There is a different vibe at Lake Park’s preseason football practices this year. Junior cornerback Antonio Shenault can sense a distinct change, a shift in approach he attributes in part to the team’s visit to a Northwestern spring practice in March. The Lancers have since begun playing music during workouts, a Wildcats’ hallmark, and the speed about which players move between drills has picked up, he says.
“It definitely feels like everyone’s more active,” Shenault said Wednesday. “Like everyone wants to be here.”
Since visiting with his team nearly five months ago, Shenault has made two separate trips to campus – one for Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald’s Chicagoland Showcase and a separate unofficial visit, which he took Friday. The 5’ 9’’, 170-pound 2015 cornerback enjoyed working out at the Showcase in June and spoke with defensive backs coach Jerry Brown, who complimented Shenault’s ability to be “coachable.”
The visit Shenault took last week allowed him to tour the campus of the team he says he grew up a fan of. Shenault also sat in on a defensive backs position meeting, saw the construction site of the lakefront athletic facility Northwestern plans to build and observed a preseason practice. Northwestern, thanks to its relative academic standing in the Big Ten and its smaller undergraduate enrollment – because of the closer relationships smaller class sizes can foster, according to Shenault – is Shenault’s preferred college choice at the moment.
“I’d have to say they’re my number one,” he says. “The academics separate it, for sure.”
Other schools recruiting Shenault include Indiana, Illinois and Northern Illinois, all of which Shenault has visited. Brown has reviewed film of Shenault’s sophomore season at Lake Park and said he would like to watch him play this fall. Shenault expects to return to Northwestern for at least one game – preferably the team’s October 5 night game against Ohio State.
Early in his recruiting process, Shenault has a clear leader. It will be interesting to see whether Northwestern reciprocates his strong interest.
School: Lake Park, Roselle (IL)
Schools With Interest: Illinois, Indiana, Northern Illinois
Profiles: Rivals, Scout, 24/7
Notes: Chicago area player hearing from NU, says Northwestern is his top school.