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Bahl hopes to choose school this summer

Sarah Nader -
Marian Central's quarterback Billy Bahl throws a pass during the first quarter of Friday's game against Montini Catholic in Lombard October 11, 2013.
Sarah Nader - Marian Central's quarterback Billy Bahl throws a pass during the first quarter of Friday's game against Montini Catholic in Lombard October 11, 2013.

The start of football season may be a couple of months away, but for Marian Central’s quarterback, Billy Bahl, the most important decision of his football career is approaching. And as the scholarship offers continue to pile up, the decision isn't getting any easier.

Following last week’s scholarship offer from Wyoming, Bahl has now received offers from 14 schools, and more may be coming.

“It’s been kind of stressful but I’m happy. It’s a lot better than not being recruited by big schools,” said Bahl, who is hoping to make a decision before the start of the season, but preferably by the end of June. “I’m very excited about everything and I’m just kind of taking everything in.”

As a junior, Bahl led the area with 2,510 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions while Marian Central finished with an 8-3 record and a first-round 5A playoff victory over Bremen.

“Fundamentally, he’s a very sound quarterback, very ideal size for a quarterback as well,” Marian Central's offensive coordinator Dirk Stanger said. “He’s just a very natural thrower, and he’s continuing to progress in terms of his knowledge of the game.”

Among the 14 schools to offer Bahl a scholarship, 12 of them are Division I FBS schools. There's offers from Rutgers — who recently joined the Big Ten, UConn, from the American Athletic Conference, Wyoming, and nine schools from the Mid-American Conference. The two non-FBS schools are South Dakota and Illinois State.

Thus far, Bahl has visited six universities — Toledo, Ohio, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Miami (Ohio), and Penn State. But following the advice of Stanger, who keeps in touch with Bahl about every other day, the 6-foot-4 210-pound quarterback is giving every school an equal opportunity.

Just last weekend, Bahl traveled to Ames, Iowa for an Iowa State throwing camp. And he has future campus visits scheduled for Miami (Ohio) on June 15th and Rutgers sometime in the near future.

“It goes pretty fast,” Bahl said of the recruiting process. “I’m just trying to figure out which coaches are being honest with you and telling you what you actually need to hear, not what they want you to hear.”

In between visiting campuses and attending throwing camps, Bahl has also hosted a few throwing sessions of his own, in which coaches from interested universities attended. Stanger, who was also in attendance, said that these sessions have done nothing but impress.

“I don’t think there was one [coach] that didn't come away extremely impressed,” he said. “In fact, there were a couple of instances where schools that had not offered him a scholarship maybe watched four or five throws and got on the phone right away with their head coach and said, ‘This kid is legit, we need to offer him.’”

Before Bahl departs for college, which he will choose based on comfort and an opportunity to play early, Stanger is looking to give his quarterback more offensive control under center. Which is something Stanger has no worries about.

“At this point I trust him to — if we got to it — call the plays himself,” Stanger said.

This trust was echoed by Bahl's teammate and tight end, Michael Hartlieb.

“He's kind of a field general out there. He's a guy who can read the defense. He'll call an audible or a hot route is he needs to.” he said. “I think that will just elevate his game that much more for the next level.”

But before Bahl gets to make those decisions on the field, he still has one decision to make off the field, one that doesn't involve X's and O's, but one that could determine where he spends the following four years after high school.

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