Crystal Lake South coach Rob Fontana met with coaches from 110 different colleges in the five months after last season ended. Offensive lineman Trevor Keegan was the topic of conversation.
Keegan has a towering 6-6, 300-pound frame. He’s tremendously strong and agile for his size, which is why he’s the top prospect in the state with offers from nearly every major college football program.
“I never thought I’d play Division I football,” Keegan said. “Once I got my offer from Alabama that’s when it hit me.”
Keegan was offered by Alabama in March. It came as a surprise. Everyone knew except him. Alabama offensive line coach Brent Key called Fontana on March 13 and delivered the news.
It was the middle of a school day and Fontanta didn’t want to distract Keegan. So he only told Keegan’s mother.
During seventh period Keegan received a text from Key: “call me.”
“I called him and he said ‘we want you to play for us’,” Keegan said. “I just thought wow, this is the real deal. As soon as we hung up I texted my mom and asked her if she heard what happened and she said ‘I knew the whole time’.”
It’s hard to believe that it took Keegan up until the end of his junior year to believe he was capable of playing major college football, but that humble approach is what his coaches say has made him a success.
“He’s never satisfied,” said Fontana. “After he received his first offer from Northwestern as a freshman he could have thought he don’t need to work anymore. He kept working and became the No. 1 recruit in the state.”
The Fox Valley area has been a hotbed for offensive linemen recently, producing Bryan Bulaga (Iowa), Jake Bernstein (Vanderbilt) and Fahn Cooper (Ole Miss) among others.
“If I knew what it was I’d put it in everyone’s water,” Fontana said. “We need more kids like this.”
Keegan has modeled himself after players like Bulaga, Bernstein and Cooper. Bernstein has become a coach, mentor and guide in this last year of Keegan’s recruiting process.
The relationship began in 2017 when Bernstein moved back to the area after a short stint in the NFL. He started helping out the Crystal Lake South football program and became a sounding board for Keegan.
“I saw a lot of myself in him,” said Bernstein. “The things that I didn’t do well I wanted to let him know about and tell him there’s a better way to do it.”
Keegan recently narrowed down his list of schools to six: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. He plans to announce his commitment after the season, during the early signing period.
“I was the most comfortable [with those schools],” Keegan said. “It really felt like they could make me into the football player I’ve always wanted to be.”
Sun-Times high school football stories:
Watch Sun-Times Game Week every Monday at 6:30 p.m.
Want the latest info and analysis on high school football? Our preps team of Michael O’Brien, Beth Long and Annie Costabile will share all the latest news, insights and Super 25 football rankings in a new livestream show called “Sun-Times Game Week.” You can watch it LIVE every Monday night at 6:30 p.m. right here on our high school sports Facebook page. You can also ask questions using the hashtag #SunTimesGameWeek