Beth Long’s football recruiting notebook

Nazareth's Michael Love spins out of a tackle. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
Nazareth's Michael Love spins out of a tackle. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Nazareth junior Michael Love is one of the most athletic prospects in the area and can make plays all over the field. He’s spending the spring playing seven-on-seven ball with the Chicago-based Midwest Boom.

‘‘I’m looking forward to playing against the best competition in the nation,’’ said Love, a running back. ‘‘My goals are to become a better player, perfect my craft and win a national championship.’’

Love is getting recruiting attention and wants to visit Northern Illinois, Toledo, Western Illinois, Indiana State and Illinois.

‘‘Recruiting is moving somewhat slow, but it’s starting to pick up,’’ Love said. ‘‘Anyone who takes a gamble, I would be very grateful. I feel like some schools are close to offering [a scholarship].’’

Love knows exactly what he will be looking for when he visits schools.

‘‘I look for a nice campus, nice football facilities and somewhere I can see myself being comfortable for the next four years,’’ he said.

Linemen making moves

The junior class is loaded with talented offensive linemen, including Mount Carmel’s Marcelo Mendiola.

The 6-5, 285-pound Mendiola recently received his first scholarship offer — from South Dakota — and also has been in contact with Iowa, Illinois State, Western Michigan, Indiana State, Penn State and Kent State.

He said the offer from South Dakota was a surprise.

‘‘It was totally unexpected; I was in disbelief,’’ Mendiola said. ‘‘It felt like Christmas morning, opening presents.’’

His family was equally excited.

‘‘My family was very sentimental because we’ve all made sacrifices to get to this point,’’ Mendiola said. ‘‘We’ve put in hard work day in and day out.’’
Another lineman to keep an eye on is Nazareth junior Matt Keeler, a 6-6, 290-pounder who is getting plenty of interest and just received his first scholarship offer from Howard. It won’t be his last.

‘‘I’ve been to Ball State, Miami, Eastern Michigan and Kent State, and next week I’m going to Central Michigan for their junior day,’’ Keeler said. ‘‘Then I’ll be visiting Virginia. I’m really looking forward to that one.’’

Schools have given Keeler a lot of positive feedback.

‘‘They love my length and think I have a high ceiling,’’ Keeler said. ‘‘A lot of schools also love how I pass-block. This offseason, I’m really focused on adding muscle and getting my overall strength up.’’

Baltz rising

Lincoln-Way East junior quarterback Jack Baltz is a rising star on the recruiting scene. At 6-5 and 185 pounds, he has the size and athleticism that intrigues colleges.

‘‘Everything is going great, and [recruiting] has really picked up since the beginning of the year,’’ Baltz said.

Baltz has received interest from Miami of Ohio, the Citadel, North Dakota State, Princeton, Penn, Youngstown State and Illinois State.

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