Recruiting for Marian Central's Billy Bahl heating up
Marian Central quarterback Billy Bahl had not yet hit the radar of most college coaches before this past football season, his first as the Hurricanes’ starter.
That changed quickly.
Bahl put up huge numbers for Marian’s offense and helped the Hurricanes to an 8-3 record and first-round Class 5A playoff victory. Now, Bahl has two NCAA Division I offers (Ohio and Toledo) with more likely coming in an important time leading up to his senior season.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior is trying to enjoy the intense scrutiny from recruiting while visiting several schools and preparing to have coaches visit Marian this spring.
“It’s new for me; nothing was really happening during the season,” said Bahl, who completed 57.3 percent of his passes (160 for 279) for an area-best 2,510 yards with 29 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. “It all came at once, it was kind of a shock. It’s very stressful, the whole recruiting process, but I’m excited about it.”
Marian offensive coordinator Dirk Stanger said he believes Bahl is right where he needs to be and will reap benefits from his offseason work.
“No question, the kid can spin it with the best of them,” Stanger said. “We’ve been working on his overall athleticism so we can use some of the quarterback run game we did with Chris (Streveler). [Billy’s] had an awesome offseason so far.”
Bahl likely will be Marian’s fourth consecutive D-I quarterback, following Jon Budmayr (Wisconsin), Ben Krol (Eastern Illinois) and Streveler (Minnesota). Stanger offered high praise for the best parts of Bahl’s game.
“He’s a very natural thrower,” Stanger said. “Looking and comparing him to the other three guys – Jon, Ben and Chris – he’s progressing closer to Jon in terms of his overall throwing ability. I’ve really been pleased with how he’s coming along with his overall throwing motion.”
Bahl throws with his teammates before school twice a week, along with weightlifting after school and speed work at Davis Speed Center in Crystal Lake. He has grown an inch and put on 15 pounds since the beginning of the football season.
Bahl has gone to junior days at Toledo and Western Michigan, and also hopes to visit Penn State, Miami (Ohio), Central Michigan and Ohio in the next few weeks.
“A bunch of schools have contacted me and said they want to watch me throw at school,” Bahl said. “[D-I] didn’t become as much a reality until I started getting messages on Facebook and emails from quarterback coaches [in the offseason] saying how interested they were and wanted to come see me.”
Stanger said NCAA rules allow coaches two visits to a player’s school between April 15 and May 31, one to evaluate as a player and one to evaluate as a student.
“With Chris, we had 36 different coaches come in to watch him throw,” Stanger said. “I can guarantee you Billy’s going to be along the same lines. Coaches want to watch you in person, that comes into that whole evaluation.”
Stanger will let coaches know when Bahl and his teammates throw before school and the coaches then will show up at Marian. With Streveler, there often were six to eight coaches each session. They can speak with Stanger at length, but can only speak to players in passing.
Stanger has been through the process with quarterbacks and other D-I recruits at Marian in the past 10 years to offer Bahl solid advice.
“[Stanger] says not to rush it, find a place where you feel at home and a place you like everything about,” Bahl said. “And don’t shorthand any schools, make sure to get out and see them all and get to know all the coaches.”
Bahl plans to make several visits in the summer to one-day camps, where coaches from numerous schools can evaluate players in drills.
“I plan on going to as many one-day camps as I want to or need to,” Bahl said. “I’m not trying to commit early. Whenever I find the place I want to be, that’s when I’ll do it. Hopefully, it’ll happen before the season starts. But if it doesn’t happen, I’m not going to rush it.”