MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois University Football received 21 commitments for the upcoming 2013 season. First-year head coach Bob Nielson announced his first Leatherneck signing class during a press conference inside Western Hall on Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 6).
The Leathernecks signed 11 players on offense, 10 on defense. Of Western's 21 recruits, five are offensive linemen and five are defensive linemen.
Western signed three recruits from the junior college ranks (Illinois and Arizona), while the other 18 recruits are all from the high school ranks covering Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida and Washington.
According to Nielson, Western addressed its needs on both sides of the ball, focusing on linemen.
"We are very excited about this group. They are outstanding athletes but more importantly outstanding people. Our staff worked hard over the last month to identify and recruit a group of young men that will provide some immediate depth, and provide a foundation for success in the years ahead," said Nielson.
Eriq Baird * DB
* 6-0, 176 *
Peoria, IL (Peoria)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered four years in football and basketball, twice in baseball and once in track/field... First Team All-Conference... Honorable Mention All-Area... Academic All-State honors... played for coach Tim Thorton... voted team captain in football and basketball... helped his basketball team win the 2012 state title... PERSONAL: Born April 13, 1995 in Tucson, Arizona... No. 1 sports highlight was being a starting guard on the state championship basketball team, earning All-Conference honors and Academic All-State... worked in the Mayor's office for two summers and shadowed the Councilmen... worked as a host and researcher for the Downstate African American Hall of Fame museum... carries a 4.0 weighted GPA... will graduate in the top 10 percent of his class... his mother has been a major influence, "She established my base in sports at a young age."... most admires his HS football coach Tim Thorton, "He pushed me academically, on the field, spiritually, and in the community. He made sure that my foundation was strong with all four legs."... enjoys dancing, shopping, hanging out with friends and going to the gym... favorite professional teams are the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings... favorite music is Roscoe Dash... son of Erica Baird... MAJOR: Business Administration with a minor in Spanish
Josh Baldus * DL * 6-5, 260 * Palatine, IL (Palatine)
HIGH SCHOOL: Two-time All-Mid Suburban Conference... Tom Lemming Underclassmen All-Area in 2011... Daily Herald All-Area selection following his junior and senior year... played for coach Tyler Donnelly... lettered in football, basketball and track/field... PERSONAL: Born March 31, 1995 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa... No. 1 sports highlight was playing on varsity his sophomore year, looking up to the seniors which helped him grow as a person and a player... his parents have been a major influence, "They helped get me everywhere when I was a younger."... also notes former teammate Tyler Farris as a major influence, "He played tackle my sophomore year and was a big role model for me."... most admires Coach Hernon, his offensive line coach, "He has coached me for three years, knows how to get me to work my hardest, knows how to teach linemen and is always there for his players."... hobbies include: cars, video games and friends... favorite professional teams are the Chicago Bears and Bulls... favorite musician is Drake... son of David and Pamela Baldus... MAJOR: Undecided
Joey Borsellino * WR * 5-11, 185 * Oak Brook, IL (Montini Catholic)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered four years in football... Two-time All-SCC Conference, and twice was named the league's 'Player of the Year'... team won the Illinois Class 5A state championship all four years he played (2009-12)... three-year starter... Eastern DuPage 'Player of the Year' in 2012... Daily Herald DuPage Valley All-Area team in 2011 and 2012... News Gazette All-State in 2012... Edgytim Rivals All-State and Illinois Coaches All-State honors last fall... recorded 201 receptions for 2,357 yards and 28 TDs... totaled 605 yards on 94 rushed and scored 16 TDs... played for coach Chris Andriano... PERSONAL: Born August 13, 1994 in Oak Brook... his dad has been a major influence, "He has coached me from the time I was five through high school."... his cousin Johnny Borsellino is a two-time All-American at the Division III level... enjoys water and snow boarding, going to the movies and Sunday dinner with the family... favorite professional team is the New England Patriots... favorite music is Boys 2 Men and Usher... son of Lewis and Julie Borsellino... MAJOR: Economics
Adam Brott * LB * 6-2, 195 * St. Clair, MO (St. Clair)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football, track/field and basketball... three-time All-Conference selection as a defense back... also earned All-Conference as a returner (2011), running back (2011), and utility player (2012)... voted the conference's 'Defensive Player of the Year' last fall... two-time selection as All-State, one year as a returner and last season at defensive back... selected to the Lions Club All-Star game... played for coach Cody McDowell... PERSONAL: Born March 29, 1995... his parents have been a major influence, "They have been behind me with all my sports."... most admires Baltimore Ravens defensive back Ed Reed, "I think I play football just like he does."... enjoys playing X-box and hanging out with friends... son of Dave and Kay Brott... MAJOR: Physical Education
Jordan Detweiler * OL * 6-5, 260 * Williamsburg, Iowa (Williamsburg)
HIGH SCHOOL: First Team All-State Class 3A by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Preps... two-time First Team All-District and Academic All-District accolades... team won the District 7 championship his senior year... lettered three years in football and once in basketball... played for coach Curt Ritchie... PERSONAL: Born November 2, 1994... No. 1 sports highlight was making it to the state semifinals in the UNI-Dome his senior year and recording a career-high 11 tackles... his older brother Tyrel has been a major influence, "He helped me learn the game of football and was always pushing me to be better."... most admires Marshal Yanda, "He was an overlooked lineman from Iowa who is now one of the best players in the NFL."... his brother Tyrel played football for Iowa from 2007-09... enjoys watching sports, playing X-box, hanging out with friends and hunting... favorite professional team is the Green Bay Packers... son of Jim and Mary Detweiler... MAJOR: Agriculture Business
Rhys Gervais * QB * 6-3, 200 * Puyllap, WA (Lakes)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered three years in football, two in baseball... team captain... WIAA Player of the Week last season... Second Team All-League... as a sophomore recorded 13 passing TDs and three rushing with 1,400 yards through the air and 200 rushing... as a junior threw for more than 2,600 yards and rushed for 300 with 29 TDs (23 passing/6 rushing)... finished his prep career with 2,100 passing yards and 500 on the ground with 22 TDs (14 passing/8 rushing)... played for coach Dave Miller... PERSONAL: Born July 26, 1004 in Federal Way, Washington... No. 1 sports highlight was beating Bellarmine Prep, the No. 2 ranked team in Washington state, on their home field... his dad and his HS coach has been a major influence, "He has been my coach from day one and taught me that every minute you are not working hard, someone else is. Coach Miller pushed me to be a strong leader and upstanding citizen. These men have made me stronger and shown me how to overcome some of the most difficult situations I've ever had to face in my entire football career."... most admires his brother Dalton, "He could flat out play. The way he moved, the way he carried himself so confidently, he played like there was no tomorrow. He showed he could compete with the best and never settled for being the guy behind the guy everyone talked about."... his relatives Steve Gervais played QB at Oregon State, Scott Gervais played safety at Pacific Lutheran, and Dalton Gervais is a centerfielder and pitcher at Cerritos College... favorite professional teams are the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners... favorite music is Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, AC/DC, Eric Clapton, the Eagles, Rolling Stones, Macklemore, Nipsey Hussle and the Fray... son of Scott and Denise Gervais... MAJOR: Undecided
Hollis Henry * DL * 6-3, 240 * Wheaton, IL (Wheaton-Warrensville South)
HIGH SCHOOL: Earned All-Dupage Valley Conference honors as an offensive lineman in 2011... lettered in football and track/field... team won the state championship in 2010 and was state runner-up in 2011... played for coach Ron Muhitch... PERSONAL: September 16, 1994... member of the WWS Athletic Leadership Council... No. 1 sports highlight was winning the Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman award at a football camp last summer... his mom has been a major influence, "She pushes me to excel at whatever I try and to be the best I can be."... most admires Michael Jordan, "Because of his resilience and leadership abilities... had a cousin Curtis Brown play football at Eastern Illinois in the early 2000s... enjoys playing guitar, reading, working out and participating in community service projects... favorite professional team is the Chicago Bears... favorite music is Common... son of Stephanie Henry... MAJOR: Psychology
Jacob Judd * OL * 6-3, 260 * Clinton, Iowa (Clinton)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered two years in football... following his senior year named Offensive Player of the Year... Second Team All-Conference on the offensive and defensive line... First Team All-Area as a senior, named Second Team All-Area following his junior year... also earned All-Conference honors on both lines following his junior campaign... played for coach Lee Camp... lettered three years in basketball... team qualified for state his freshman year... received the Dan Roushar Citizenship Award following his junior year... team won the River City Classic Tournament his senior year... twice lettered in soccer... also earned All-Conference honors twice in track as a freshman and sophomore... received the Academic Achievement Scholarship Award all four years... member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Honor Society... PERSONAL: Son of Jay Kramer and Danielle Judd... No. 1 sports highlight was being named Offensive Player of the Year... listed God as a major influence, "I compete for the pleasure of my Father, the honor of Christ, and the reputation of the Holy Spirit."... most admires Mike Singletary, "I met him in person and he spoke to me about believing in myself. He's a great motivational and inspirational speaker."... hobbies include: football, faith, family, friends and food... favorite professional team is the Minnesota Vikings... MAJOR: Physics
Lance Lenoir, Jr. * WR * 6-0, 171 * Crete, IL (Crete Monee)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football and baseball... three-time All-Conference selection, twice named All-Area... received All-State accolades following his senior year... helped his team win the 2012 Class 6A state championship... finished his prep career with 140 receptions... in his career also recorded 1,971 receiving yards, 31 touchdowns and two TDs off punt returns... played for coach Jerry Verde... PERSONAL: Born February 9, 1995 in Chicago... No. 1 sports highlight was scoring a touchdown in the state championship game... his dad has been a major influence, "He was very athletic himself, and he pushes me beyond my limits."... most admires Greg Barksdale, Jr., "As an incoming freshman I was fascinated by his athleticism. He set the bar high for me to follow in his footsteps."... enjoys playing video games, listening to music and hanging out with friends... favorite professional teams are the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Marlins and Chicago Bulls... favorite music is Big Sean... son of , Sr. and Jevelyn Lenoir and Andrea McCullum... MAJOR: Law Enforcement Justice Administration
Sterling Mack * LB * 6-2, 220 * Miramar, FL (Dade Christian)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football and track/field... Third Team All-Dade County... played for coach Mike Sonneborne... PERSONAL: Born February 9, 1995 in Bartow, Florida... No. 1 sports highlight was a big hit on South Florida Heat... his dad and his coaches have been a major influence... most admires his HS coach Mike Sonneborne, "Without him none of this would be possible."... enjoys football, basketball and video games... favorite professional team is the Pittsburgh Steelers... favorite music group is Meek Mill... son of Lajuane Mack and Janice Tuff... MAJOR: Law Enforcement Justice Administration
Mick Nelson * DL * 6-3, 255 * Vadnais Heights, MN (Mounds View)
HIGH SCHOOL: Two-time All-Suburban East Conference honors... First Team All-Pioneer Press... Second Team All-Star Tribune... All-Metro accolades following his senior year... Honorable Mention All-State... named 2012 'Lineman of the Year' in the Suburban East Conference... starting offensive tackle on the 2010 team that advanced to the state Class 5A (largest in Minnesota) semifinals... played for coach Jim Galvin... four-time letterwinner in wrestling and rugby, three in football... three-time All-Conference honors in wrestling... placed in state as a freshman... twice named captain in wrestling and once in football... qualified for state last year in the heavyweight class... earned academic honors every semester... PERSONAL: Born October 28, 1994 in St. Paul, Minnesota... served as a peer tutor... referee for youth football and basketball... No. 1 sports highlight was beating Cretin-Derham Hall in the 2010 state quarterfinals to advance to the Metrodome and semifinals... his parents have been a major influence, "They have been my biggest supporters the whole way."... his wresting coach Chad Kostecka has also been a major influence, "He has pushed me harder and taught me more than any other coach has."... most admires Olympic champion Rulon Gardner, "He upset Kareline Alexandre in the 2000 Olympics Gold medal match."... favorite professional teams are the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and Wild... enjoys fishing, hunting, rugby, wrestling and movies... son of David and Annie Nelson... MAJOR: Undecided
Devin O'Hara * QB/ATH * 6-5, 190 * Mt. Prospect, IL (Prospect)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football, basketball, and track/field... named IHSFCA All-State honors his senior year... twice earned All-Conference accolades... All-Area his senior season, Special Mention All-Area following his junior year... set school records with 524 yards in a game and seven touchdowns... finished last year with 599 receiving yards and seven TDs, more than 1,600 rushing yards and 30 TDs, while also throwing for 1,500 yards and eight scores... member of five conference championship teams in high school... played for coach Mike Sebestyen... PERSONAL: Born October 29, 1994 in Evanston... No. 1 sports highlight was his first game starting at quarterback, breaking the school record and getting the win... his parents have been a major influence, "My mom is a big factor in my athleticism, she was a gymnast. My dad started four years at safety in the Big Ten Conference at Minnesota and he taught me everything I know about football."... most admires NFL quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Cam Newton, "He's the smartest quarterback in the NFL, and is his own offensive coordinator. I like to believe I play like Cam Newton because I can pass, but running is a big strength of mine and I can extend plays."... his father lettered at Minnesota in football (1987-91) and his mom in gymnastics for the Gophers (1987-91)... enjoys playing basketball, fishing and going on vacation... favorite professional teams are the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bulls... favorite musician is Kendrick Lamar... son of Les and Julie O'Hara... MAJOR: Sport Management
Colin Olson * DL * 6-4, 230 * Mt. Prospect, IL (Prospect)
HIGH SCHOOL: Earned eight letters in football, basketball and track/field... named All-Mid Suburban League following senior year... Daily Herald All-Area... voted team captain... won two conference titles in football, two in track and one in basketball... last fall recorded 56 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and six sacks... played for coach Mike Sebestyen... PERSONAL: Born May 7, 1995 in Mt. Prospect... No. 1 sports highlight was beating Elk Grove for the 2012 championship... favorite professional team is the Pittsburgh Steelers... son of George and Krissy Olson... MAJOR: Business Marketing
Marquette Privott * DB * 6-1, 185 * Chicago, IL (Rich East/College of DuPage)
AT JUCO: Played football at Harper for one year before the program was dropped... transferred to the College of DuPage... helped the Chaparrals to a Citizens Bank Bowl victory over Northeast Oklahoma A&M to finish 9-2... HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football... played for coach Andre Taylor... PERSONAL: Born July 15, 1993... helped at children luncheons at local elementary school... son of Victor Rodriguez and Tammy Privott... No. 1 sports highlight was getting an interception against the top-ranked JUCO wide receiver... most admires NFL linebacker Ray Lewis... lists as a major influence, "The fact that I am a father and I know what an education could do for my future and my children."... lists hobbies/interests as enjoying being a father... favorite professional team is the Baltimore Ravens... MAJOR: Undecided
Joe Pyszka * OL * 6-5, 270 * Peru, IL (Saint Bede Academy)
HIGH SCHOOL: Two-time selection as First Team All-Conference and First Team All-Area... selected as MVP Offensive Lineman his final two years... three-year starter at varsity... voted team captain... lettered four years in football, and basketball, two years in baseball and two years in bass fishing... played for coach John Bellino... three-year starter in basketball, twice named First Team All-Conference (2011-12)... received the team's Most Improved Award in 2011 then last year shared the MVP award... IBCA Special Mention All-State...averaging a double-double this year in basketball, 17 points/11 rebounds after putting up 13 points and 7.5 boards per game as a junior... PERSONAL: Born September 24, 1994 in Mendota... No. 1 sports highlight was beating No. 1 ranked Sterling Newman and advancing to the state quarterfinals his junior year... his older brother Mark has been a major influence, "He never let me become content and always pushed me to do more."... most admires former NBA All-Star Shaquille O'Neal, "I admire the way he dominated his opponents for so many years."... enjoys hunting, fishing and the outdoors... favorite professional teams are the Chicago Bears, Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks... favorite music group is Hootie and the Blowfish... son of Jim and Molly Pyszka... MAJOR: Biology
Devon Sanders * RB * 5-9, 185 * Chicago, IL (Robeson)
HIGH SCHOOL: Four-time All-Conference and four-time All-City selection... two years earned All-State honors... team captain in both track and football... set a school record for most touchdowns and longest run from scrimmage... played for coach Fabray Collins... junior year rushed for 1,658 yards and 26 touchdowns... as a senior surpassed 1,300 rushing yards and scored 17 TDs... lettered in football and track and field... PERSONAL: Born May 8, 1995 in Chicago... No. 1 sports highlight was winning three MVP awards in football and two in track... his dad and his coaches have been a major influence, "They always pushed me and told me to never give up."... most admires his HS assistant coach Robert Miller, "He has always been there for me. He always motivates me and pushes me to succeed."... has a brother that runs track at Iowa Central CC... enjoys playing video games, listening to music and buying shoes... favorite professional teams are the Chicago Bears and Bulls... favorite musician is Wale... son of Dwight Sanders and Tanya Black... MAJOR: Sports Medicine or Sport Management.
Hi-C Scott * WR * 5-9, 190 * Phoenix, AZ (Central/Glendale CC)
AT JUCO: Played at Glendale CC... named Player of the Week on November 12th for special teams when he returned five kickoffs for 208 yards... during the 2012 season played in seven games, totaling 23 receptions for 370 yards and four touchdowns... voted team captain... returned 15 kickoffs totaling 411 yards... HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football, baseball, basketball and track/field... voted football team captain... earned All-State honors at wide receiver... caught 45 passes for 960 yards and 14 TDs... selected All-Conference as a returner... played for coach Todd Williamson... PERSONAL: Born January 13, 1993 in Tucson, Arizona... Jaymond Cleveland has been a major influence, "He was just a guy who knew what it takes to play and succeed at this game on and off the field."... most admires Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears, "Whenever the ball is in my hands I always imagine him returning a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, and the moves he makes to make sure he scores."... enjoys football, X-box, singing and dancing... favorite professional team is the Chicago Bears... favorite music is Maroon 5 and most R&B artists... son of Danita Ford... full name is Hussien Scott... MAJOR: Technology Engineering
Brett Taylor * LB * 6-2, 225 * Macomb, IL (Macomb)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered four years in baseball, three in football and once in basketball for the Bombers... three-time All-Conference selection in football, two years in baseball... three times selected best defensive lineman (2010, 2011, 2012)... recorded 111 tackles as a sophomore, 172 his junior year and 210 last fall leading Macomb to the playoffs... set the Macomb HS record for career tackles (493) and season tackles (210)... team won the 2012 conference football title... played for coach Kelly Sears... also set the baseball program record for most doubles in a year... PERSONAL: Born August 8, 1994 in Macomb... No. 1 sports highlight was hurdling two offensive linemen on the same play and tackling both the quarterback and running back... his grandfather Ed Holzwarth has been a major influence, "He used to take me to all the sporting events as a little kid and has always supported me."... most admires Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Mathews, "He went from college walk-on to a NFL Pro Bowler. It shows that hard work can take you really far in life."... enjoys Frisbee golf, hunting, sports and hanging out with friends... favorite professional team is the Green Bay Packers... favorite music group is Linkin Park... his cousin Lyndi Thorman plays basketball at Texas-San Antonio... son of Mike and Sandra Taylor... MAJOR: Exercise Science
James Torgerson * OL * 6-5, 270 * Springfield, IL (Springfield)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered four years in football and two in track... named Central State 8 All-Conference his senior year after earning Honorable Mention accolades his sophomore and junior year... played for coach R.J. Luke... earned All-CS8 honors in track the past two seasons... qualified for the state track meet in the shot put in 2011 (Class 2A) and 2012 (Class 3A)... earned Academic All-State honors in football... won the shot put and discus conference titles in 2012... 2012 team won the conference track title... PERSONAL: Born December 8, 1994 in Springfield... No. 1 sports highlight was making the quarterfinals his sophomore year in football, and beating Jacksonville on the final play of the game during Homecoming his senior year... his parents have been a major influence, "They first encouraged me to play sports and were the reason I have been able to play sports my entire life."... enjoys football, history, fishing and basketball... favorite professional team is the St. Louis Rams... son of Kevin and Janice Torgerson... MAJOR: Undecided
Jordan Veloz * DL * 6-3, 240 * Oak Creek, WI (Oak Creek)
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football, baseball and basketball... won state his junior year in baseball and helped his football team win conference his senior season... played for coach Mike Bartholomew... PERSONAL: Born November 29, 1994 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin... No. 1 sports highlight was winning state... his parents have been a major influence, "They are the ones who introduced me to sports and they have given me a competitive edge."... most admires Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, "He's the best player in the NFL and the most athletic."... favorite professional team is the Green Bay Packers... favorite music is Romeo Santos... son of John and Liza Veloz... MAJOR: Undecided
Martin Woods * OL * 6-3, 280 * Glendale, AZ (Independence/Glendale CC)
AT JUCO: Played at Glendale CC, helping the 2012 team to an 8-3 record and 'Top 20' ranking nationally... defeated Mesa CC to win the Valley of the Sun Bowl... selected Second Team All-WSFL... HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football and track/field... played for coach Adrian Orona and Kenny Storkle... PERSONAL: Born June 17, 1992... his mother has been a major influence, "I saw this game as a chance to gain the opportunity to be able to take care of her."... most admires coach Adrian Orona, "He held me to the game at a young age and presented me with the challenge to be the best competitor possible."... enjoys music, drawing and working out... favorite professional teams are the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia Eagles... favorite musician is Jay-Z... son of Windy Davis... MAJOR: Communications