August 13, 2022


CCL/ESCC recruiting: 12 scholarship offers for Benet’s Pierce Walsh a ‘tremendous feeling’

Benet's Pierce Walsh

Every offer still feels the same for Pierce Walsh.

The Benet tight end prospect has 12 scholarship offers and no matter how many times a coach offers him a new one, the feeling doesn’t wane.

“It’s a tremendous feeling,” Walsh said. “It’s an accomplishment, something that when I was younger I dreamed of.”

Army was the latest program to offer on March 4 while Minnesota and Bowling Green each offered in February. Walsh also holds a second Power-Five offer from Rutgers and others from Western Michigan, Miami (Ohio), Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois Eastern Illinois and Illinois State.

Rivals ranks Walsh as a three-star recruit, 22nd-best in the state while 247Sports also gave him three stars, ranking him 23rd in the state.

Walsh visited Iowa this past weekend for the second time and has also seen Wisconsin, Miami (Ohio), Purdue, Indiana and Rutgers. He plans to visit Duke later this month and has some more visits planned but doesn’t know when he’ll be taking them.

The junior has enjoyed seeing what each school has to offer, each giving him a different chance to play collegiate football.

“I’m looking at a place that’s going to feel like home,” Walsh said. “A place that is going to push me to be my best and of course good football. I know I’m going to love being around those guys, working hard with them everyday. Also a place that I know will set me up and once I work for my degree, I can use that degree for the next 40 years or so of my life, go into something after football whenever that is for me.”

Walsh wants to make his decision sometime in early August before his senior season starts but also said he could make his choice whenever it feels right. The tight end said he doesn’t have a leader right now among his choices and is just going through the evaluation process.

The junior’s hard work that he’s put into his game isn’t to get more offers. He wants to win a state championship with his teammates this fall but is excited to get closer to realizing his dream of playing college football with each offer.

“It’s a great feeling, but it’s a lot of hard work,” Walsh said. “I hope it starts to pay off in the end. I’m really stoked.”

Nazareth’s Justin Taylor takes visit to Kansas State

Justin Taylor had a feeling something special could be on its way when he visited Kansas State last weekend.

The Nazareth junior had talked with coaches for some time and when he noticed some things that coaching staff did for his visit, it all became clear after the school offered him his first Power Five scholarship.

“I just loved the place,” Taylor said of Kansas State. “The vibe and the atmosphere was just right. When you get an offer from there, it was a blessing and I was grateful to have it.”

Taylor now has 12 offers to play collegiate football. Northern Iowa, Eastern Illinois and Wyoming all joined Kansas State in offering at the start of March while Army, Western Illinois and Navy each offered in February.

The Roadrunner also holds offers from Bowling Green, Toledo, Kent State, Ball State and Miami (Ohio).

Rivals list Taylor as a three-star recruit, the 25-best in the state 247Sports has also given him three stars, 34-best in the state.

His Wyoming and Army offers caught Taylor off guard but he’s excited to have an opportunity to learn more about those programs.

“Those two are great schools,” Taylor said. “I was just blessed.”

Taylor has already visited Miami (Ohio) twice and seen Ball State, Bowling Green, Toledo, Kansas and Kansas State. He visited Iowa State on Thursday. He also has scheduled visits to see Army and Navy and might go see Cincinnati.

The junior also plans to attend a camp at Georgia.

Taylor is looking for a place with a family atmosphere and a school with a diverse background like his high school has. School will also be a top priority.

“They have to have a good academic system, they have to take academics seriously,” Taylor said. “The school that I choose, I want that degree to say something about my character and how I did academically. I want that to complement my career.”

The junior wants to make a decision before his senior season so he can focus on his games. He’s open to playing on either side of the ball, whether that be as a defensive back, wide receiver or running back.

Taylor had a goal to get to 12 offers and now he’s moving that up to 20. If he gets to 20, he’ll move it up again.

He’s worked hard for this moment and he’s not going to stop now that schools have taken notice.

“I’m always going to be disciplined, I’m always going to be hard working, definitely humble,” Taylor said. “I’m always going to be determined to be great and keep working and striving for greatness.”

Home cooking for Pat Farrell

Pat Farrell didn’t expect to have messages from three different Illinois coaches when he left a workout in mid-February telling him to call head coach Brett Bielema, but when the St. Rita defensive lineman called the head coach, he was happy he did.

The junior earned his first Power-Five offer.

“I didn’t expect them to offer that soon,” Farrell said. “It felt really good for them to do it.”

Farrell now has 15 offers. Wyoming was the latest to offer at the beginning of March while Army, Air Force, Western Illinois, Eastern Michigan, South Dakota, Ball State and Miami (Ohio) all offered in February. He also holds offers from Toledo, Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Akron, Central Michigan and Kent State.

247Sports ranks Farrell as a three-star prospect, the 37th best in the state.

“It feels great,” Farrell said of the offers. “It’s just adding to my resume, showing that I’m a good piece to put to the puzzle. It’s nice to be acknowledged for the hard work that I’ve put in.”

Farrell visited Iowa last weekend and enjoyed learning more about the program. He’s also visited Western Michigan and Miami of Ohio and plans to see a couple more Big Ten schools over the spring period.

The junior doesn’t have a leader among the schools he’s considering but plans on committing before his senior season. If he doesn’t find the right spot by then, he’ll commit after the season.

In the meantime he’s looking forward to learning more about each school and appreciates each offer.

“I feel like it’s pushed me to be better, to just prove to myself that I earned it,” Farrell said. “I just want to know to myself that I’m good. I feel like I’ve proven it, but I feel like this has proven it even more and pushed me more.”

Jamel Howard Jr. gaines opportunities

Jamel Howard Jr. has nine scholarship offers but each one still feels the same.

Marist’s junior defensive tackle has grown used to receiving good news from college coaches, but he doesn’t forget just how special the opportunities are.

“I’ve just been learning to be more appreciative of the opportunities that I am getting,” Howard said. “Every offer that I’ve received, I’m grateful that I have it because I come from a place where a lot of kids don’t get this. The fact that they thought of me and have given me the opportunity to spend my collegiate career there is the best feeling in the world to me.”

Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Iowa State offered in February, joining offers from Miami (Ohio), Toledo, Akron, Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Kent State.

The junior has earned a three-star rating from Rivals, 27-best in the state while 247Sports also gave him a three-star rating, 17-best in the state.

Howard was excited to receive his first Power Five offer from Iowa State, especially since he had no idea it was coming.

“The fact that they reached out and gave me an offer kind of caught me off guard,” Howard said.

He’s visited Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Purdue and is planning on going to Iowa State some time in the coming months. He’s still working on some more visits he wants to make.

Howard is a big family guy, which is why he wants to continue that feeling wherever he decides to go to school.

“When I’m away from home, I would like to have a big family wherever I go because that’s probably the place where I’m going to spend the next four years,” Howard said. “Just that family aspect, how the coaches treat their players, how the players treat each other.”

The junior plans to make a decision sometime his senior year since he’s still in the evaluation period. As he goes through the process, he’ll keep working hard as he has up to this point.

“It’s pushing me to work harder, because honestly you can’t stop proving yourself, there’s always room for improvement,” Howard said. “I feel like sometimes you may get a couple offers, some kids might say ‘he doesn’t deserve those offers.’ I have to prove to myself and show them why I have these offers, they weren’t just given to me.”

Michal Dwojak

Michal Dwojak

Michal is an award-winning sports journalist based in Chicago. He most recently served as the sports editor of The Glenview Lantern and Northbrook Tower and is a graduate of the College of Media at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.