Jake Renfro never had any doubts about his goals in sports.
“Ever since I’ve been 5 years old, I wanted to play college football,” the Providence senior said. “My dad played in the Rose Bowl in 1984. Ever since I was old enough to understand what college football was, I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps.”
Renfro is doing just that after giving an oral commitment last week to play at Cincinnati.
Like his dad Rick, who played for Illinois, Renfro is an offensive lineman.
The 6-3, 295-pounder picked the Bearcats from among 21 scholarship offers. He had Big Ten offers from Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin, and is a good enough student to also attract Ivy League offers from Columbia, Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale.
His final two schools were Cincinnati and Northern Illiinois, and the former won him over during an official visit two weekends ago.
“The culture they had, it was all about family,” Renfro said. “I could see that when I hung out with the players,”
And he also could tell there was no reason to hold off on his decision.
“I knew I wanted to commit before (senior season),” Renfro said. “After I took that official (visit), it was perfect timing.”
Now Renfro can focus on his senior season, which could be a good one for the Celtics. Providence returns 17 starters from last year’s 5-5 team, including a pair of big-time prospects in Renfro and junior tight end Jameson Geers. Five Big Ten schools -- Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin -- are among the 13 who have offered Geers,
Westinghouse senior De’Andre Wilborn just wanted a chance.
“A lot of people were concerned about my height,” said Wilborn, who is 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds.
But not one school, whose recruiters said, “At Army, we don’t care about your height.”
Wilborn made a visit to West Point, “loved it” and gave an oral commitment to the Black Knights.
“The campus was beautiful, I liked the guys, the coaching staff was amazing,” Wilborn said. “They were individuals like me.”
As a a two-way player at Westinghouse last year, Wilborn had 16 sacks, 62 tackles and five forced fumbles on defense, and 28 catches for 382 yards and a touchdown on offense. At Army, he projects to be an outside linebacker.
Now he’s hoping to live up to Army’s faith in him.
“I feel like I’m super underrated,” Wilborn said. “It’s driven me, I have a chip on my shoulder. It’s not only driven me as a player, it’s driven me as a leader.”
Brother Rice already had one talented senior defensive tackle in Justin Jefferson, whose five offers include one from Northern Illinois. Now the Crusaders have another with the transfer of Denver Warren from West Aurora.
Warren, a 6-3, 300-pounder, is the No. 6 prospect in the state in the Class of 2020 according to Rivals, and the No. 33 defensive tackle in the nation. He has 21 offers, including LSU and eight Big Ten schools: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.
“He’s responding very well,” Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said of Warren, who reopened his recruiting after previously committing to Michigan. “The family is a great family and we’re excited about having him. ... Defensively, I think we could be as good or better than we were last year.”