Bearcats land four from metro-east in 29-player recruiting class

Special to the News-DemocratFebruary 5, 2014 

McKendree University coach Mike Babcock and his staff announced 29 student-athletes have signed to join the Bearcats' program for the 2014 season.

It is the second recruiting class at McKendree for Babcock, who was hired as the Bearcats' coach in December 2012. Babcock is excited about the depth of talent and versatility of the 2014 recruiting class.

"Top to bottom we are very pleased with our recruiting class," said Babcock. "We believe that this year's class complements the 2013 class and what we are trying to build here at McKendree. We have been able to sign a lot of top players at their positions. We're excited about what the future holds for Bearcat football."

Among the 29 newcomers includes a group of six local standouts. Two of the local products played for former McKendree assistant coach Tim Funk at Belleville East --Jeffrey Brown and Jakob Wittlich. Brown had 89 tackles with three quarterback sacks as a senior for the Lancers and earned All-Southwestern Conference Conference and All-City honors.

Wittlich did not have any fumbled or off-the-mark snaps during his senior season on the East offensive line.

Wide receiver Darius Crochrell from Edwardsville earned all-metro and all-area honors after catching 66 passes for 921 yards with 15 touchdown receptions as a senior in 2013. Crochrell helped lead the Tigers to a semifinal berth in the IHSA Class 7A playoffs last fall.

Cole Foster anchored both sides of the line at Columbia High School, earning first-team all-conference honors at both offensive tackle and defensive end. Foster was also a second-team all-area selection for the Eagles.

From St. Louis, McKendree added defensive lineman Ryan Rascnic and defensive back from Vianney High School.

The remainder of McKendree's recruiting class included 20 players from Illinois, two from Texas and one from Florida.

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