Relief and excitement.
Those were the emotions going through the heads of the six football stars at who signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday morning.
“It’s feels good, I feel relieved, finally this whole process is over and I can focus on other stuff,” said senior Dylan Anderson, who signed with Central Michigan University. “I’m real happy with this whole recruiting process, it got stressful at times, but in the end it was all worth it.”
The . Feb. 1st is National Signing Day for football athletes around the country and Brother Rice held a press event for the students signing. The half-dozen players in the spotlight were part of a squad that finished 5-4 in the regular season, but ultimately , and secured the along the way.
Parents in attendance were also relieved. Brother Rice senior running back Devin Church’s mother Monica Church had to watch her son make some tough decisions in the weeks leading up to signing day.
Church verbally committed to Northern Illinois back in August, but before signing day to the University of Illinois. On Wednesday, Monica said she was happy to reach the final phase of the process.
"It was hard. You want him to make the right decision and the best decision for himself, I think that's what he did," she said. "He's the one that has to be at school for the next four years, he had to make the decision and we just had to stand back."
Eddie Kidd and James Hendrix, members of the Warriors secondary, also switched their commitments late in the recruiting phase.
Both defenders had committed to Northern Michigan, but switched last week with Hendrix committing and signing with Wayne State while Kidd signed with Northwood University.
"I visited over there (Wayne State) this past weekend," Hendrix said. "It just gave me a good feel. It felt like I was at home."
Also signing on Wednesday were Joey Warner with Grand Valley State University and Cody Ellwanger with Northwood University.
Northwood and Grand Valley State are both in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and play each other annually. Grand Valley State is scheduled to play Wayne State on Nov. 3. A date Hendrix will have circled on the calendar.
“I’m looking forward to going against them at the next level,” he said, smiling.
Church finds out game plan
Church and his parents talked with new University of Illinois coach Tim Beckman over the weekend. During the discussion, Church said found out more about how the coach plans on using him. He couldn’t hide his excitement about their game plan.
In addition to using him as a running back, Beckman told the finals MVP they'd put him in as a slot receiver and as a kick returner.
"I want to be everywhere, I'm an athlete," Church said, smiling.
Church broke records for Brother Rice as a running back in his senior season, but he was also an electrifying kick returner. Illinois hopes he can work a little of that magic in the fall.
"They really have some good plans for him," Devin's father Donald Church said.
Brother Rice fertile recruiting ground
Central Michigan coach Dan Enos spent some time praising the Brother Rice football program during his signing day press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Since taking over the Chippewas two years ago, Enos has focused his recruiting efforts within the state and Anderson is the third Warrior he’s signed.
Enos said he was very familiar with the program and was impressed with the school’s championship season. He called the Brother Rice football program “unbelievable.”
He added recruiting Anderson was easy since he knew Central would be “getting a well coached football player.”
Enos added the 6-foot-4, 275-pound lineman will play at around 300-pounds and expects Anderson will fit in pretty quickly.
Anderson said the coaches see him as a center or guard.
“They told me I got to gain a little weight, that’s normal,” Anderson said. “Losing weight is one thing, gaining weight, that’s the fun part.”