Tri-State Signing Day: Eight area players sign on dotted line - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Tri-State Signing Day: Eight area players sign on dotted line

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Macomb's Brett Taylor (left, Western Illinois) and Nick Severs (right, Iowa State) both signed their national letters of intent on Wednesday afternoon. Macomb's Brett Taylor (left, Western Illinois) and Nick Severs (right, Iowa State) both signed their national letters of intent on Wednesday afternoon.

MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- It's the biggest decision for high school football players and Wednesday was one of the biggest days at Macomb High School in the history of the football program.

Not just one, but two Bombers pledged the NCAA Division I ranks.

Offensive lineman Nick Severs chose to go north and signed his national letter of intent with Iowa State while linebacker Brett Taylor is staying in his backyard after picking Western Illinois.

For Severs, he made up his mind several months ago and says the Cyclone environment made his choice a rather easy one.

"Out of all of my visits there's no other place that made me feel at home. The players and coaches are so trustworthy, they really laid it out there for you and let you know what it was really going to be like," Severs told WGEM Sports. 

"I hung out with the players for two days and it was like I'd known them for two years. Every year they get better and we've got quite a recruiting class coming in and it's just a great program to be a part of. It's a lot like here, blue collar team, and just bring the lunch pail ready to work every day."

As for Taylor, he's had his eyes on the Leathernecks for a long time.

In fact Taylor says he's been attending games at Hanson Field for as long as he can remember and always had a strong desire to play there on Saturday's in the fall.

"I felt most comfortable with the players and I already knew all of the facilities. I just feel really comfortable here and I think Western's going to be a very good football team in the future," Taylor explained. 

"Definitely the speed of the game will be the biggest adjustment for me and there's more passing, and you can't predict the plays as much. It's always been a dream to be a Division I athlete, and now that I can be, it just feels great."

Macomb head coach Kelly Sears says both players deserve everything they get because of their work ethic. Sears says nothing was ever handed to either player.


PALMYRA, Mo. (WGEM) -- Palmyra's Bobby Gruenloh had several Division I options but in the end a Division II national power will be his next stop.

The All-State defensive lineman Bobby Gruenloh signed his national letter of intent with Northwest Missouri State on Wednesday morning while turning down similar offers from Illinois State and SEMO.

Many think Gruenloh's best playing days are on the horizon and he already knows the challenge that awaits him.

"I feel like I've got a lot of room to grow and a lot of room to improve. (The coaches) want me to weight 270 (lbs.) by the end of my freshman year and I weigh 225 right now, so they obviously see where I can grow a lot," he indicated. 

"(Northwest) won a national championship in 2009 and I feel like that means a lot to me. I thought the best chances of winning a national championship was going there. They've had awesome kids go through that program and I feel like if I just listen to what they (say) I should be good."

Gruenloh says he's looking forward to proving his worth in Maryville starting this fall.


QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- A pair from the Quincy High football program made their college decisions as well. Defensive back Ethan Rockhold was one of 29 players to sign with Quincy University and lineman Clay Finklea is taking his abilities to NAIA Taylor University.

Both say they're eager to take what they learned under Rick Little's leadership to the next level.

"I grew up in (Quincy) seeing the games and I know they haven't had a tradition but neither did we (at QHS), and we changed that over the years," Rockhold said. "I think we can make an impact the next few years at QU."

Rockhold joins a Hawks class that includes Central/Southeastern's Dalton Heubner and Drew Miller as well as Pittsfield/Griggsville-Perry product Dillon Butler (McKendree transfer).

According to Finklea, "(Taylor) had a real good team atmosphere and they all really cared about each other, and the coaching staff cared about the players.

You could just tell that everyone enjoyed being there and enjoyed playing there along with their studies of the Christian faith. I'm able to further my faith in that way, too."

Rockhold and Finklea played major roles in the turn around of the Blue Devil program and say they'll work even harder this summer to prepare for their freshman seasons.

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