Football notebook: New Trier’s star lineman racking up offers, CJ West decommits, Kai Kroeger to South Carolina

New Trier’s David Davidkov has offers from 10 Big Ten schools.

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New Trier’s David Davidkov (73) is the state’s No. 2-ranked junior prospect.

New Trier’s David Davidkov (73) is the state’s No. 2-ranked junior prospect.

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New Trier’s David Davidkov was supposed to follow in the athletic footsteps of his dad, whose success came on the ice in his native Bulgaria.

“My dad wanted us to play hockey,” Davidkov said, noting that his father Emil was on a junior hockey team that won a European title.

But Davidkov, who was born a few years after his family emigrated to the United States in the late 1990s, took a different path.

“I started (football) in fourth grade and I just fell in love,” the offensive tackle said.

A multitalented athlete who also was an elite rugby player and wrestled for one season for the Trevians, Davidkov now is one of the most sought-after football recruits in the Class of 2021.

He’s No. 2 in Illinois in the 247 Sports composite rankings behind five-star Michigan commit JJ McCarthy of Nazareth. The 6-foot-6, 272-pounder also is 17th nationally at his position and 133rd among all players.

The Big Ten has shown plenty of love to Davidkov, who has offers from 10 conference schools: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

His 17 offers also have come from the SEC (LSU) and Pac-12 (Oregon).

The attention is welcome, if a little ahead of schedule.

“I definitely was expecting getting college offers eventually, because I knew I had it in me,” he said. “It definitely was a surprise to get them (after) sophomore year.”

New Trier coach Brian Doll knew he had something special when he saw how Davidkov interacted with recruiters.

“I’ve never had a kid where college coaches walk in and ask, ‘What’s your dream?’ ‘My dream is to play in the NFL one day and provide for my parents,’” Doll said.

“And I’m like, ‘God bless you, son.’ He’s an amazing kid to have around our program, a leader I have not had since I’ve been here, to be completely honest with you. Everybody gravitates to him.” 

Doll saw the potential in Davidkov as a freshman, and then saw significant growth in his first varsity season last fall.

“I saw him move next to (New Trier grad) Duke Olges, who’s going to Northwestern,” Doll said. “And as a sophomore when Duke was a senior, I was, ‘Wow, they move pretty similarly.’”

And Davidkov figures to be better this fall.

“Last year, I’d say (my game) was just like raw effort,” he said. “This year I know more technique and I’m a lot stronger.”

Back on the market

Nazareth senior CJ West, a three-star defensive tackle, has reopened his recruiting after decommitting from Minnesota.

”I just felt it was too early (to pick a school),” the 6-2, 305-pounder said. “I wanted to check out other schools and compare them. I never had a chance to, so I wouldn’t know. ... I’m talking to Cincinnati heavily right now.”

But recruiting isn’t going to distract him from the task at hand for the defending Class 7A champs.

”I’m not going to let down this season,” West said. “All the offers are good, but I’ve got a job here before anything else comes.”

Getting his kicks

Lake Forest senior Kai Kroeger, the No. 2-ranked punter nationally in his class according to the Kohl’s Kicking website, gave an oral commitment to South Carolina.

Kroeger is a five-star recruit according to Kohl’s, which calls him “maybe the most game-ready player in the 2020 class.”

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