The state of Illinois is loaded with talent this year, particularly along the offensive line, where there are several major BCS prospects. Although he got a later start than some of his counterparts, Lincoln Way West's Colin McGovern has proven that his name belongs in that good company, as colleges are finding out what his head coach Dave Ernst has known from day one.
"Colin transferred to our school from Lincoln Way Central," Ernst explained, "and he was kind of an unknown because he didn't play varsity at Lincoln Way Central. He got in the first day of summer and he came right in and we had heard he was transferring and everything. We knew he was big, but he showed up and was 6'7, and we watched him form run and knew right away he was special. We put him at left tackle and never looked back."
Although he had a great junior season, McGovern still toiled in anonymity for the most part, until December came and he earned his first offer with Coach Ernst's help.
"It's come in spurts," he said of Colin's recruitment. "Early, he had an offer from Northwestern and some MAC schools said they were going to and then they saw him and said, 'oh God, we'll never get him.' When I got the job in December, I sent out probably 100 films to different people and it hit where he got about three or four offers in one week. I think he got Tennessee, and then again here this week. Well, he got offered on Tuesday by Wisconsin and a couple other schools and then [Wednesday] was Michigan."
There are others still to come, as Ernst and McGovern fielded interest from Michigan State and Notre Dame this week.
"They told him they are going to offer and all they can do is verbally do that right now and then try to get him up there for a visit," Ernst said.
McGovern himself says Notre Dame is waiting on a transcript and Michigan State is waiting until he makes it to campus, which he says he plans to do the first week of March.
It would be easy for this big prospect now with big offers to get a big ego, but Ernst says that is the absolute last thing he has to worry about.
"As far as how he's handled it, he's such a great kid. There hasn't been an ego thing, he hasn't gotten the big head, which is amazing and what it's done is it's caused him to work even harder. It didn't really surprise us as coaches, we could see his athleticism and size, but I think it surprised him, he's so humble of a kid."
Him working even harder to get bigger, stronger, faster and better is a scary thought for opponents considering what he accomplished as a junior.
"He can run. The first play of the season is a great film to see, we run inside zone to the left, the play cuts back to the boundary and he runs the tailback down. I mean, his effort, his athleticism, he's a big kid that can bend his hips and his knees and play low and he has great feet. He moves well from a wide base. He's a very athletic big kid."
Best of all is the humility. Suddenly thrust into a recognizable position, McGovern continues to be the same kid he always has been, even with all the great opportunities that have presented themselves for his future.
"The first two words that come to mind: great kid. He's a good person, helps people in the hallway. The other day he went in to talk to the secretaries in the main office, because all these coaches come in and they didn't know who he was, so he went in to say hi and introduced himself and thanked them for their help. The kids in the locker room love him. There hasn't been any jealousy on the part of the seniors or juniors or anyone. Everyone's happy for him because he's just such a great kid. There's no other way to describe him."
Junior Highlights - OT #60