The NCAA's Spring Signing Period is commonly known as "Open Season.''|
Much like hunters in the woods, colleges are offered unfettered access to target senior high-school athletes not already signed for the next school year.
Today's beginning of the annual National Letter of Intent signing scramble features nearly two-dozen local preps, with nearly as many already on the docket early next week.
Among the biggest catches is Rockridge golf star Dylan Daxon, who will follow through on plans to continue his career at NCAA Division II Adelphi University.
The two-time Area Golfer of the Year for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, Daxon memorably visited the prestigious New York City campus during "Hurricane Sandy,'' yet later declined visits to Division I's New Orleans, Coastal Carolina and Georgia State to accept a scholarship offer from his first choice.
"I also spoke with Illinois and Arizona State and a bunch of other schools,'' Daxon said, noting playing time, the financial institution's proximity to Wall Street, and a well-connected alumni all factored in his decision. "They're offering me a lot of good things and I love the area, so that was a big seller. I'm excited.''
A couple of all-metro performers also opted to go the junior college route to keep open their options of playing at a higher level than Division III or NAIA.
Included were United Township softball pitcher Brooke Prior (Kirkwood in nearby Cedar Rapids), Moline softball slugger Miranda Marion (Muscatine), Alleman softball catcher Maddie McGuire (Iowa Western) and Alleman basketball center Zoe Kelso (also Kirkwood).
Among them, Kelso turned down offers to remain closer to home at Augustana and fellow D-3 Monmouth.
"Kirkwood is a JUCO but it doesn't feel that way when you are on campus,'' Kelso said. "What also attracted me was that it wasn't too far or too close to home, and I'll have the opportunity to get better and then go bigger somewhere else.''
Ditto for Prior, who also considered staying home at NAIA St. Ambrose or trying D-1 Western Illinois.
"Kirkwood has an amazing softball program,'' Prior said. "The coaches and players were awesome. I knew it was the right choice within the first visit.''
McGuire also considered Kirkwood, as well as fellow JUCO Indian Hills, D-3's Loras and Benedictine.
"I went on nine campus visits to many different school sizes, and Iowa Western made me feel the most comfortable,'' McGuire said about the school, located across Iowa in Council Bluffs."I really liked the coach and her philosophy on the game. I also liked it there because they are a very competitive school, ranked 16th in the nation for NJCAA. I wanted to go to a school where I would get playing time and make an impact on the team.''
Benedictine, though, did get Geneseo volleyball player Kelcey Adams, who joins her All-American sister Nicole at the national tournament-qualifying Illinois college.
Along with Marion, Moline has 14 others inking with colleges today, with a pair of D-1 signings -- track and cross country runner Haley Verbeke to Illinois State, and soccer's Bri Hughes to Western Illinois, already announced previously.
Going the JUCO route from Moline are Becki Hinz (Iowa Central volleyball), Edwin Salazar (Lincoln soccer) and Julio Villafuerte (Prairie State soccer).
Others inking are Morgan Gerard (Loras basketball), Derrick Stabler (Knox basketball), Lindsey Gidel (Loras cross country/track), Taylor Jefford (D-3 Aurora track), and Matt Tuttle-Timm (Augustana cross country/track).
Also signing previously were baseball's Cal Moyer (NAIA Bryan), softball's Lecy Waldbusser (D-3 Monmouth) and soccer's Kelsi Smith (D-3 Monmouth) and Brandon Sanchez (D-3 Carthage).
Along with Prior, 16 UT classmates are inking next Tuesday including JUCO-bound soccer teammates Mamadou Ba (Prairie State) and Claudio Barbosa (Scott).
Also new on the list are track and field's Levi Perry (Monmouth), and soccer's Marco Villagomez (St. Ambrose), Samantha Irby (D-3 Rockford) and Jessi Tapia (D-3 Dubuque).
The biggest signings were already announced -- baseball's Connor Gunneman (Parkland JUCO), and soccer's Laura Burrill to D-1 Illinois State and Drew Merideth (D-1 Southern Illinois-Edwardsville).
Also already signed-and-delivered were basketball's VanWatermeulen twins (Jamie and Jennifer) to Augie; football's Mack Fulton (Monmouth) and Nick Pearson (Ripon); and soccer's Todd Flamer (Scott), Mitchell Schneider (Scott) and Caitlynn Terronez (Dubuque).
Know of a local college-bound athlete? Let sportswriter Steve Tappa know by emailing email@example.com or calling (309) 757-4967.
Where they're going
-- Athletes from area schools and conferences signing with colleges this school term:
Tyler Brooks, Muscatine (Iowa Western JUCO)
Zack Clements, Muscatine (Iowa Western JUCO)
Savion Coleman, Bettendorf (Iowa Central JUCO)
Jon Crowe, Muscatine (D-3 Central of Iowa)
Devin Daily, Pleasant Valley (Northern Iowa)
Mack Fulton, United Township (D-3 Monmouth)
Nick Heimendinger, Bettendorf (Iowa Western JUCO)
Malique Hudson, Bettendorf (Iowa Central JUCO)
Amos Johnson, Rock Island (NAIA William Penn)
Jacob Judd, Clinton (Western Illinois)
Drake Kulick, Muscatine (Drake (preferred walk-on))
Tyler Lloyd, Muscatine (Iowa Western JUCO)
Jonathan Mixon, Galesburg (Army)
Nick Pearson, United Township (D-3 Ripon)
Jared Requet, Moline (NAIA William Penn)
Markel Richardson, Rock Island (NAIA William Penn)
Nick Schebler, Assumption (Army)
Randy Schmidt, North Scott (D-2 Northwest Missouri State)
Jake Shoultz, Muscatine (Iowa Western JUCO)
Max Weber, Muscatine (Iowa Western JUCO)
Derrick Willies, Rock Island (Iowa)
Ethan Adlfinger, Alleman (D-3 North Central)
Caleb Drake, Pleasant Valley (NAIA Olivet Nazarene)
Lindsey Gidel, Moline (D-3 Loras)
Taylor Jefford, Moline (D-3 Aurora, track only)
Megan Nickles, Bettendorf (Missouri State)
Anna Peer, Bettendorf (Nebraska)
Levi Perry, United Township (D-3 Monmouth track)
Stephanie Saey, Galesburg (DePaul)
Matt Tuttle-Timm, Moline (D-3 Augustana)
Haley Verbeke, Moline (Illinois State)
$-Mahnee Watts, Bettendorf (Iowa)
Mamadou Ba, United Township (Prairie State JUCO)
Claudio Barbosa, United Township (Scott JUCO)
Laura Burrill, United Township (Illinois State)
Todd Flamer, United Township (Scott JUCO)
Bri Hughes, Moline (Western Illinois)
Samantha Irby, United Township (D-3 Rockford)
Drew Merideth, United Township (Southern Illinois-Edwardsville)
Danielle Moore, Assumption (Iowa State)
Katie Moore, Bettendorf (Arkansas)
Fernando Rios, Alleman (D-3 Augustana)
Edwin Salazar, Moline (Lincoln JUCO)
Brandon Sanchez, Moline (D-3 Carthage)
x-Cruz Sandoval, United Township (Scott JUCO)
Mitchell Schneider, United Township (Scott JUCO)
Carolyn Silverman, Bettendorf (D-3 Grinnell)
Kelsi Smith, Moline (D-3 Monmouth)
Jessi Tapia, United Township (D-3 Dubuque)
Caitlynne Terronez, United Township (D-4 Dubuque)
Julio Villafuerte, Moline (Prairie State JUCO)
Marco Villagomez, United Township (NAIA St. Ambrose)
@-Emilio Alonso, Moline/Southeastern JUCO (Black Hawk JUCO)
* Tommy Argo, Assumption/Black Hawk (NAIA St. Ambrose)
@-Brinn Bell, Rock Island (Illinois St.)
Matt Brill, Moline (Appalachian St.)
Derek Burkamper, Muscatine (Nebraska)
Dan Cutkomp, Alleman (John A. Logan JUCO)
Dallas DeVrieze, Moline (Appalachian St.)
Brandon Engler, North Scott (Black Hawk JUCO)
Jake Friichenicht, Sherrard (Black Hawk JUCO)
@-Seth Fuller, Moline/Western Illinois (Black Hawk JUCO/# Northern Illinois)
Connor Gunneman, United Township (Parkland JUCO)
Justin Hill, Bettendorf (Southeastern JUCO)
Brian King, Sherrard (Black Hawk JUCO)
Cal Moyer, Moline (NAIA Bryan, Tenn.)
Terry Ogden, North Scott (Black Hawk JUCO)
@-Dan Robinson, Sterling/Murray State (Black Hawk JUCO)
x-Jake Scudder, Rock Island (Iowa Western JUCO)
Cody Sedlock, Alleman (Illinois)
Justin Shaffer, Durant (Black Hawk JUCO)
*-Jake Sharp, Alleman/Black Hawk (Iowa)
Matt Ulrich, Bettendorf (Three Rivers JUCO)
Jake Viaene, Moline (Black Hawk JUCO)
Cam Wernentin, Bettendorf (Carl Sandburg JUCO)
Drew Wescom, Assumption (Black Hawk JUCO)
Megan Butler, Muscatine (D-2 Upper Iowa)
Jordan de los Reyes, Moline (Illinois St.)
Kaitlyn Finneran, Morrison (Drake)
Holly Hoelting, Pleasant Valley (Western Illinois)
Chasney Jenkins, Alleman (Kirkwood JUCO)
Sarah Kennedy, Bettendorf (D-2 Augustana, South Dakota)
Miranda Marion, Moline (Muscatine JUCO)
Maaddie McGuire, Alleman (Iowa Western JUCO)
Chloe Miller, Pleasant Valley (Wisconsin)
Sadie Mosher, Riverdale (Lincoln Land JUCO)
Avery Nelson, Alleman (Muscatine JUCO)
Brooke Prior, United Township (Kirkwood JUCO)
Hope Scheffert, Dav. North (Iowa St.)
#-Riley Strandgard, Sherrard (Illinois St.)
@-Kayla Tatge, Sherrard/Kirkwood (NAIA St. Ambrose)
Lexy VandeMoortel, Alleman (Muscatine JUCO)
^-Lecy Waldbusser, Moline (D-3 Monmouth)
Shavonne Brewer, Rock Island (D-2 Rockhurst, Mo.)
Billy Daniel, Assumption (D-2 Truman State)
Morgan Gerard, Moline (D-3 Loras)
#-Ethan Happ, Rockridge (Wisconsin)
Zoe Kelso, Alleman (Kirkwood JUCO)
Leti Lerma, Muscatine (Bradley)
Kaycee Kallenberger, Pleasant Valley (Eastern Illinois)
Cassie Reiley, Prophetstown (NAIA St. Ambrose)
Derrick Stabler, Moline (D-3 Knox)
Jamie VanWatermeulen, United Township (D-3 Augustana)
Jennifer VanWatermeulen, United Township (D-3 Augustana)
Bubba Hernandez, Bettendorf (Iowa State)
B.J. McGhee, Rock Island (Missouri)
Kyle Springer, Assumption (Indiana)
Kelcey Adams, Geneseo (D-3 Benedictine)
Becki Hinz, Moline (Iowa Central JUCO)
Erin Mead, North Scott (NAIA St. Ambrose)
Megan Paustian, Pleasant Valley (Kirkwood JUCO)
Elizabeth Schindler, Princeville (Illinois Central JUCO)
Jacqueline Twing, Rock Island (Illinois Central JUCO)
Josie Weber, Princeville (Black Hawk East JUCO)
Haden Calegan, Muscatine (Pittsburgh)
Travis Greenwald, Muscatine (Denver)
Keanu Interone, Sterling (Utah)
Gabby Stecker, Pleasant Valley (Illinois)
Anna Cullinan, Pleasant Valley (Western Illinois)
Dylan Daxon, Rockridge (D-2 Adelphi, NY)
Laurel Enstrom, Rock Island (D-2 St. Cloud St., Minn.)
Adam Hutton, Muscatine (NAIA St. Ambrose)
*-Spencer Jones, Davenport North/Black Hawk (NAIA St. Ambrose)
Emily Thomas, Moline (Rend Lake JUCO)
Jennifer Rahn, Sterling (Iowa)
$-Track only; ^-Also playing golf; *-Junior college transfer from Black Hawk; @-Transfer from another college; x-Note: 2012-13 verbal commitments; #-Note: 2013-14 verbal commitments.
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