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Aurora Christian trio sticks with Northern Illinois football

AurorChristian running back Joel Bouagnis one three players from state champiEagles sign National Letter Intent play football for Northern Illinois.

Aurora Christian running back Joel Bouagnon is one of three players from the state champion Eagles to sign a National Letter of Intent to play football for Northern Illinois. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

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Area athletes signing national letters of intent or committing to various schools for next year:

Rachel Armand (Waubonsie Valley) — Louisville (soccer)

Chad Beebe (Aurora Christian) — Northern Illinois (football

Mackenzie Bollinger (Yorkville) — Indiana (track & field)

Joel Bouagnon (Aurora Christian) — Northern Illinois (football)

Robbie Bowman (Batavia) — Concordia St. Paul (football)

Jared Brownridge (Waubonsie Valley) — Santa Clara (basketball)

Kurtis Brummersted (Yorkville) — Eastern Illinois (football)

Chad Burdo (Oswego) — Butler (football)

Cole Campbell (Sandwich) — Aurora University (football)

Alyssa Coletto (Metea Valley) — St. Cloud, Minn. (softball)

Cody Davis (Sandwich) — Eureka College (football)

Karla Dijon (Waubonsie Valley) — Notre Dame College (soccer)

Kiley Dunning (Metea Valley) — IUPU-Ft. Wayne (soccer)

Artan Emini (Yorkville) — Quincy (soccer)

Alyssa Fox (Metea Valley) — IUPU-Indianapolis (soccer)

Troy Fumagalli (Waubonsie Valley) — Wisconsin (football)

Megan Geldernick (Metea Valley) — Ohio State (soccer)

Austin Guido (Waubonsie Valley) — Western Michigan (football)

Breon Hoosier (Metea Valley) — Concordia St. Paul (football)

Adam Hunger (Batavia) — Concordia St. Paul (football)

Marquise Jenkins (Batavia) — Winona State (football)

Spencer Keene (Sandwich) — Eureka College (football)

Josh Kok (Aurora Christian) — Trinity International (football)

Jack Kwiatkowski (Oswego) — Truman State (football)

Austin Lacke (Waubonsie Valley) — Dayton (football)

Logan Lee (Sandwich) — Aurora University (football)

Amanda Lulek, (Geneva) — Iowa (soccer)

John Malatia (Oswego) — Ripon (football)

Brandon Mayes (Aurora Christian) — Northern Illinois (football)

Seth McDonald (Sandwich) — Eastern Illinois (football)

Timmy Miller (Waubonsie Valley) — Bellarmine (soccer)

Amanda Minahan (Waubonsie Valley) — South Alabama (soccer)

Anthony Oros (West Aurora) — Central Iowa (football)

Dakota Padilla (Sandwich) — Eureka College (football)

Anna Petersen (Metea Valley) — Northwestern (softball)

Mickeel Stewart (Oswego) — Bemidji State (football)

Zach Strittmatter (Batavia) — Washington of St. Louis (football)

Zach Theis (Kaneland) — Carroll (football)

Brett Wainwright (Oswego) — St. Cloud, Minn. (football)

Bryan Watkins (West Aurora) — Quincy (football)

Cameron Wilcox, (Metea Valley) — Northwest Missouri State (football)

Kendall Wilde (Waubonsie Valley) — Illinois-Chicago (soccer)

Matt Williams (West Aurora) — Robert Morris (football)

Cody Witkowski (Batavia) — Northern Illinois (soccer)

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Updated: March 8, 2013 7:22AM

While last December’s coaching change gave them pause, the “Northern Illinois Three” from Aurora Christian were soon reassured and they stuck with their commitments.

Running back Joel Bouagnon, safety Brandon Mayes and wide receiver Chad Beebe followed through bright and early Wednesday morning, signing their National Letters of Intent and faxing them to new coach Rod Carey at the Yordon Center at Huskie Stadium. They later re-enacted the signings before family and friends during photo opportunities at the school.

“When I verbally committed in June I knew there was a chance coach (Dave) Doeren could leave, especially if they won another MAC Championship,” said Chad Beebe of the coach’s decision to take the job at North Carolina State.

“The only doubt I had was if the scholarship offer would still stand,” said Mayes.

And like his teammates, Bouagnon was relieved when the NIU administration decided to hire Carey, the team’s offensive coordinator, as Doeren’s successor.

“We got a coach who was already in the program,” said Bouagnon. “It was not like a brand new coach.”

The ACS players were among 10 from Illinois in the Huskies’ 24-man recruiting class. All hope to play next year.

“We tell them, ‘You’ve got to expect to play, train to play and we’ll adjust from there,” said Carey.

“(The 6-foot-2, 225) Bouagnon is out of the mold of a big, downhill running back. Beebe is a really good route runner. You might get the impression he doesn’t have speed but the kid’s really fast. And Mayes showed a lot of versatility on defense in high school and really likes contact.”

The coach noted that he made no mention during his press conference of Beebe being the son of a former NFL player.

“That’s because Chad stands on his own two feet,” said Carey.

The Eagles-turned-Huskies plan to room together next fall and headline The Beacon-News circulation area’s list of signees in a number of sports. Reigning Beacon-News Player of the Year, running back Austin Guido, could see plenty of the trio.

The Waubonsie Valley career rushing leader signed with Northern’s MAC West rival Western Michigan and its new coach, former Kaneland and Huskie standout, P.J. Fleck.

“Austin Guido is the definition of hard-nosed,” said Broncos assistant coach Charles Huff. “He has good size, good speed and runs downhill.”

Guido’s teammate, tight end Troy Fumagalli, also had concerns about a coaching change. He, too, stayed with his original commitment and signed with Wisconsin, despite Bret Bielema’s departure for Arkansas.

Yorkville lineman Kurtis Brummersted signed for a partial scholarship at Eastern Illinois, where Sandwich’s Seth McDonald will enroll as a preferred walk-on. Waubonsie Valley linebacker Austin Lacke chose Dayton, and Oswego defensive lineman/tight end Chad Burdo selected Butler after missing much of the season after suffering a knee injury requiring surgery.

A number of area football players earned scholarships to Division II programs, including Oswego WR Jack Kwiatkowski (Truman State), DB-WR Brett Wainwright (St. Cloud), and RB Mickeel Stewart (Bemidji State); Metea Valley RB Cameron Wilcox (Northwest Missouri State) and DB Breon Hoosier (Concordia St. Paul); as well as Batavia OL Adam Hunger (Concordia St. Paul), DB Robbie Bowman (Concordia St. Paul) and DL Marquise Jenkins (Winona State).

West Aurora linebacker Matt Williams was considering Concordia St. Paul but decided on Robert Morris in Chicago, an NAIA school whose staff considers him one of its top five recruits, said West coach Nate Eimer.

Aurora Christian DL Josh Kok also considered Truman State but chose Trinity International in Deerfield after visiting that NAIA school last weekend.

“It’s faith-based and I leaned toward a program that had faith first and football second,” said Kok.

Many area players have decided on Division III schools, which don’t offer athletics scholarships and, technically, don’t have a signing date.

Batavia all-area wide receiver Zach Strittmatter heads that list. He had several options to play at a higher level but chose Washington University in St. Louis for a combination of reasons.

“It has a perfect mix of academics and football and the coach has values that correspond with mine,” he said, “God, family, academics, football. … Football will end for me in four to five years. Hopefully the college I choose will prepare me for the next 40 to 50 years.”

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