Another national signing day in the wind, another big recruiting class in the books for Northwest, this one focused on the trenches.
Head coach Adam Dorrel and his coaching staff signed 34 players, including 17 linemen, 11 on the defensive side and six on the offensive side.
“If you’re really good on the offensive and defensive line and you have good quarterback play, you have a chance every year to be special,” Dorrel said. “That’s always been our approach … It certainly helps to have depth at (the defensive line) position.”
The offensive line signees are Jimmy Alloway (O’Fallon), Bryce Denton (St. Joseph), Ryan Huff (Ralston, Neb.), Dylan Jones (Johnston, Iowa), Myles McIntyre (Florrisant) and Noah Taylor (Bouton, Iowa).
On defensive line, Northwest inked Ben Calamari (Barrington, Ill.), Luke Drazic (Omaha, Neb.), Bobby Gruenloh (Palmyra), Jordan Harold (Ferguson, Neb.), Zack Hughes (St. Louis), Keaton Hulett (Creston, Iowa), Jamie Nix (Raytown), Jimmy Sellers (St. Louis), Josh Spiller (Kirkwood) and Tyler Van Dahm (North Riverside, Ill.)
The Bearcats also signed Maryville native Caleb Mather who will contribute to the defensive line.
“He’s been a Bearcat his whole life,” Dorrel said. “His mom and dad, I loved hearing this story when we were recruiting him and I was home visiting him about (how) he cried after one of our National Championship losses as a young guy. I think that’s neat, that was me … Obviously he’s a great gift for us.”
Eight of this season’s recruits came from St. Louis, including four players from Kirwood High School alone.
The four from Kirkwood are defensive back Edward Richey, defensive lineman Josh Spiller and twin brothers linebacker Jarrod Bishop and wide receiver Jordan Bishop.
Dorrel said the Northwest program has upped its recruiting forces in that area.
“We restructured the way we’re recruiting a little bit down there,” Dorrel said. “Before, we only had one full-time coach, and we added another one. It’s just such a big area and it’s growing, and it continues to grow with all the suburbs there. We’ve always done decent there, but we thought, ‘hey, we could do a little bit better if we added another full-time coach there.’ I certainly think it helped get our name out there more.”
To add to the list, Northwest also signed Maryville quarterback Jonathan Baker, who committed Jan. 25.
“I’ve just been so proud of him because where he was as a sophomore to where he finished his high school career, that says a lot about the type of person he is,” Dorrel said. “You take it back to that state championship game; when his team, Maryville High School, needed a play, he made a play for them. That’s hard to quantify in coaching, kids that make plays like that.”