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Article updated: 3/27/2013 7:21 PM
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Thompson eager to commit to OSU
 

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Thompson eager to commit to OSU
 

Maybe it was the Woody Hayes paraphernalia that got him.

Or the history of success, the facilities, the academics, the family atmosphere of coaches' wives joining their husbands right there at the training table, or simply the cachet of being a Buckeye.

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Call it all of the above that nearly had Montini's Dylan Thompson blurting his verbal commitment to Ohio State University as soon as he walked through the door on Saturday.

"He wanted to immediately," said Dylan's mother, Michelle, "but we made him wait."

The 6-foot-6, 280-pound defensive end, a junior with a season left for the four-time defending Class 5A champion Broncos, bit his lip for a couple hours until spring practice and meeting sessions were over early afternoon. Then Thompson officially became Montini's second Ohio State recruit after Garrett Goebel in 2008. He follows 2012 Glenbard West graduate Tommy Schutt, who was the very first to commit in the Urban Meyer era.

"They love my toughness, my ability to go sideline to sideline and to get to the quarterback," Thompson said. "They love my pass rush, being relentless going to the quarterback."

He's a physical specimen whose current weight room numbers include a 405-pound bench press, a squat and dead lift both of 585 and a 345-pound power clean. The 40-yard dash time he sent to his recruiter, defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, was 4.8 seconds. In addition to continuous personal training sessions this spring, Thompson is working on improving his 32-inch vertical leap by playing volleyball for Montini.

A longtime Addison resident who made 72 solo tackles with 20 assisted tackles and 20 tackles for loss at left defensive end last season, Thompson got 13 scholarship offers, including ones from Tennessee, Syracuse, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri and Vanderbilt. He'd planned on making "a bunch of visits" this summer, but when Ohio State came through he needed to make only one.

"As soon as he got that offer from Ohio State he was real excited," said Montini defensive coordinator Mike Bukovsky.

"It's outstanding," Michelle Thompson said. "It's closer to home than many of the others, and he's going to fit in well because they're a very high-energy program and that's what he likes."

Dylan Thompson is so enthused about this whole situation that he predicts Ohio State will win the 2013 national championship. He can enjoy it all with the recruiting grind behind him.

"I'm going to finish up my senior season and live it to the fullest," he said.

Emailing it in

For a full month now Wheaton Warrenville South boys volleyball coach Bill Schreier has been tearing up the information superhighway. He's been communicating with other coaches in preparation for the 11th annual Tiger Classic. The 24-team volleyball tournament started Wednesday and pool play continues Thursday with finals Saturday.

"This may be the toughest field yet," Schreier noted.

The Tigers' seven-time state champion coach has drawn seven of the eight 2012 state quarterfinalists, including the top four teams: 36-4 Minooka, 34-7 Barrington, 38-4 Glenbrook North and Schreier's own 42-0 champion Tigers, ESPN's national champions.

Aside from WW South, local teams include 2012 Elite Eight squad Lake Park, 29-6 Waubonsie Valley, No. 1 pool seed Naperville North, 25-11 Downers Grove South, 23-10 Neuqua Valley and Naperville Central.

The field includes teams that have combined for 50 top-four state finishes and another, Hilliard Darby, that Schreier said is projected to win this year's title in Ohio after going 26-4 last season. Seventeen state championships are represented, 13 runners-up.

"This is what I envisioned years ago, to have one of the best tourneys in the nation, and I think we are pretty close," Schreier wrote to the Daily Herald toward the end of his consistent stream of emails.

Super sophs

This is a landmark year for the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation.

Many in the group of sophomore student-athletes selected by their schools for scholarships to attend leadership training this summer were born in 1996, the same year Ken Braid and Colleen Malany Braid first hosted students at their 160-acre JKB Ranch in Villa Grove, Colo.

As we've written over the years, Ken and Colleen formed the JKB Foundation in 1994 only three weeks after their 16-year-old son, Kyle, took his own life, unbalanced after secretly using steroids on the advice of a football coach.

Since 1996 about 3,000 high school students have spent a week in JKB leadership training in the great outdoors. After their 35 hours of class time and activities they return to school as juniors, committing the next two years to staying free from drugs and alcohol, and better informed about making wise, safe decisions when adversity strikes.

Acts by JKB "graduates" have run the community service gamut from initiating projects to donate blankets to hospitalized children to stepping in when fellow students have contemplated suicide.

This year's JKB scholars come from 24 schools in Chicago's metropolitan area, 11 from DuPage County. New to the program this year is Lake Park, which will send Antonio Shenault, Jamie Palmer, Marianna Colucci and Maria Zepeda.

Other schools in alphabetical order, and their recipients of J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation Scholarships:

Downers Grove North: Andy Osterling, Ben Magro, Kiley Pooler, Rachel Krusenoski.

Downers Grove South: Cassie Lueken, Annie Rock, Tommy Matysik, Amanda Thate, Jordan Skach, Peter Funk.

Glenbard West: Will Dodillet, Declan Ryan, Courtney Dugan, Claire Graham.

Hinsdale Central: Emma Day, Molly Gates, Jack Clark, Jordan Bradshaw.

Hinsdale South: Brett Kvasnicka, Mary Kate Nowak, Alexis Ardovitch, Sarah Leganski, Nick Kotsiantos.

Naperville Central: Grace Watson, Mark Nowak, Austin Werner, Hailey McHugh, Danny Rodgers, Justin Wegner, Mackenzie Sisko, Amy Miller.

Naperville North: Elly DeTurris, Jenny Smith, Griffin Brown, Brandon Hipp, Chris Gajcak, Abbie Boswell.

Wheaton Academy: Josh Ruggles, Reid Culberson, Annika Pearson, Molly Thorson.

Wheaton Warrenville South: Alex Enright, Olivia Linebarger, Anthony Dohse, Eric Giltz.

York: Katie Riek, Matt Hogan, Frank Voris, Annie Viola.

Welcome to the club.

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1

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