Downers Grove North quarterback Drew Cassens keeps the ball during a game against Addison Trail at home on Sept. 6, 2019.
Downers Grove North quarterback Drew Cassens keeps the ball during a game against Addison Trail at home on Sept. 6, 2019. — Sandy Bressner - sbressner@shawmedia.com

Downers Grove North senior Drew Cassens experienced a wide range of emotions during his recruiting process.

As a two-way starter at quarterback and safety, Cassens showed he is a multi-skilled athlete capable of performing at a high level at demanding positions.

Cassens’ preferred position is quarterback. He capped a solid career by earning West Suburban Silver MVP honors as a senior, running for 1,513 yards and 18 touchdowns to go with 620 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Cassens said he originally was recruited by Northern Illinois as a linebacker, but that changed in the last few weeks.

“The [NIU] coaches texted me on playing quarterback,” Cassens said. “It was definitely a shock at first. They asked me my thoughts on playing quarterback. After hearing them say that to me, it truly meant that they weren’t just looking at me for one spot, but two spots. It made me feel valued. My high school coach followed up with them. They wanted a runner. I started thinking I can truly have a shot.”

That was the final indicator for Cassens. He committed to Northern Illinois on Friday as a preferred walk-on.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Cassens led the Trojans to a memorable 2019 season. Downers North defeated Maine West 35-14 in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.

“I have been talking with their coaches for a couple of months,” Cassens said. “They came on pretty hard. They truly showed they want me on their team and that I can make a difference. They said they will take me as a quarterback first. If it does not fit or work out, I can get a chance to play [on defense].”

Cassens said he also was considering Valparaiso, but was intrigued by the possibility of playing for the Huskies and competing in the Mid-American Conference.

“They’ve had a lot of success, plus people have walked on and earned a scholarship,” he said. “It means a lot to me to [commit]. After my junior season, that’s when I realized this is something I want to do. I knew I had to put in the work. I truly started working out at a high level in the winter of eighth grade [for sports]. All of that work from that time up until now paid off. That’s pretty cool.”

Montini QB Bell commits

Montini senior quarterback Deontay Bell confirmed via social media on Saturday that he would be committing to Nebraska-Kearney. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is a running and passing threat, throwing for 1,417 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns. Bell, the CCL/ESCC Green Offensive Player of the Year, also was named to the IHSFCA Class 5A All-State team.

Recruiting roundup

Hinsdale Central quarterback Michael Brescia had a milestone moment Monday He received his first offer from Bowling Green. ... St. Francis junior quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse received an invite to the Elite 11 Regionals. … Nazareth defensive end Ryan Keeler recently added junior day at Nebraska and Minnesota and is set to visit Michigan State. … Fenwick sophomore quarterback Kaden Cobb made an unofficial visit to Northwestern. Nazareth sophomore wide receiver Tyler Morris was offered by Colorado on Monday.