When Brannon Barry called down to Normal on Monday evening to offer his verbal commitment to the Illinois State football program, the Redbirds coaches were in a staff meeting.
Moments later, ISU’s entire staff was celebrating the St. Charles East senior’s decision. At least, that’s the way it sounded to Barry, who made the call after East’s Monday practice.
“They were very excited,” Barry said. “They were hooting and hollering, and they were very happy. It just shows I made the right call.”
Barry had plenty of advice to help him decide.
The receiver/safety comes from a family of athletes, including college-athlete siblings Bryce (a football player at Butler) and older sister Erienne (a volleyball player at Western Michigan).
Barry said Bryce was especially helpful, having previously gone through the process of plotting his college football future.
“He said wherever you go, make sure to make it your own,” Barry said. “Illinois State is a place I see myself going and a place I can see myself making an impact at.”
Barry said the ISU coaches envision him playing receiver in college. The 6-foot-5 Barry leads the Saints this season with 41 receptions for 644 receiving yards. He has five TD receptions leading up to Saturday’s IHSA Class 8A, first-round playoff game at Stevenson.
Barry chose ISU over another Missouri Valley Football Conference program, Western Illinois, after visiting both campuses this month. The MVFC is considered among the top Football Championship Subdivision conferences in the country. League member North Dakota State is the two-time defending FCS national champions.
At ISU, Barry said he plans to study business – the university’s business school receives major backing from State Farm – en route to going on to law school.
For now, the focus is this Saturday, when Barry and the Saints will be widely considered underdogs against a Stevenson team that has won seven straight games, beating highly regarded teams such as Lake Forest and Lake Zurich the past two weeks.
Barry said the Saints (6-3) aren’t sweating seedings or predictions.
“I don’t think we like to think of ourselves as underdogs,” Barry said. “The whole year we talked about making the playoffs and making a good impact in the state playoffs, so it’s not really [an underdog role] to us. We’re high school football players, they’re high school football players. They’re going to come out and play hard, and so are we.”
Storm welcome celeb: The St. Charles Storm basketball program will welcome Montverde Academy (Fla.) head coach Kevin Boyle for a clinic Saturday at Wredling Middle School. Boyle was the USA Today Coach of the Year in 2013, the 2011 Naismith Coach of the Year and the 2009 ESPN Coach of the Year.
A free coaches clinic will take place from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., followed by a session with travel players from 9:30 a.m. to noon, a 1 to 3 p.m. session for in-house boys and girls grades fifth through eighth, and a 3 to 5 p.m. session for “Bitty” boys and girls, grades second through fourth for boys and first through fourth for girls.
All players should bring a basketball. Registration is required. For more information, visit stcstorm.com.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.