Decision time looming for metro-east unsigned seniors

News-DemocratJanuary 25, 2014 

With the Feb. 5 national signing date for high school seniors approaching, the anxious moments for metro-east college football prospects yet to make an official decision are heating up.

One of those athletes is Belleville West senior Brian Hill, whose recruiting stock has continued to soar since his standout season last fall at safety and running back.

"Wyoming wants him at running back and Northern Illinois wants him at linebacker," said Belleville West coach Cameron Pettus, who on Friday fielded a call on Hill from Utah. "Indiana State wants him at safety. I think he can do a lot of different things. He's finally starting to gain some momentum but for the longest time, it was just the I-AA's looking at him."

Hill visited Wyoming last week and will travel to Northern Illinois this weekend.

"I think it's going to be one of those two," Pettus said. "He said he's going to make a decision next week."

Hill also has offers from Indiana State, Southeast Missouri and North Dakota State, among others.

* East St. Louis defensive back-receiver Treevon Prater recently committed to Syracuse, according to Prater had originally committed to Western Michigan.

*Belleville West offensive lineman Nick Allen has committed to Tennessee-Martin, a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) school.

"He's 6-6 and he was getting some interest from Mizzou and some other schools early," Pettus said of Allen, who transferred to West from Highland. "He wasn't really healthy his junior year and his first year with us really helped get him on the map."

Allen's other offers were from Murray State, Illinois State, Southeast Missouri and Missouri State.

* O'Fallon offensive lineman Dan Ryan has committed to Northern Colorado, another Division I FCS school located near Denver that competes in the Big Sky Conference.

"He loved it out there, " said O'Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst, who expects Ryan to play guard or center. "He's just a very physical player with very good feet for his size. He's very smart and has been a steady player for us for three years, one of the best we've had linemen-wise on the offensive side."

Toledo, Bowling Green and Tulsa were among those showing interest.

* Edwardsville defensive back D'Anthony Knight has committed to Division II Truman State. Tigers defensive back Craig James has offers from Minnesota, Indiana and Kansas.

* Belleville West linebacker Tori Millender has given Southern Illinois University Carbondale a verbal commitment. Pettus said Millender, who also has an offer from Northern Iowa, still plans to visit Tennessee-Martin.

Millender had earlier interest from several Big Ten schools, including Indiana and Purdue.

* Columbia High all-state offensive lineman Grant Snow has committed to Drake.

*Belleville East defensive lineman Jeff Brown has committed to Division II McKendree.

*Althoff receiver Dennis Jackson has committed to Division II Lincoln University. Jackson also had offers from McKendree, Quincy and several other schools.

"We needed him at running back last year and he did a good job, but he's more likely at that level to play receiver," Althoff coach Ken Turner said.

Turner is surprised there hasn't been more interest in record-setting all-state senior quarterback Eric Mertens, a three-year starter who guided Althoff to a second-place finish in 2012.

Turner said numerous schools have shown interest.

"As far as what he's done in four years, it's strange that nobody's taken that shot yet," Turner said. "It's still not too late, it's finding the right fit."

* O'Fallon wide receiver Tae'mon Franklin has committed to Division II Missouri Western, but is still keeping his options open.

"Something could change with a bigger offer in the next week, but he liked it out there," Joggerst said. "It's probably the best Division II conference in the nation.

*Franklin's teammate, O'Fallon tight end Jacob Chapple, committed to Division II national champion Northwest Missouri State.

"It's a great program and a great fit for him," Joggerst said. "I was excited for him because he was a late bloomer and didn't play hardly at all as a junior."

* Joggerst said defensive back Micquell Cotton will play for Iowa Western Community College while cornerback Kris Hudson will likely choose between Division II McKendree or Lincoln.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or on Twitter @NormSanders

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