Jordan Rowell dusted the competition yet again during a January football recruiting visit to Northern Illinois University.
"There were four or five of us up there and they really wanted to race because they heard I was pretty fast," said the IC Catholic Prep senior running back. "So we just took our shoes off and ran 100 yards. It was a comfortable lead, I would say."
Rowell led 14-0 Class 3A champion IC Catholic to a lot of comfortable leads. The captain of the Daily Herald DuPage County All-Area Football Team ran for 2,297 yards and 37 touchdowns this season, among 6,032 yards rushing in four years as a Knight to rank eighth in Illinois High School Association history, His 75 touchdown runs are tied for 13th.
At 7:15 a.m. Wednesday in IC Catholic's cafeteria, Rowell will be joined by his mother, LaTania Powell, stepfather, Deon Powell, and grandfather Ray Magee to sign his National Letter of Intent to accept a full scholarship to attend and play football at NIU.
"I'm actually very excited to go to Northern," said Rowell, who had 15 games of at least 206 yards rushing at IC, including this year's 3A title-game record 272 yards in the Knights' 43-0 win over Carlinville.
"There's no doubt in my mind they will help me to be successful, and they will push me in the right direction in getting me to the next level beyond college," said Rowell, alluding to both his goal of the NFL and his intended major of psychology.
Rowell's signing with the Huskies ends a long and winding road. At one point he had heavy interest from Indiana and held offers from NIU, Purdue, Wyoming, Ball State, Miami (Ohio) and Iowa, which offered him in the spring of 2015 after Rowell ran for 1,522 yards as a sophomore.
He committed to NIU in June 2016 but decommitted in late September after running 4 times for 219 yards with touchdowns of 99 and 97 yards in a 49-3 win over St. Edward. Rowell felt reopening his recruiting could "give teammates opportunities," he said in November.
In the end Rowell chose between NIU and Western Kentucky. Among the original offers, after his season ended Rowell contacted only Wyoming. A coaching change at Indiana ended that prospect.
"A lot of friends and family thought I should go to a bigger school just because it was a bigger school, but that wasn't me," he said.
NIU preseason camp and summer classes begin in June, but first Rowell will focus on track and field. A sprinter, he is IC Catholic's most decorated performer with nine all-state finishes.
"My goals are to come in first in all my events," he said. "You've got to aim high."