, Mo. ... son of Shawn and Robin Griffith ... has one younger brother, Joshua ... plans to major in health science.
Malik Harris | TE | 6-5 | 240 | Fr.-HS | Omaha, Neb. (Omaha Central HS)
Omaha Central HS: Three-year varsity starter for head coach Jay Ball ... Omaha World-Herald 2013 All-Nebraska Class A honorable mention selection ... primary blocking tight end in the Central offense and also played defensive line ... standout on the basketball court for the perennial powerhouse program that has won four straight state titles ... averages a double-double on the hardwood.
Personal: Born July 20, 1996, in Omaha, Neb. ... son of Virgil and Annette Harris ... one of five children ... undecided on major plan.
Romel Hill | LB | 6-0 | 195 | Fr.-HS | Robbins, Ill. (Richards HS)
Richards HS: Three-year varsity starter for head coach Tony Sheehan ... 2013 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) Class 6A All-State selection ... Chicago Tribune Second-Team All-State pick ... Chicago Sun-Times All-Area honorable mention honoree ... three-time South Suburban (Red) All-Conference selection ... two-time Southtown Star All-Area team selection ... recorded 181 tackles, eight forced fumbles and one interception during senior season ... also added 18 tackles-for-loss and two sacks in final prep season ... helped team to a 10-2 record and a berth in the IHSA Class 6A state championship game in 2013 ... IHSFCA Class 6A All-State honorable mention selection as a junior in 2012. Personal: Born January 29, 1996, in Evergreen, Ill. ... son of Danny and Shirlee Johnson ... one of five children ... plans to major in physical education.
Bryce Holm | FB | 6-2 | 225 | Fr.-HS | Oswego, Ill. (Oswego HS)
Oswego HS: Four-year varsity starter for head coach Brian Cooney ... team captain and MVP ... 2013 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) Class 8A All-State selection as a fullback/linebacker ... all-area, all-conference and all-state academic selection ... Southwest Prairie Conference Defensive Player of the Year ... helped team to three-straight IHSA Class 8A playoff appearances, advancing to the quarterfinals in final season ... was lead blocker for all-state tailback during junior season in 2012 ... averaged 7.5 yards per carry that season ... named an all-conference and all-area selection ... led team with 82 tackles as a sophomore while helping team to a conference title ... also a four-year starter on the baseball team. Personal: Born May 13, 1996, in Aurora, Ill. ... son of Andrew and Kathryn Holm ... has a younger sister, Brooke ... his mother is an ISU alum ... plans to major in business management.
Nathan Iloilo | LB/DE | 6-2 | 255 | Fr.-HS | Independence, Mo. (Fort Osage HS)
Fort Osage HS: Three-year varsity starter for head coach Ryan Schertz ... Missouri Football Coaches Association (MFCA) Class 5A Second-Team All-State selection as a senior ... also a first-team all-metro, all-area, all-district and all-conference selection ... named the KC Suburban Conference (White) Defensive Player of the Year ... finished recorded 64 tackles (28 solo), 11.5 of them for loss, as a key part of a defense that never allowed more than 14 points in a game ... also added 1.5 sacks and three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown in final game, a 14-9 loss to Kearney in the Class 5 state quarterfinals ... tallied 76 tackles (53 solo), with six sacks and 18 tackles-for-loss as a junior on way to being named a first-team all-conference and all-area selection ... posted 52 tackles, including 10 for loss, and added 3.5 sacks and an interception as a sophomore ... finished career with 206 tackles (41.5 for loss), 12.5 sacks, four interceptions and six forced fumbles ... also a three-year starter on the basketball court. Personal: October 5, 1995, in Independence, Mo. ... son of Lio and Becky Iloilo ... one of seven children ... plans to major in exercise science.
Marcus Jester | RB | 5-10 | 200 | Fr.-HS | Florissant, Mo. (De Smet Jesuit HS)
De Smet Jesuit HS: Two-year varsity starter for head coach Patrick Mahoney ... Missouri Football Coaches Association (selection as a senior ... team captain ... earned First-Team MCC honors, after accounting for 27 total touchdowns ... rushed for 1,310 yards on the ground and caught 17 passes for 211 yards through the air in final season ... tied a state record for touchdowns in a single game with eight in a 75-0 defeat of Vashon ... rushed for 242 yards on 19 carries before sitting out the second half during that performance ... earned first-team All-Metro and MFCA Class 6A First-Team All-State honors after rushing for a single-season school record 1,722 yards and accounting for 20 total touchdowns as a junior ... also started as a senior on the basketball team. Personal: December 5, 1995, in St. Louis, Mo. ... son of Renita Walker ... has an older sister, Simone ... plans to major in business management.
Chad Kanugh | DE | 6-6 | 265 | Fr.-HS | Franklin, Wis. (Franklin HS)
Franklin HS: Three-year varsity starter for head coach Tim Hogan ... first-team all-conference selection ... selected to play in the all-state all-star game following senior season ... led team to a conference tile and an appearance in the Wisconsin Division I state title game ... second-team all-conference performer as a junior ... nominated for state player of the week award as a sophomore starter on the varsity squad ... also a two-year varsity starter in basketball.. Personal: August 31, 1995, in Milwaukee, Wis. ... son of Steve and Jeanne Kanugh ... has two older brothers, Matthew and Tyler ... plans to major in psychology.
Alec Kocour | S | 6-0 | 190 | Fr.-HS | Waukesha, Wis. (Catholic Memorial HS)
Catholic Memorial HS: Three-year varsity starter for head coach Bill Young ... rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com ... 2013 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) All-State selection as a safety ... Associated Press Wisconsin Second-Team All-State Team member ... semi-finalist for the Jim Leonhard Award, which is given annually to the top senior defensive back as part of the Wisconsin Sports Network Senior Football Awards ... also earned all-conference honors in final season, ... starting safety on WIAA Division 3 state championship team as a junior ... first-team all-state defensive back for after registering 62 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, eight interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns that season ... also ran the ball 42 times for 371 yards and three touchdowns on offense. Personal: Born June 16, 1995, in Kansas City, Mo. ... son of Mary Kocour.
Jake Kolbe | QB | 6-3 | 205 | Fr.-HS | Naperville, Ill. (Naperville Central HS)
Naperville Central HS: Two-year varsity starter for head coach Mike Stine ... rated as a three-star recruit by Scout.com and ESPN.com ... two-star recruit by Rivals.com ... 2013 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) Class 8A All-State selection at quarterback ... Chicago Tribune Second-Team All-State pick ... Naperville Sun Player of the Year ... Daily Herald All-Dupage County Team ... All-Dupage Valley Conference honoree ... led team to the IHSA Class 8A state championship ... completed 175 passes for 2,2246 yards with 18 touchdowns, while being intercepted just three times in 317 attempts ... also rushed for 496 yards and 11 touchdowns ... team captain and MVP ... completed 61.3 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,623 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior ... intercepted just four times in 221 attempts ... DuPage Valley All-Conference and All-Academic team selection. Personal: Born December 7, 1995, in Naperville, Ill. ... son of Scott and Tammy Kolbe ... has an older sister, Niki, ... plans to major in education.
David Kornack | TE | 6-5 | 270 | Fr.-HS | Edgar, Wis. (Edgar HS)
Edgar HS: Three-year varsity starter for head coach Jerry Sinz ... rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com ... 2013 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) All-State honorable mention selection at defensive end ... all-region selection ... first-team all-conference selection at tight end and defensive end ... News Channel 7 All-Star selection, as voted on by the coaches of north central Wisconsin ... helped team to a conference championship and an 8-2 overall record ... led the team in receiving touchdowns ... second-team all-conference selection at tight end as a junior, after helping team to the semifinals of the state playoffs with a 12-1 overall record ... also a three-year starter on the basketball team and a state-qualifying thrower on the track. Personal: Born September 9, 1995, Wausau, Wis. ... son of Greg and Tammy Kornack ... has a younger sister, Alyson ... maintained a 4.0 GPA and will graduate with highest honors ... plans to major in actuarial science.
Daejgeon Love | LB | 6-0 | 205 | Fr.-HS | Peoria, Ill. (Richwoods HS)
Richwoods HS: Two-year varsity starter for head coach Roland Brown ... helped lead team to back-to-back playoff appearances ... first-team all-area and Mid-State 6 All-Conference selection as a senior ... recorded 41 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss and seven sacks as a junior on way to being named a First-Team Mid-State 6 All-Conference selection ... also forced two fumbles and recovered a pair of fumbles ... helped team win the Mid-State 6 conference title in 2012. Personal: Born December 26, 1995, in Peoria, Ill. ... son of Rufus and Rosie Battle ... plans to major in criminal justice.
George Moreira | RB | 5-10 | 200 | Fr.-HS | Gretna, La. (John Curtis HS)
John Curtis HS: Four-year varsity player for head coach J.T. Curtis ... listed as a three-star recruit by ESPN.com ... rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com ... finished his career with 1,923 rushing yards on 197 carries (9.8 yards per carry average), while scoring 22 touchdowns on the ground ... Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) Class 3A All-State football selection following senior season ... rushed for over 1,000 yards with 11 touchdowns, while helping team to its third-consectutive state championship ... named metro area prep player of the week, after carrying 19 times for 161 yards and scoring three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 26 seconds remaining, in an early-season defeat of defending 4A state champion Edna Karr ... also returned a pair of kickoffs, including one for a touchdown ... rushed for 436 yards and eight touchdowns in a four-back rotation as a junior in 2012 ... had a 30-yard touchdown and rushed for 82 yards to lead John Curtis to a state championship that season ... also a standout on the track, helping the team to three-straight indoor and outdoor state titles. Personal: Born July 5, 1996, in Loma Linda, Calif. ... son of Kiesha Moreira ... plans to major in law.
Donavin O'Day | DE | 6-6 | 220 | Fr.-HS | Fort Wayne, Ind. (Snider HS)
Snider HS: Two-year starter for head coach Kurt Tippmen ... named an Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA) and Associated Press Class 5A All-State selection ... academic all-state pick ... first-team all-conference selection and nominated as the Northeast Indiana Player of the Year ... recorded 35 tackles, including 12 sacks, while helping the team to a sectional championship ... also added eight tackles-for-loss, forced two fumbles, recovered a pair of fumbles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns ... tallied 47 tackles, eight sacks, 11 tackles-for-loss and recovered a fumble during junior season ... helped team to regional and section titles ... also played basketball for two seasons and was a state qualifiers in track. Personal: Born July 2, 1996 in Oklahoma City, Okla. ... son of Harry and Linda O'Day ... one of four children ... honor roll all four years ... plans to major in statistics.
Tylor Petkovich | TE/DE | 6-6 | 220 | Fr.-HS | Merrillville, Ind. (Andrean HS)
Andrean HS: Two year-starter for head coach Phil Mason ... Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA) and Associated Press Class 3A All-State selection ... first-team all-area and all-conference pick ... caught 18 passes for 384 yards with three touchdowns as a tight end ... posted 80 tackles, with 8.5 sacks and 9 tackles-for-loss during senior season ... helped team finish with a perfect 15-0 record and a IHSAA Class 3A state championship ... named team's player of the year ... posted 99 tackles, three sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss during junior season, on way to being named a first-team all-conference performer ... led team to conference and regional championships. Personal: Born April 7, 1996, in St. John, Ind. ... son of David and Susan Petkovich ... one of four children ... plans to major in business management.
Matt Swaine | DE | 6-7 | 220 | Fr.-HS | Rochester, Ill. (Rochester HS)
Rochester HS: Three-year varsity starter for head coach Derek Leonard ... 2013 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) Class 4A All-State selection at defensive end ... Academic All-State honoree ... member of four-time IHSA Class 4A state champions, becoming the first public school in state history to win four-consecutive titles ... two-time Central State 8 All-Conference and Academic All-Conference player ... recorded 69 tackles, including 17 sacks (No. 2 in the state among defensive ends), during senior season ... also batted down eight passes, forced two fumbles and blocked a field goal ... tallied 72 tackles and nine sacks as a junior, while earning All-CS8 honorable mention honors ... also forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles, batted down 14 passes and blocked a field goal ... also a three-year starter on the basketball court. Personal: Born December 6, 1995, in Kissimmee, Fla. ... son of Britton and Lisa Swaine ... one of three children ... his mother played basketball at Central Florida ... member of the honor roll and National Honor Society ... plans to major in physics and renewable energy.
Jordan Williams | LB | 6-0 | 205 | Fr.-HS | Kansas City, Mo. (North Kansas City HS)
North Kansas City HS: Three-year starter for head coach Leon Douglas ... first-team all-conference and all-district selection ... recorded 61 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 16 tackles-for-loss in final season ... also added an interception and recovered two fumbles ... scored touchdowns on two of those takeaways ... honorable mention all-conference performer as a junior at defensive end ... listed as the team's most valuable sophomore while starting on the varsity squad ... also a standout on the track, qualifying for the district and sectional meet in the 100-meter dash and relay events. Personal: Born November 14, 1995 in Kansas City, Mo. ... son of Samuel and Sharene Marquez ... oldest of three children ... academic honor roll member ... plans to major in criminal justice.
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