Naperville Central junior three star-ranked athlete recruit Sam Jackson (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) decided Wednesday to give Minnesota his verbal commitment. Jackson, who originally committed to head coach P.J. Fleck and company last February, backed off that decision last summer and reopened his recruiting process.
Jackson was able to add several additional Power 5 offers after reopening his recruiting, including picking up an offer last month from Notre Dame. Jackson was hoping to make a few official visits before making his final decision, yet He decided to pledge to the Gophers again without making any official visits.
Homewood-Flossmoor junior three star-ranked wide receiver Will Pauling (5-foot-9, 165 pounds) decided to wrap up his recruiting process and gave the University of Cincinnati his verbal commitment.
"Cincinnati was really my leader looking back from the moment they offered me a scholarship," Pauling said. "They had faith in me early on and that loyalty was really important to me. I looked at some other schools but Cincinnati was really the team to beat for me and in the end they won me over."
Pauling also admitted that making two early visits to Cincinnati along with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic played a role in the timing of his decision.
"I was able to make two unofficial visits to Cincinnati and they ended up being a pretty big factor in my decision for sure," he said. "I was able to see everything that Cincinnati has to offer and I also was able to get a much better feel for everything. With this pandemic going on longer and longer, I just felt very good and very comfortable making my decision because of those early visits. I looked hard at Syracuse, Buffalo, Bowling Green and Air Force, but I wasn't able to get out to visit those schools at all."
Glenbrook North junior offensive guard Jackson Carsello (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) is now holding over 20 scholarship offers so far this spring. He added his first Big Ten offer earlier this week from the University of Illinois.
"I know that Lovie Smith is the head coach at Illinois and I was a big fan of his when he was the Bears coach," Carsello said. "I'm a huge Bears fan and also an NFL fan. Illinois has a lot to offer and they have also developed a lot of great linemen over the years. Illinois is my first Big Ten offer and it's a great honor. I've never visited Illinois so once all of this pandemic settles down and we are allowed back on visits, I'm definitely planning to visit Illinois."
Carsello is still amazed at how quickly his recruiting stock has taken off this spring.
"I'm still sort of in shock to be honest," he said. "It's always been my dream to play football in college and it's truly a dream come true. At this time last year I was around 195 pounds and now I'm up to 265-270 pounds. It's been just an amazing feeling and it makes me just want to keep working hard and getting better every day."
Joliet West three star-ranked junior running back Trenton Howland (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) has been looking harder at his recruiting process these days and has set up his first official visit.
"I have been looking harder at my recruiting," Howland said. "I also just set up my first official visit to Nebraska on June 12. I'm in touch with a handful of the schools who have offered me and I'm trying to stay busy under this pandemic."
Howland, who was a starter on the Tigers‘ Class 4A state ranked basketball team, is also hoping to make a few additional official visits before making his college choice and has no current time frame for making his decision.