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Football notebook: Offers piling up for Nazareth’s Ryan Keeler, Benet star commits to Illinois, Oak Park’s rising star

Nazareth defensive end Ryan Keeler has 19 offers but doesn’t plan to make a final decision until next year.

Nazareth defensive end Ryan Keeler has offers from five Big Ten schools.
Nazareth defensive end Ryan Keeler has offers from five Big Ten schools.
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There aren’t any dead periods in recruiting for Nazareth’s Ryan Keeler, at least when it comes to one school.

The junior defensive end has seen his stock shoot up this summer. His 19 offers include one from the SEC (Kentucky) and five from the Big Ten (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Purdue).

The program Keeler hears the most about is Michigan, where his classmate JJ McCarthy -- the state’s top prospect in the Class of 2021 -- already is committed.

“JJ is relentless,” Keeler said, laughing. “He texts me every day, ‘Go Blue, Go Blue.’ Asks me every day when I’m committing, when I am going to visit, all the good stuff.”

Keeler is catching recruiters’ attention with his long, lean frame and quickness. The 6-5, 240-pounder is a three-star recruit ranked No. 15 in the state and 28th nationally among strong-side defensive ends, according to the 247 Sports composite rankings.

The increased attention is welcome, if unforeseen.

“I did not expect to get this many offers this fast from the evaluation period,” Keeler said. “Just coaches coming to workouts and then offering me, it was a shock.”

He’s in no hurry to make a college choice though.

“I’ll probably commit before my senior season,” Keeler said. “I feel like I don’t want to rush it because when a lot of kids commit early, they always seem to decommit or something happens with the coaching staff. So I just want to wait out the process.”

It’s a snap

For the third time in recent years, Benet has produced a Division I long snapper. Aidan Hall committed to Illinois last week, following in the footsteps of former Redwings Matt Hembrough (Oklahoma State) and Trent Kramer (Miami of Ohio), All three were helped on their D-I journey by Benet assistant John Bastuga.

“Great long snapper,” Benet coach Pat New said of Hall. “I always told him he was great because I never noticed him in games. ... His accuracy was excellent.”

Ready to rise

Oak Park-River Forest quarterback Jaden McGill, a 6-0, 180-pound junior, has one offer from Toledo and figures to pick up more.

McGill was known more as a runner in his first season as a starter last year, but aims to be more well-rounded this season.

“I feel like I’ve grown a lot,” he said. “Week 1 (last season) I was a raw quarterback/athlete. Now I feel like I’m reading the defenses, going through my steps. It’s way easier now, it flows better.”

McGill is No. 21 in Illinois according to the 247 Sports composite rankings for the Class of 2021. He’s a three-star recruit also ranked 43rd nationally among athletes.

“I’m just trying to be a way better thrower this year,” he said. “Teams can look for me to run, but I’m going to end up throwing it on them. I hope they do stack (the line of scrimmage) so I can throw.”