ST. CHARLES – Nathan Hayes had never been to North Dakota before attending North Dakota’s State’s prospect camp in June.
It didn’t take long for him to see why it’s “such a winning program.”
Hayes, the 6-foot-5 St. Charles East starting quarterback, announced his verbal commitment to North Dakota State University on July 19.
”Just because of the way the coaches treated everybody and the way they coached,” Hayes said. “I learned more from that camp than I did all summer at all the other camps [I went to].”
Hayes balanced offers from Eastern Illinois University and Indiana State.
NDSU is home to one of the FCS’ top programs in the country; winning eight national titles from 2011-2015 and again from 2017-2019. Former quarterback Trey Lance was also selected third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Carson Wentz, another former NDSU standout, was the second overall selection in the 2016 draft.
”I’ve always set my goals high and I think having those same high standards and high goals around me is going to push me even harder,” Hayes said. “Everybody says: ‘Surround yourself with the best and you’ll be your best’ and that’s what I’m hoping for.”
Hayes will also be joined at NDSU with teammate and fellow wide receiver and defensive end, Kelton McCaslin, who verbally committed on July 1.
”I had been talking to NDSU longer than anyone else,” McCaslin said. “I want to win as many games as I can. After going to [a] camp and meeting the coaches in person, it was just a great fit for me.”
“I was so excited to hear Nate was getting his offer,” McCaslin continued. “We went to camp together, and I was thinking then how cool it would be to play college ball with one of my best friends.”
McCaslin, the 6-foot-5 wideout, balanced offers from Illinois state, Northern Iowa, McKendree University and Upper Iowa.
”I am so excited for both Kelton and Nathan to be heading to a school that has competed for national championships on a yearly basis and always are able to play with FBS schools,” Saints head coach Bryce Farquhar said. “Their commitment says a lot about their work ethic and athletic abilities on the field.
“Kelton was able to show his abilities at camp this summer and had a lot of offer[s] in June. He was able to find the school that fit him the best in NDSU. Nathan had a great camp season also and capped it off with an offer from one of the top QB schools in the country. [I am] very proud of both of these young men on their choices.”
SCN standout Paolo Gennarelli verbally commits to Army-West Point
Paolo Gennarelli still has one more season to prove himself on the football field, but deciding his collegiate football home won’t be among one of the motivations and distractions once the season begins.
Gennarelli, the St. Charles North senior and two-way standout on the offensive and defensive line, announced his commitment to the United States Military Academy – Army at West Point – football program on Monday.
Army was one of Gennarelli’s earliest programs to show interest, extending the offer last April. Gennarelli also juggled offers from programs like Wyoming, Eastern Illinois, Valparaiso and Lafayette College.
“They were really early in my recruiting; I might’ve [initially] overlooked them,” Gennarelli told Friday Night Drive on Monday. “You never look to [decide] early…it’s an opportunity that is really hard to pass up. We took a visit [Last Friday]. That really sealed the deal.
“The facilities were pretty unmatched. That was just great. The campus is beautiful. I love how it’s all a community like that. What sealed [the deal] was, at the end, we have a dinner with all the alumni…they contact their graduate class every single day. It’s like a brotherhood that they have, which I think is really cool. It’s something that I want to be a part of.”
Gennarelli is expected to stay at either offensive tackle or guard at the collegiate level. At this point, it’s not yet known if he’ll possibly redshirt.
“I’m pretty eager [for what’s to come],” Gennarelli continued. “Of course, obviously, I want to spend the rest of the [upcoming] season with my teammates; Have a good time ending out my high school career. That’s definitely something I’m going to think about until it happens because that’s pretty exciting stuff.”
Gennarelli was a Class 7A all-state second team selection this past spring for the 5-1 North Stars. The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder was fourth on the defense with 29 tackles and seven sacks; Gennarelli was also second with 10 tackles for loss.
“The [St. Charles North] football family could not be prouder of Paolo and his commitment to Army’s West Point academy,” North Stars coach Rob Pomazak said. [It is] one of the greatest institutions in the world. They could not get a finer person.
”Paolo is a servant leader who cares more about his teammates than his own personal accolades. He is a workhorse who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. He is relentless and additives to progress. I want to thank West Point for seeing the potential that we have seen in Paolo since day one.”
Gennarelli also turned in an outstanding track and field season in both shot put and discus. Gennarelli was third at the Class 3A state meet in shot put, and also earned first in both events at the Batavia-hosted sectional meet.
“He has a relentless work ethic and pushes everyone to better,” North Stars teammate and senior linebacker George Litgen said of Gennarelli. “As good as he is, he is very humble and wants you to succeed as much as himself.”