CARY – Cary-Grove running back Ryan Mahoney had not heard a lot from athletic scholarship schools regarding his college recruitment.
Recently, Mahoney had heard from several NCAA Division III schools that visited C-G. There was one D-II school, however, that liked Mahoney a lot.
Grand Valley State stayed in contact with Mahoney through his senior season, and the Trojans’ speedy back committed to the Lakers last week. He will sign his NCAA national letter of intent in February.
C-G fullback-linebacker Kyle Norberg, who visited D-I North Dakota over the weekend, is scheduled to visit Grand Valley this weekend, so there is a possibility the two could remain teammates in college.
“It would be kind of cool if we both went there,” Mahoney said.
Many colleges may have missed on Mahoney because he battled through injuries his junior season. He missed most of four games this season with a sprained ankle, but got healthy just in time to play a major role in C-G’s trip to the IHSA Class 6A state championship game.
Mahoney (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) rushed for 830 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 11 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns. Although Mahoney was hampered by a bruised quadriceps in the state championship game, he still caught a 24-yard touchdown pass, reaching over the head of a defender to haul it in. C-G lost to Crete-Monee, 33-26, in that game.
“I wasn’t actively recruited much,” Mahoney said. “Grand Valley was the first [D-II] school to respond when I sent my video. I updated them every three weeks through the season. They really liked what they saw of me in the open field in my sophomore and junior years. They liked my versatility, that I can move out in the slot and be a receiver.”
Mahoney said his parents spoke with C-G and Grand Valley graduate Andrew Lorman and feels like Lorman helped him get recruited by Lakers coach Matt Mitchell and his staff. While offensive line coach Tim Morrison, who recruited the McHenry County area for Grand Valley.
“It definitely helped me that Andrew was the great player he was at Cary and at Grand Valley,” Mahoney said.
Lorman played on the Lakers’ D-II runner-up team in 2009. Grand Valley won NCAA D-II national championships in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.
Mahoney was a three-year varsity starter for the Trojans and was a Northwest Herald All-Area second-team selection. One particular game that displayed how dangerous Mahoney can be came in the Class 6A semifinal at Lake Forest. Mahoney had nine carries for 169 yards and two touchdowns by halftime in that game.
Norberg (6-1, 215) rushed for 2,218 yards and 27 touchdowns, but may be recruited by colleges as a linebacker. He was a defensive starter at C-G for three years and started on offense only this season.
He visited North Dakota, a Football Championship Subdivision school in Grand Forks, over the weekend.
“I liked it a lot and they made a great offer,” Norberg said. “The players made me feel right at home.”
His host for the visit was running back P.J. Sparks, the son of former NFL cornerback Phiippi Sparks and the brother of singer Jordin Sparks, the youngest winner of "American Idol" at 17.
After visiting Grand Valley, located in Allendale, Mich., Norberg also has a January visit scheduled with Drake, another FCS school. Norberg said he might visit South Dakota, but that Northern Illinois University is now out. The coaching staff sounded more like they wanted him as a preferred walk-on.
Norberg also is still in contact with Iowa and might make an unofficial visit to Iowa City.