Oswego East football coach Tyson LeBlanc confidently declared a summer ago that Jared Badie would wind up the highest-recruited kid in program history.
Before Badie ever took a high school snap.
LeBlanc's introduction to Badie, ironically, came on the basketball court, when Badie was an eighth-grader at Bednarcik Junior High.
"I watched a practice, and he was just effortlessly dunking it," LeBlanc said. "You looked at his shoulders and his arm length and think, 'He's not done growing.' I could see he's one of those kids that's a freak athlete for his age group."
Colleges have taken notice.
Badie, a junior outside linebacker who started all 10 games on varsity as a sophomore, has added five scholarship offers since the start of September, giving him seven total. On Saturday Nebraska offered Badie, joining Big Ten programs Purdue, Minnesota and Indiana. Iowa State, Toledo and Kent State round out Badie's early suitors.
"It's really been crazy," Badie said. "I didn't expect it to be at this volume with only one year of varsity film. It's a blessing talking to different coaches and getting to know different coaches."
It shouldn't surprise that Badie is on major colleges' radar.
He's 6-foot-5, and with 15-20 pounds of muscle put on this offseason up to 215 pounds, and has run a 4.49 40-yard dash "in some beat up Adidas shoes."
"In cleats I think I can run a 4.40," Badie said.
"He's a 6-5 kid who can run, and when you see him on film he's not afraid," LeBlanc said. "He's very physical and you can tell he's raw. When you take into consideration he is on the younger side in his class, what he did on film, his size and speed and the kind of kid he is, it's a no-brainer."
Badie has accumulated that film, in just one season of high school football.
He probably would have played varsity as a freshman, but a torn ACL the summer before cost him his freshman football and basketball seasons.
Badie quickly found his way onto the varsity football team, to his surprise.
"I think a week before fall camp last year, they put out the depth chart and I didn't get to see it because I was in the weight room and they were like 'Badie, you're starting' and I thought 'Yeah, I thought it was a given starting on sophomore' and they said 'No, you're starting on varsity.' It was a big surprise," Badie said. "Personally I didn't know if I was ready but I went out there and competed and got better every week."
Badie went on to lead Oswego East's sophomore basketball team to an unbeaten season last winter. Kent State offered him for football in January. The Iowa State offer, in late July, was the eye-opener for Badie, and when the floodgates opened.
"I've had conversations with MAC coaches and they ask about him, but they've called to ask about other guys and they'll say [about Badie], 'Yeah we're not going to be able to touch that kid,'" LeBlanc said. "What his size and speed does is it puts him in position to be recruited at 3-4 positions. For some coaches he's an outside linebacker in a 3-4, which is what he does for us. Some coaches see him as a nickle defensive back in a 4-2-5, and for some he's a hand on the ground defensive end in a 4-3. He can play a lot of positions."
Oswego's Cikauskas set to decide
Oswego senior defensive Anthony Cikauskas announced on Monday that he will be making his college decision on Oct. 16. Cikauskas, who had 11 sacks and 21 tackles for loss as a junior, has 10 offers total. His top schools are currently Missouri Western, Northern State, Northern Michigan and Olivet Nazarene.
He hasn't done any virtual visits, but just made his first official visit to Missouri Western not too long ago and planning to make another official soon.
"The process has been slow due to COVID," Cikauskas said. "The government really messed things up for the Class of 2021 in recruiting. The best thing I have been doing to get my name out there is through Twitter DM's and any camps going on."
Elsewhere Yorkville senior lineman Jarek Slavin added offers from Concordia-Chicago and St. Ambrose on Sunday.