Batavia offensive lineman Jack Breshears is making the rounds.
The senior visited Eastern Michigan last week, the seventh school he’s checked out so far. He’s willing to see that list climb well into double digits.
“Seven’s great so far, but I’m planning to visit a lot more because I have a lot more interest (from other schools),” Breshears said. “I want to see the schools I’m considering, but it’s great so far.”
Five of the seven schools Breshears has visited are Mid-American Conference programs; Northern Illinois, Ball State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. He also has visited Michigan State and Wisconsin. Central Michigan and Florida Atlantic are the two programs that have offered Breshears scholarships.
Breshears said if he ends up going the MAC route, Eastern Michigan will receive strong consideration.
“It was great,” Breshears said. “It’s a program that has to build a little bit. It’s kind of down, and 15, 20 minutes from Ann Arbor, so they don’t get much fan support, but the head coach there (Chris Creighton) is unreal. I talked to him for about an hour. He was probably one of the best head coaches I’ve talked to so far.”
The visit to Ypsilanti also was bolstered by the presence of class of 2012 Batavia graduate Cole Gardner, a tight end for the Eagles.
“I remember my freshman year, I was looking up at the guy,” Breshears said of Gardner. “I was 6-(foot)-3, I wasn’t a small kid freshman year, but I just remember Cole was probably 6-6, 250, 255 (pounds), just a giant. I looked up to him. He was huge, one of my idols, someone I wanted to be like when I was older.”
Breshears isn’t looking up to many high schoolers these days.
A starting offensive tackle on last year’s IHSA Class 6A state champion Bulldogs, Breshears played at 6-3, 250 as a junior and said he’s up to 6-4, 285 now as he nears his senior season.
As well as he played last year, Breshears thinks his weight room strides and maturation will be evident once the 2014 season begins.
“This year, I know a lot more,” Breshears said. “I’m bigger, stronger no one can get around me. I pound kids. It’s a lot easier, and I’m a lot more fluid than last year.”
Breshears said he projects as an offensive tackle if he ends up in the MAC, but is more likely to play at guard if he lands in a higher-profile conference. For now, his focus is helping the Bulldogs give last year’s historic season a suitable encore.
Breshears is one of four returning offensive linemen starters for a unit that figures to be the greatest strongsuit for Batavia’s offense, which graduated most of its elite performers at the skill positions. Returning center Patrick Gamble and guards Mitch Krusz and Zach Tate also played large roles for the Bulldogs last year.
Batavia traditionally is balanced between the pass and run offensively, but this year’s team – at least early on – could tilt more heavily toward pounding the ball on the ground.
Breshears said an offensive line with “a lot more chemistry” will be eager to provide leadership until some of Batavia’s new starters gain experience.
“We know each other very well,” Breshears said of the Bulldogs’ O-line. “We’re all very big and powerful. … We can handle our own. It’s going to be very good this year.”
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.