Beth Long’s football recruiting notebook

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Neuqua Valley wide receiver Owen Piche has picked up plenty of interest recently. This weekend he’s visiting two schools that he’s received offers from this week, West Point and the Naval Academy.

“I’ll get a better understanding of what the academies have to offer,” Piche said. “It’s also going to give me a perspective of what life at the academy is like.”

Piche is planning to visit Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Syracuse and Virginia for camps this summer.

“Recruiting’s been good so far, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of great people along the way,” Piche said.


St. Charles North tight end Griffin Hammer has had a busy last couple months. The 6-4, 230-pound senior has offers from Miami (Ohio), Wyoming, Ball State, Western Michigan, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Illinois. Illinois was from the previous staff and so he’s looking forward to touching base with the new staff in the coming weeks.

“I’ve been hearing from a lot of schools, the ones that have been in or will be in are Penn State, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Syracuse, Uconn, Duke, Toledo, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, FIU and Eastern Michigan,” Hammer said.

The recruiting process might have been busy, but it’s been a fun one for Hammer.

“I’m very excited about the recruiting process,” Hammer said. “I am just trying to enjoy it.”

Hammer has visited schools throughout the Midwest, including Illinois and Northwestern. He has size and has the skill to play anything from traditional tight end to more of a wide receiver at the next level.

“Every school is different depending on the offense they run, but some schools will use me as a traditional tight end and others plan on using me as a flex or more of a pass set tight end,” Hammer said.

He’s still got one more season this fall and is focusing on several specific improvements to his game.

“What I am working on this offseason is my route running, catching, and the ability to go up and get the ball over defenders,” Hammer said.


Crystal Lake Central defensive lineman Wyatt Blake added his first offer, from Central Michigan, this week.

“I had been direct messaging with Central Michigan’s linebacker coach and he told me that he had some good news,” Blake said. “Then when he got some time and he told me that I had an offer from them and he wanted to get me up there soon to visit.”

The 6-4, 305-pound sophomore was ecstatic for his first verbal offer.

“I was surprised,” Blake said. “I was also extremely excited but at the same time I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. There has been a lot of maybe’s in this process so far and I’m happy that I finally have something concrete.”

Up next for Blake is the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Detroit and then he’s likely to get to see Ohio State and Iowa this summer.

“I’ve had Michigan State, Iowa, Toledo, Ohio State, Northwestern, Stanford, Syracuse, Central Michigan and a few others shake my hand and say hello so that’s good,” Blake said.

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