2012 Signing Day
Welcome to the 2012 Redbird Signing Day Central. GoRedbirds.com will provide up-to-date signing day coverage for the seventh-straight year. As each National Letter of Intent (NLI) is certified by the Illinois State Athletics Compliance Office, biographies of each ISU recruit will be updated right here on GoRedbirds.com. In addition, for Redbird All-Access members, highlight videos of each signee and coaches' comments will also be available to view.
2012 Redbird Signees List
2012 Signing Day - THANK YOU
As with any major Redbird athletics event, it takes a lot of hard-working people to make it a success. I would like to thank the entire Redbird football coaching staff, not only for bringing in the players to write about, but also helping me with getting information for their bios and highlight films. Also a big thanks to Rick Geitz in the football office for supplying the highlight films and for the entire staff at Redbird Productions, led by Jeremy Havens, who helped with uploading content to GoRedbirds.com and filming our coaches comment videos.
Also a big thanks to everyone involved with the football program who helped out throughout the recruiting process, including equipment guru Nick Watson, associate athletic trainer Joe Whitson, Ted Crane and the folks at the Study Center, all our strength and conditioning coaches led by Jim Lathrop and the lady that none of us could live without, Pam Merna.
More thanks go out to the ISU athletics compliance staff for keeping us all honest and making sure we comply with all NCAA regulations, especially Sean Strauch who was in the football offices at 6:30 a.m. this morning waiting for the faxes to come in. A big thanks to the facilities crew and Dave Willert, who helped set up for the upcoming press conference and will help with the production at the party later tonight at Alexander's.
Last, but surely not least, I want to thank the rest of my co-workers here in the ISU Athletics Communications office for their help today. Graduate assistant John Twork was my right-hand man helping post bios and photos to the website and Megan Thompson, our strategic communications director, worked hard to get our site re-designed from past years and made sure I didn't screw up too many hyperlinks throughout the day.
It was another exciting National Signing Day for the Redbird football program and future looks very bright. The Redbirds have strung together three-straight winning seasons under head coach Brock Spack and just missed out on a playoff berth last season. I hope these new signees will continue to move the program forward and I can't wait for the start of the 2012 football season.
I hope you enjoyed the coverage and check back this spring for live updates from practices on the Spring Camp Central page and come back next year on National Signing Day for more coverage. To steal a line from the legendary play-by-play voice of Redbird football, Dick Luedke, this is Mike Williams saying "So long, for now."
2012 Signing Day - And 10 It Is! - 2:30 p.m.
I'm being told by the Redbird football coaches that 10 is the magic number today and 2012 Signing Day Central is a wrap. I hope everyone enjoyed the content throughout the morning, but don't forget to tune into the live Signing Day Press Conference which begins at 3:30 p.m. streaming live from the Kaufman Football Building exclusively on Redbird All-Access.
Fans can purchase Redbird All-Access for as low as $9.95 per month, or a yearly subscription for $79.95. The yearly subscription allows you to view all home games and matches for the Illinois State football, volleyball, soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball, gymnastics, swimming and diving, baseball and softball teams. It also gives you exclusive free value-added features, such as: live video and audio coverage of select road games; on-demand video coverage of ISU Athletics press conferences; student-athlete and coaches interviews; and much more!
Also, make sure you come out to the Redbird Football National Signing Day party which will be held at Alexander's Steakhouse in Normal beginning at 5:30 p.m. tonight. The annual event will begin at 5:30 p.m., with a short meet-and-greet session before Spack and his coaching staff provides commentary and recruiting insight on each of the Redbird prospects, with video clips of the newest Redbirds available for viewing. The event is free of charge and open to the public, with light appetizers and a cash bar being provided by Alexander's.
2012 Signing Day - Sam Campbell, 11:19 a.m.
With a wealth of young talented offensive lineman already in the class, the Redbird coaches were hoping to add a veteran offensive lineman in the class as well. When Sam Campbell faxed in his paperwork, they got what they were looking for. A 6-2, 320-pound guard/tackle, Sam comes to ISU from Glendale (Calif.) Community College, where he was a two-year starter for the Vaqueros. He was named a unanimous All-Western State Conference First-Team selection following sophomore season for the Vaqueros, who had the second-highest rushing total in Southern California with over 2,200 yards on the ground.
Sam was also a standout prep athlete at Crescenta Valley High School, where he helped the team to an 8-4 record and the team’s first road playoff win in 30 years as a senior. Following his final season, Sam was named a First-Team All-California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) selection as well as a first-team All-Pacific League and all-area honoree. He was also selected to play in the prestigous SSUSA All-Star Game and the Daily-News All-Star Game.
2012 Signing Day - Andre Allen, 8:49 a.m.
The latest to sign with the Redbirds is linebacker Andre Allen from Bolingbrook, Ill. The 6-2, 190-pound product of Bolingbrook High School was a key player for head coach John Ivlow. Allen helped lead his team to the IHSA Class 8A state championship at Memorial Stadium, the first in school history. He was a force on the defensive side of the ball for Bolingbrook in the championship game win against Loyola, tallying a pair of sacks and four tackles.
Allen is the second linebacker to join the roster and projects as an outside linebacker in the Redbirds' defensive scheme. Coach Spack commented specifically on his speed on the outside, which allows him to cover a lot of field and close quickly on running backs or receivers.
2012 Signing Day - Kyle Avaloy, 8:31 a.m.
The offensive lineman keep coming, with the one of the biggest yet being the newest to sign in 6-5, 315-pound Kyle Avaloy from Glenbard South High School. The Lombard, Ill., native did not allow a sack and was credited with 50 pancake blocks while helping team to a conference title and the second round of the IHSA Class 6A playoffs as a senior. Kyle was named a Champaign News-Gazette All-State Special Mention 100 selection and was named a DuPage County All-Area selection by the Daily Herald. What may be even more impressive was that he was tabbed as the top player in the Metro Suburban Conference, a honor that often does not go to offensive lineman.
Kyle is the fifth offensive lineman to sign thus far, giving the Redbirds and entire five-man line in the class for the future. That kind of depth in the coming years should help the team tremendously and is something the Redbird coaching staff is looking forward to.
2012 Signing Day - Mark Spelman, 8:23 a.m.
We add another player from out of state in the form of 6-3, 255-pound Wisconsin native Mark Spelman. Spelman is a product of Marquette University High School and hails from Waukesha, Wis. Mark was a three-year starter for head coach Jeff Mazurczak and was named Associated Press First-Team All-State honoree as a senior. He also garnered first-team all-region and all-area plaudits after his final season and was tabbed as the conference lineman of the year.
Spelman was a center in high school but could play multiple positions on the offensive line for the Redbirds. He is the fourth offensive lineman added to the class as the team continues to bolster its depth in the trenches up front.
2012 Signing Day - Brent Spack, 8:15 a.m.
Our next signee is a player that is very familiar to many Redbird fans out there, if nothing else just for the last name. Brent Spack, the son of ISU head coach Brock Spack, is the next to sign his NLI and join the Redbird roster. A standout linebacker at Normal Community High School here in the Twin Cities, Brent stands 6-0 and weighs in at 205 pounds and played both linebacker and fullback at times for the Ironmen. He was a three-year starter at Normal and was team captain as a senior, when he earned Illinois High School Football Coaches Association IHSFCA All-State honors in Class 6A. Brent was also a Pantagraph All-Area First Team honoree and an All-Big 12 Conference First Team selection.
Brent will play linebacker for the Redbirds and work directly with his father, who serves as the defensive coordinator and the linebackers coach. Coach Spack discussed the unique circumstances surrounding Brent's recruitment process in his comment video, saying that he stayed away from the process as much as possible and let Brent make the decision he felt most comfortable with.
2012 Signing Day - Soniel Estime, 8:12 a.m.
Soniel Estime, from Boynton Beach, Fla., is our first signee outside of the state of Illinois. A 6-0, 175-pound safety from Santaluces High School, Soneil (pronounced SUN-yell ESS-teem) was a two-year starter at the varsity level and led the team in tackles with 98 as a senior. Soniel was named the team's defensive MVP and added a pair of interceptions in his final season.
One look at Soniel's highlight film and you can see that he is a very physical player at the safety position and enjoys putting a hit on receivers in his area. He could project as a safety at Illinois State, but could also play cornerback in the Redbird secondary with his speed and lateral quickness.
2012 Signing Day - C.J. Irvin, 8:07 a.m.
They are coming fast and furious now, with the latest being C.J. Irvin, a 6-5, 300 offensive lineman from Manteno High School. C.J. started all 11 games as a senior and helped his team to a 9-2 record (most wins in school history) and the second round of the IHSA playoffs. C.J. was also an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) All-State Honorable Mention selection and was selected for the IHSFCA Academic All-State Team. Irvin rounded out his career as a first-team all-conference and all-area selection.
He is the third offensive lineman to sign with the Redbirds today, showing that the coaching staff is fully aware of how important a strong offensive line is to the success of the program. There were several holes to fill after the senior-laden offensive line from 2011 graduated, and these new "hogs" up front will add to the depth at the position and give assistant coach George Barnett some solid talent to work with.
2012 Signing Day - Ryan Gelber, 7:58 a.m.
Our next signee is another offensive lineman from nearby Springfield High School in the form of 6-5, 285-pound Ryan Gelber. Ryan started all 10 games at left tackle as a senior for the Senators in 2011 and was named a Central State 8 First-Team All-Conference selection. He was also a CS8 Academic All-Conference pick and a IHSFCA All-State Academic Team selection. In his three-years at the varsity level, he helped lead team to the IHSA Class 6A playoffs for fourth years in a row (first time in school history that had been accomplished).
He joins Dan Pawlak as the second offensive lineman in the signing class of 2012 but the day is not over yet.
2012 Signing Day - Dan Pawlak, 7:45 a.m.
After losing six veteran offensive linemen to graduation after the 2011 season, it should come as no suprise that a standout offensive lineman has been added to the group. The second signee of the day is Dan Pawlak, a 6-5, 270-pound lineman from Lakes Community High School. Labeled as a two-star recruit by Scout.com, Dan was a three-year starter on the offensive line and was named a Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) Class 6A All-State honorable mention selection in 2011. He was also a IHSFCA All-State Academic Team selection and helped his team finish with a 9-2 record and a berth in the IHSA Class 6A quarterfinals.
2012 Signing Day - Blake Winkler, 7:18 a.m.
Our first signee to fax in his letter is Blake Winkler, a 5-11 quarterback from Lincoln-Way East High School. Blake was named the 2011-12 Illinois Gatorade Football Player of the Year and was tabbed as an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) Class 7A First-Team All-State selection. In his stellar career at Lincoln-Way East, Blake threw for 4,297 yards and 51 touchdowns while leading his team to a 19-3 record during junior and senior seasons.
He will be a welcome addition to the Redbird quarterbacks stable, which already includes three-year starter Matt Brown, sophomore Cameron Meredith, redshirt freshman Justin Lane and tranfer Adam Pittser from Wyoming.
2012 Signing Day - 6:27 a.m.
For those of you who will be following along today, my name is Mike Williams and I am the Associate Athletics Communications Director at Illinois State and handle all of the media efforts throughout the year for the Redbird football team. I hope that you will all enjoy our coverage of National Signing Day on GoRedbirds.com today. This year should be a bit easier to cover, with not having to dig out from 14 inches of snow and deal with a blizzard like we did last year when I basically had to write everything from a friend's couch because I was stuck in town. So, stay tuned and as soon as the first National Letters of Intent (NLI) start coming through the fax machine, we will keep you as up to date as we can.