Beth Long’s football recruiting notebook

Huntley's Eric Mooney gives Elgin's Trae Sallis a straight-arm as he heads upfield on a run. | Jon Langham for the Sun-Times.

Huntley quarterback Eric Mooney helped the Red Raiders to the Class 8A state quarterfinals last season. He’s 6-1, 185-pounds and has seen recruiting pick up in the past several months.

“It’s going really well,” Mooney said. “I’m receiving a lot of interest. As of right now I have offers from Wofford, South Dakota, North Dakota, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois and Butler.”

Mooney compiled a 62.4% completion percentage during the regular season along with 34 total touchdowns. He’s been an all-conference performer twice.

“The hardest part about the recruiting process is getting your name out there as a serious prospect,” Mooney said. “Coaches tend to look at kids who have already received offers. So I think the biggest difference was getting my first offer. After that coaches have been evaluating me purely based off my talent.”

“That being said , I continued to work hard to get bigger stronger and faster. I never really worried about getting an offer, for me it’s about playing the game and continuing to get better.”

Schools took notice and that paid off with his first offer in the spring.

“It was a great feeling,” Mooney said. “It’s almost indescribable. I’ve never played football just to get offers but it was a great feeling to know that all the hard work Ive put in over the years was finally paying off.”

And as for next steps, the junior signal caller has them planned out.

“Schools like Penn State and Syracuse have showed major interest in me so I plan on going to the NIU camp and Elmhurst College camp,” Mooney said. “Both Syracuse and Penn State are going to be there. I also plan on visiting the colleges that have offered me and going to North Dakota State camp.”

Calcagno gaining interest

Naperville North receiver and all-around athlete Nick Calcagno is turning heads on the recruiting trail this offseason.

“Recruiting has definitely picked up a decent amount this spring and we’ve had a ton of coaches in school to watch me lift and run routes,” Calcagno said. So now I’m just working out and putting on a little more size plus trying to finalize my camp schedule.”

At 6-3, 215-pounds the junior is a big-bodied prospect who can play plenty of different positions on the field, and that is what coaches like about him the most.

“Coaches say they like my size even though I’m a wide receiver I’m being recruited as an outside linebacker and h-back by a lot of the schools,” Calcagno said. “I’m about 215 pounds now but when schools saw me at the end of the season I was 190 pounds so schools seem more interested now that I’ve gotten bigger.”

Calcagno has offers from Southern Illinois, Indiana State and Southeastern Missouri.

“Besides the schools that have offered me the schools that have showed the most interest are Illinois State, North Dakota State, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Illinois, Northern Illinois and Northern Iowa,” Calcagno said.

The first offer was one that changed the game for Calcagno.

“Since it was super unexpected it was an amazing feeling, just getting my first offer under my belt,” Calcagno said. “My family was super excited as well. My brother plays defensive end at Miami (Ohio) so he was pumped as well because he didn’t have any ofers going into his senior year and he ended with fifteen, so I’m already one step ahead of where he was,” Calcagno said.

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