Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 4/11/2017 8:25 PM

Lakes' Selig selects football at Western Michigan -- as a starting point

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A three-sport varsity athlete as a Lakes sophomore, Ryan Selig isn't ready to be a one-sport athlete at the NCAA Division-I level.

Not just yet.

So if Western Michigan University's baseball coaches suddenly fall in love with the strapping, speedy Selig, who bats and throws left-handed, he might show them some love back.

"I haven't gotten offered by them," Selig said. "But the football coaches seem pretty happy if I want to play both (sports)."

First things first for the junior outfielder/first baseman. Selig gave a verbal commitment to Tim Lester, WMU's recently named football head coach, last week. An all-conference wide receiver for Lakes last fall, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Selig was recruited by the Broncos as an outside linebacker.

Illinois State also offered him a football scholarship. Southern Illinois, Western Illinois and Wright State offered him in baseball.

"There's no chance of me leaving Western Michigan to go play baseball somewhere else," Selig said. "I'm going to play football there. If the opportunity to play both is there at one point, then I want to play both."

Don't think he can't handle it.

As a sophomore, Selig played varsity football, basketball and baseball. He received Game Day invitations for football, and interest in him only increased as he showed what he can do on the field. He not only switched from running back to wide receiver his junior year, but he also long-snapped.

"The thing about Ryan is, he can play pretty much any position on the football field," Lakes coach Luke Mertens said. "That's one of his big appeals to a college coach. There's so much you can do with his combination of size, speed and physicality."

Selig's skill set sounds familiar. Former Lakes multisport star T.J. Edwards originally committed to Western Michigan before signing with Wisconsin, where last fall the sophomore was one of the top tacklers in the Big Ten. Coincidentally, Edwards' fourth-quarter interception helped Wisconsin turn back Western Michigan 24-16 in the Cotton Bowl.

Western Michigan offered Selig in February. Mertens said Lester, a Wheaton Warrenville South graduate and former quarterback at WMU, has been recruiting Lakes since the school opened more than a decade ago. Jake Moreland, who's on Lester's staff, was at Air Force and recruited former Lakes defensive star AJ Goggin.

"They knew Coach Mertens and talked to him, and they offered me over the phone," Selig said of Western Michigan. "They just believed in me before even seeing me in person."

Selig visited WMU's campus in Kalamazoo a couple of weeks ago. Before accepting the head job at Minnesota, P.J. Fleck coached Western Michigan to victory in the Mid-American Conference championship game. The Broncos completed the 2016 regular season ranked 12th in the AP poll, 14th in the coaches poll and 15th in the College Football Playoff rankings.

"The first thing I thought when I got on the campus was that I could see myself here if I wasn't an athlete,"Selig said. "I think that's really big. Obviously they're on the come-up. I think I'll have an opportunity to play maybe early, so I think it's a good fit."

There's a lot to like about Selig as an athlete.

"(Western Michigan) said they notice that when I see a hole, I get after it," Selig said. "They think I'll be able to make the right read (on a block) and run through a ball carrier."

As he's shown in basketball and baseball, his hand-eye coordination is exceptional. He had 43 receptions for the varsity last fall and scored 9 touchdowns (6 receiving, 3 rushing).

"Especially for a guy his size, he has really great hands," Mertens said.

Western Michigan has its hands on another Lakes football player, and this one insists he isn't going anywhere.

"Hundred percent," Selig said of his commitment to WMU. "That's where I'm going."

Did you hear that, Broncos baseball?

• Follow Joe on Twitter: @JoeAguilar64

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