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Prep Zone

Schwab: Vollbrecht's football offer from Illinois a memorable one

Loudon Vollbrecht didn’t waste his second chance to make a first impression.

The Geneva football junior offensive tackle said he wasn’t at school a couple months ago when a University of Illinois assistant coach dropped by for a visit, but Vollbrecht made up for lost time last week.

He attended a one-day camp in Champaign on Friday, and performed well enough to draw a scholarship offer from the Illini on Monday. It was the first offer for the 6-foot-7, 298-pound Vollbrecht, who said it “means a lot” for his first offer to come from the in-state Illini.

Vollbrecht said there were about 16 junior linemen at last week’s camp and another eight or 10 seniors.

“I felt pretty good about it but then again it was the first camp I went to all summer for football so I hadn’t run many 40s or anything,” Vollbrecht said. “My time wasn’t the best, but it still was a good [showing] and it showed my athletic ability as well as my football strengths.”

While the Illini’s offer carries weight, Vollbrecht intends to let his recruitment run its course. He said he might attend an upcoming camp at Michigan State, and North Carolina State and Syracuse are among the other Division I programs that are keeping tabs on Vollbrecht.

“It’s definitely enjoyable but it’s still kind of mind-blowing to think about because going into my junior year, a lot more can happen, but you never know,” Vollbrecht said.

Vollbrecht possesses a striking combination of strength and agility. His footwork likely has been enhanced by doubling as a basketball player. As a sophomore, he was part of the post rotation for a Vikings basketball team that advanced to a sectional championship game, and he’s dividing time between football and basketball training this summer.

“The only thing that’s tough I guess is not putting too much stress on certain body parts, like my knees, or not getting enough sleep throughout all the workouts, but time management wise, it’s not too difficult,” Vollbrecht said.

Vollbrecht’s offer from Illinois on Monday came the same day as Vikings senior receiver Pace Temple fielded a scholarship offer from Wyoming. Geneva quarterback Daniel Santacaterina committed to Northern Illinois in the spring.

Santacaterina, Temple and Vollbrecht were all key components of a robust Geneva offense last season, and given the trio’s recent recruiting activity, the spotlight will shine even brighter this fall.

“We have a lot of athleticism,” Vollbrecht said. “Our team is going to be great this next year. It definitely gives me more motivation to block more and harder and everything and be a better player because I’m blocking for some of the best people in the state, which shows with their offers.”

Switching sports: Geneva boys basketball senior forward Nate Navigato has drawn recruiting interest from Drake and Wright State, and Navigato visited both schools within the past few days for camps, according to his AAU program, Mercury Elite.

Navigato recently received a scholarship offer from Lehigh, and previously was offered by Illinois-Chicago, Northern Illinois and South Dakota State. Loyola, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Western Illinois also are keeping in touch.

Meanwhile, Wheaton Academy guard Josh Ruggles – Navigato’s Mercury Elite teammate – recently visited Northeastern in Boston, with Princeton, Dartmouth and Wofford among the other D-I programs eyeing the sharpshooter.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or

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