A month ago, Cary-Grove offensive lineman Brett Groves said that in an ideal world he would make his college decision before football season began. He also noted that he hadn’t given himself any sort of deadline.
On Sunday, one day before practice officially began for his senior season, Groves committed to play at Southern Illinois.
“I’m extremely excited,” Groves said. “I can’t wait to get down there, and I can’t wait to start working with them.”
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound lineman chose FCS Division I Southern Illinois over offers from Indiana State, Jacksonville and Stetson. Groves will find himself playing on the same offensive line as Jacobs senior Jimmy Wormsley, who committed to the Salukis last month.
The Salukis were one of the first schools to reach out to Groves.
“They started talking to me late winter, early spring,” Groves said. “I got down there in the spring for their junior day visit. Early this summer they saw me at a couple of camps around the Chicago area and liked what they saw.”
Groves said Southern Illinois offered him a scholarship at a camp over Father’s Day weekend in June.
Groves’ size stands out most to C-G football coach Brad Seaburg.
“Brett may be the biggest player I’ve ever been around,” Seaburg said. “He’s all of 6-5, close to 6-6, 310.”
Seaburg said Groves has put in plenty of work in the weight room. Groves’ weight is about the same as it was last season, but he’s more muscular entering his senior year.
“He’s a guy that did what he needed to do in the weight room this offseason to get himself a lot better,” Seaburg said.
Groves said he loves Southern Illinois’ Carbondale campus and the surrounding area. He also likes that it’s close enough to drive to.
Nick Hill enters his second season as SIU coach this fall at only 32 years old. Offensive line coach Trevor Olson played on the offensive line at Northern Illinois, graduating in 2011.
“They have a young coaching staff, an energetic coaching staff,” Groves said. “They’re just great people to be around. They just want the best for their athletes and are trying to build something.
“I really like the culture and the feel down there. I like the program, I like the coaches. Everything just felt right.”
Groves said he has met Wormsley at camps over the past few months and is excited to team up with him.
That is, of course, after their senior years at opposing Fox Valley Conference schools. C-G opens the season Aug. 25 at Prairie Ridge.
“For now, it’s Cary-Grove football, and I’m excited to finish out my senior season and, hopefully, play 14 games,” Groves said.