During a 1-11 season, injuries ran rampant through the Western Illinois University football roster. Nowhere was that more evident than at running back.
As part of its December early signing period class, the Leathernecks added reinforcements in Clayton Scott, a New Jersey native who played last season at Monroe College in New Rochelle, N.Y. Scott ran for 14 touchdowns and 5.7 yards per carry this fall for the Mustangs in nine games.
WIU will not officially release its full list of recruits until February, so we gathered information from media reports and social media on the early Western signees.
Here’s a collection of news, notes and quotes from WIU’s signing day haul:
“We’re off to a great start,” WIU head coach Jared Elliottt told Scott Holland of the McDonough County Voice. “It was a rewarding day for everybody involved. We have some guys who will make an immediate impact and some guys I can’t wait to get into our development program.”
According to various Twitter posts, WIU signed four defensive backs during the early period, including two from junior college programs.
Illinois high school recruiting guru "Edgy Tim" O'Halloran shared his thoughts with Prairie State Pigskin on a key WIU in-state recruit, quarterback Clay Bruno of the powerhouse Rochester High School program:
“He makes another Rochester quarterback on an FCS roster. He's a kid (with a high) knowledge level and runs a high-powered offense. He's going to be pretty comfortable fitting in anywhere. He's got some vertical challenges just like (Nic) Baker down at Southern. He's got the arm. He can make every throw that you need.”
While leading Rochester to the Class 5A state title in Illinois this fall, Bruno threw 46 touchdowns and only five interceptions while completing 67 percent of his passes. In the state title game against Chicago St. Rita, Bruno threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns.
WIU recruits (unofficial list)
Matt Muetterties, OL, 6-5, 250, Burlington Central HS (Burlington, Ill.)
Shawn Lee, DL, 6-3, 270, Downers Grove South HS (Downers Grove, Ill.)
Brian Bruce, OL/DL, 6-2, 285, Phillips HS (Chicago)
Donovan Lacey, SS, 5-11, 180, DeKalb HS (DeKalb, Ill.)
Tredan Maronic, SuperBack, 6-3, 198, Bear River HS (Auburn, Calif.)
Chastin Cross, FS, 6-4, 200, River Rouge HS (River Rouge, Mich.)
Clay Bruno, QB, 6-0, 180, Rochester HS (Rochester, Ill.)
Levon Barnett, DB, 6-0, 186, Laney College (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)
Clayton Scott, RB, 5-10, 195, Monroe College (Millville, N.J.)
Alaric Wooten, CB, 6-0, 185, College of DuPage (Romulus, Mich.)
Dylan Runkel, TE, 6-7, 205, Burlington HS (Burlington, Wis.)
Isaiah Bellamy, DE, 6-5, 250, Ellsworth Community College (Largo, Fla.)