Com­mits hold­ing firm on Illinois


Illinois ath­letic di­rec­tor Josh Whit­man’s first day on the job was a busy one. He fired foot­ball coach Bill Cu­bit just weeks af­ter sev­eral Chicago-area play­ers signed let­ters of in­tent with the Illini.

Lin­coln-Way East se­nior of­fen­sive line­man Kurt Gavin was one of the in-state head­lin­ers of Illinois’ re­cruit­ing class and said he is still ex­cited about his col­lege choice.

‘‘I’m not the best judge of coaches, so I wouldn’t know a lot about it,’’ Gavin said. ‘‘I liked coach Cu­bit a lot, and it was kind of shock­ing to hear about it this morn­ing. [But] I’m a firm be­liever in the school and love Illinois, so I hope they are able to find the right coach.’’

Hins­dale Cen­tral of­fen­sive line­man Doug Kramer, who will en­roll at Illinois in the se­cond se­mes­ter in Jan­uary 2017, felt sim­i­larly.

‘‘It’s crazy, but the only things worth wor­ry­ing about are the things we can con­trol,’’ Kramer said. ‘‘I’ll be all-in on Illinois un­til the day I die, and I want them to hire some­one who cares about Illinois as much as all of the cur­rent play­ers and com­mits do.’’

Walker picks Western Michi­gan

Mon­tini run­ning back Prince Walker, one of the most ex­plo­sive ath­letes in the ju­nior class, picked up a flurry of schol­ar­ship of­fers (Western Michi­gan, Bowl­ing Green, North­ern Illinois, Buf­falo and Illinois State) in re­cent weeks.

With no de­sire to drag out the re­cruit­ing process, the 5-9, 180-pounder gave his ver­bal com­mit­ment to Western Michi­gan af­ter vis­it­ing the school last week.

‘‘I was ex­cited to start the re­cruit­ing process, but I’m even more ex­cited it’s over,’’ Walker said. ‘‘I re­ally can start to get to knowthe coach­ing staff and other com­mits and spend my sum­mer only go­ing to their camps to see the ways that they coach.’’

Walker said the cam­pus, coaches and pro­gram fit what he was look­ing for.

‘‘From the peo­ple to the fa­cil­i­ties and the cam­pus, ev­ery­thing there just feels like home,’’ Walker said.

Two Loyola play­ers add of­fers

Loyola stand­outs Jake Mar­wede and Ian Swen­son added sev­eral of­fers last week. Both picked up an of­fer from Louisville.

‘‘The of­fer from Louisville was hon­estly such an un­ex­pected of­fer, so I haven’t been able to re­search the school very much yet,’’ said Swen­son, a de­fen­sive back.

Mar­wede, a tight end, added of­fers from Mis­souri and Mi­ami. Swen­son re­ceived of­fers from Cen­tral Michi­gan, Bowl­ing Green and Wy­oming, too.

‘‘Get­ting my first of­fer [Cen­tral Michi­gan] was hon­estly a great feel­ing,’’ Swen­son said. ‘‘The best part was know­ing all the hard work I have put in has fi­nally paid off. Also, it made my par­ents so happy.’’

Swen­son said he has en­joyed the re­cruit­ing process so far.

‘‘I would have to say my fa­vorite part has been meet­ing great coaches and learn­ing about the phe­nom­e­nal aca­demic and ath­letic aspects of great univer­si­ties,’’ he said.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Beth_Long.


Loy­ola tight end Jake Mar­wede (shown against Mount Carmel) added schol­ar­ship of­fers from Louisville, Mis­souri and Miami last week.

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