Are you jonesin’ to experience college football live? Well, you don’t have to take a road trip to Champaign, Evanston or South Bend in order to do so. There’s plenty of high-quality Division III football being played on Saturdays right in DuPage County.
and are home to two of the top Division III programs in the nation. The Cardinals are ranked 11th in this week’s American Football Coaches Association (AFCN) poll, and the Thunder is 19th. The Cardinals, Thunder and were 3-1 going into action over the weekend, while was 2-2.
Several players who’ve starred at area high schools in recent years have taken their games to each of these aforementioned four-year schools. Here’s an update on those players now wearing BU, Elmhurst, Wheaton and North Central uniforms who are residents of either Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Lisle, Oak Brook, Warrenville, Wheaton or Winfield:
John Borsellino, running back (Oak Brook)—An all-state pick his senior year at Montini, Borsellino was a first-team all-Northern Athletics Conference selection his first two seasons with the Eagles. Borsellino, a junior, transferred to Illinois State following his freshman year, but returned to Benedictine last fall. He amassed over 2,100 all-purpose yards for BU during 2010, including 1,043 rushing. Through the Eagles’ first four games, Borsellino has already racked up 918 all-purpose yards—510 of which are rushing yards—and nine touchdowns. (All-purpose yards include rushing, receiving, punt and kickoff returns.) He was named NAC Player of the Week after gaining 194 yards and scoring three touchdowns against Eureka to open the season.
Zach Shuta, defensive lineman (Lisle)—Shuta also was Borsellino’s teammate at Montini. The duo earned all-conference honors their senior years (2008) when the Broncos advanced to the Class 5A quarterfinals. Shuta, a Lisle resident, has seen action in three of the Eagles’ first four 2011 games, including a start against Kalamazoo in Week 3.
Will Caspers, tight end (Glenbard West)—Caspers is in his freshman year with the Bluejays. The captain of Glenbard West’s 2010 playoff team and a member of the Hilltoppers’ 2009 Class 7A state runner-up squad, Caspers is the older brother of Glenbard West senior standout Johnny Caspers. Will caught a pass during the Bluejays’ 64-14 victory over Olivet in Week 2.
Mark Evangelista, cornerback (Wheaton North)—A sophomore, Evangelista has seen action in each of the team’s first four games (he’s also been a spot starter for the Bluejays). Evangelista’s best game so far was a three solo tackle performance vs. Olivet.
Joe Furco, quarterback (Wheaton Warrenville South)—The junior is behind center in a high-powered Bluejay offense that’s been averaging just over 42 points per game. He was named CCIW offensive Player of the Week for his 358-yard, four-touchdown pass performance in the season-opener vs. Loras. Furco added another 300-plus yard passing game in the Bluejays’ loss to the University of Chicago Sept. 17. Through Elmhurst’s first four games, Furco has thrown for over 900 yards and 11 TDs.
Corey Thonn, wide receiver (Wheaton North)—Thonn, a junior, does a little bit of everything for the Bluejays. He’s in Elmhurst’s rotation at wideout, and he also returns kickoffs and punts. Thonn caught touchdown passes from Furco in the University of Chicago and Olivet contests, and had 141 yards worth of returns against UC, including one for 59 yards.
Scottie Williams, running back (Downers South)—Williams is picking up where he left off last season. Elmhurst’s all-time single season rushing record holder (1,220 yards in 2010) earned CCIW offensive Player of the Week honors for his 235-yard, three touchdown game in Week 4 against North Park. The 2010 all-CCIW first team selection is the older brother of Downers South star tailback Josh Williams.
North Central College
Jonathan Adkins, defensive back (Glenbard West)—Adkins is a sophomore with the Cardinals who played on the JV squad in 2010.
Caleb Bednarz, defensive back (Wheaton Warrenville South)—Bednarz, a star on last fall’s WWS Class 7A state championship squad, has already made noteworthy contributions for the Cardinals in his first collegiate season. Bednarz was named CCIW special teams Player of the Week for Sept. 17 after returning a punt 79 yards for a touchdown in the squad’s whopping 86-14 triumph over Olivet.
John Cannova, offensive lineman (Benet)—A transfer from Butler University, Cannova is in his first year with the Cardinals. He’s already seen time as a starter at left guard.
Shane Dierking, defensive back (Wheaton Warrenville South)—Dierking is the son of former NFL player Scott Dierking and brother of Dan, who tried out for the Chicago Bears in August. Shane is the Cardinals’ starting strong safety now in his sophomore year. He saw action last year at cornerback and on special teams. So far this season (through four games), Dierking has recorded nine solo tackles and one fumble recovery.
Valenta Garza, defensive end (Wheaton North)—The senior joined Bednarz as a Player of the Week (defense) Sept. 17 when he registered two sacks, a forced fumble and four tackles in the lopsided triumph over Olivet. Through four games, Garza is the team’s co-leader in sacks and tackles-for-loss. Garza had 11.5 sacks in 2010, which ranked him first in the conference and 17th nationally among Division III players. He was a first-team all-CCIW member and third-team all-American pick that year.
Steven Kmiotek, defensive back (Wheaton Warrenville South)—Kmiotek is back with the team after missing the entire 2010 campaign with an injury.
Josh McLeod, defensive back (Lisle Senior High School)—McLeod is now in his third season as the Cardinals’ starting free safety. He leads the team in interceptions (two) and is second on the club with 20 tackles (including 14 solos) through four games. McLeod notched his first pick of 2011 and added seven solos in the Cardinals’ season-opener at the University of Redlands (Calif.). Last season, he tied a North Central single-season record with eight interceptions. That total was 18th best nationally.
Michael Monterrubio, linebacker (Wheaton Warrenville South)—Another mainstay on last year’s WWS Class 7A title team, Monterrubio has seen action in one of the Cardinals’ first four 2011 games. But he made that appearance count with five solos and one assist vs. Bethel (Tenn.) College in Week 2.
Tyler Benware, defensive back (Glenbard South)—Benware, a two-year varsity starter at Glenbard South who also was an all-state performer in track and field, is in his freshman season at Wheaton.
Adam Bruere, fullback (Glenbard West)—The sophomore appeared in two games for the Thunder in 2010, but has yet to see action so far this season. Bruere was one of the top offensive players for Glenbard West during the 2009 season when it finished runner-up in Class 7A.
Reece Butler, quarterback (Wheaton North)—Butler, who led the Falcons to two straight postseason appearances, is a backup quarterback for the Thunder. .
Sam Cote, punter-kicker (Wheaton)—A freshman who prepped at Wheaton Academy, the Wheaton resident is the Thunder’s punter this season. He’s averaging close to 34 yards per punt so far.
Pat Dansdill, inside linebacker (Wheaton Warrenville South)—An all-state selection at WWS and the winner of the Red Grange Award his senior year, Dansdill is a regular in the Thunder’s linebacker rotation. He appeared in each of Wheaton’s first four 2011 contests, recording six solo tackles.
Dan DeMerchant, kicker (Wheaton North)—DeMerchant, a former star kicker with the Falcons, has seen limited action for the Thunder since joining the team in 2008. The senior converted an extra-point attempt earlier this season.
Lucas Devick, wide receiver (Wheaton Warrenville South)—Devick started on the Tigers’ Class 7A state championship team and is on the Thunder’s 2011 roster.
Mark Hiben, wide receiver (Glenbard West)—Owner of the all-time Illinois high school record for most reception yards in a single game, Hiben has seen action at wideout for the Thunder in his freshman year. .
Peter Jarrett, tailback (Wheaton Warrenville South)—Appearing in three of the Thunder’s first four games of 2011, Jarrett has been a workhorse so far. He leads the team in carries—double the number of his nearest teammate—and average yards rushing per game (66.0). Last season, he compiled 613 all-purpose yards, including 505 rushing.
Mark Schmitt, safety (Wheaton)—Schmitt, a member of the St. Francis Class 5A state championship football team, transferred from the University of Iowa this year (he didn’t play football at Iowa).
Justin Swider, tailback (Wheaton North)—Swider didn’t see much playing time last year, but he’s become one of the Thunder’s go-to running backs this season. Swider’s Week 3 totals—128 yards rushing, two touchdowns and two kickoff returns for 86 yards—earned him CCIW Player of the Week honors. Thus far, the sophomore leads the team in yards rushing and has averaged almost nine yards per carry through four games.
Hunter Thorson, tight end and Luke Thorson, wide receiver (Wheaton)—Hunter, Luke’s older brother, was a three-sport athlete at Wheaton North and part of the Falcons’ 2009 Class 7A state quarterfinalist team. Luke, a two-way starter at Wheaton Academy, also was a starting forward for the WA basketball team. Both are Wheaton residents.
Sam Weatherred, defensive tackle (Wheaton North)—Weatherred was a two-year varsity starter at Wheaton North and played for the Falcons’ 2009 playoff-qualifying team. He’s played in one game so far, and had two tackles-for-loss.