Football signings — Lemont standouts sign on dotted line
From Submitted Reports February 6, 2013 5:52PM
Updated: February 6, 2013 7:27PM
Three Lemont seniors signed national letters-of-intent Wednesday with the colleges of their choice.
Offensive lineman Tim McAuliffe cast his lot with Bowling Green State, linebacker Connor O’Brien with the University of North Dakota and defensive back Jake Lemming with Saint Xavier.
Ethan Pocic, a Parade All-American who was one of the top offensive line recruits in the country, graduated in December and already has enrolled at Louisana State.
Not surprisingly, Lemont flourished with McAuliffe joining Pocic on the offensive line, averaging 36.6 points per game over 38 contests. The Indians rolled up more than 12,000 total yards in three seasons and more than 8,000 yards rushing. McAuliffe was a three-time all-conference pick and as a senior was tabbed as a Class 6A all-state selection by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, an all-state honoree by the Champaign News-Gazette and a second-team all-state pick by the Chicago Tribune.
On the defensive side of the ball, Lemming and O’Brien helped limit opponents to 11.1 points per game over three seasons. The Indians posted 14 shutouts and allowed fewer than 10 points in half of their 38 games.
Lemming totaled 141 tackles (109 solo) in three seasons, but more impressively, broke up 43 passes, totaled 11 interceptions, blocked four kicks, and had two returns for touchdowns. O’Brien racked up 229 tackles (152 solo) over that time, including 24 for loss. He collected 14 sacks, recovered five fumbles, forced four
fumbles, and broke up 14 passes.
O’Brien had an outstanding season as a senior, leading the team with a career-high 130 tackles (97 solo) and 13 tackles for loss. He also paced the squad with six sacks, tied for the team lead with three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles, and was third on the team with 10 pass breakups. Lemming added 53 tackles (41 solo), broke up a team-high 18 passes, and added two interceptions. He also blocked two punts, and scored on a 72-yard kickoff return against T.F. North.
An honor roll student, McAuliffe will play for head coach Dave Clawson at Bowling Green, a member of the Mid-American Conference. Clawson has guided the Falcons to a 22-28 record and two bowl appearances in four years. In 2012, Bowling Green went 8-5 (6-2 MAC), finished second in the MAC’s East Division and
played in the 2012 Military Bowl.
McAuliffe and Pocic are the latest Lemont offensive linemen to move on to a major college football program. Over the last five years, several Lemont lineman have gone on to play at the D-I level, including Pocic’s older brother Graham Pocic ’08 (Illinois), David Molk ’07 (Michigan) and Trevor Rothstein ’09 (Army). Molk earned the 2011Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center, was cited on several All-America teams and was a seventh-round draft pick by the San Diego Chargers in 2012.
A high honor roll recipient, O’Brien will play for head coach Chris Mussman at North Dakota, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision school and a member of the Big Sky Conference. In five seasons, Mussman has guided his program to a 28-26 record as it transitioned from the NCAA Division II level.
The 2011 Great West Conference Coach of the Year, Mussman led North Dakota to a 5-6 record and a 3-5 league mark in its first season in the Big Sky in 2012. Four of the team’s six losses were to top 25 opponents.
An honor roll recipient, Lemming will become the latest Lemont standout to play for Mike Feminis at Saint Xavier, an NAIA school and a member of the Mid-States Football Association. Feminis has built a powerhouse at Saint Xavier, guiding the Cougars to a 127-43 record and eight NAIA playoff appearances in 14 seasons.
Feminis led the Cougars to a 14-1 record and the NAIA national championship in 2011. Last season, the Cougars were 11-2 and tied for the MSFA Mideast Division crown.
Former Lemont standout Clayton Fejedelem was a second-team All-MSFA performer last season, while Ryan Fejedelem and Danny Lombardo also were part of that conference championship squad.