Josh Raby did not realize how prominent football was in his life until he suffered a broken collarbone and missed his sophomore season.
“It changed my views on how much I love the sport and how much I missed being out there and playing on Friday nights,” Raby said. “That opened my eyes to playing at the next level.”
The Dundee-Crown senior put together a solid junior year, then followed with a senior season in which he threw for the third-most yards in the area and helped the Chargers to their second-best record over the past 25 years.
D-C coach Mike Steinhaus, who played at NCAA Division I Ball State, feels more schools should be interested in his 6-foot-5, 190-pound quarterback. Raby has three D-II offers and about eight schools he is interested in and may visit over the next month.
Raby, who currently has helped D-C’s basketball team to a 13-3 record, hopes to decide on his school by early March.
“I talk about his character – he has a high ceiling,” Steinhaus said. “We didn’t have a winning record (4-5), but it was pretty impressive for the kind of success our program has had the last 25 years. I try to sell the character, the academics, which you’ll never have to worry about, the leader he is on and off the field, and the big one is how he works in the weight room. He’s a winner.”
Raby has worked with coach Steve Gregory at Quarterback Farm over the past year. Raby completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 1,563 yards and 15 touchdowns, with seven interceptions, last season.
Raby has offers from D-II schools McKendree, Quincy and Southwest Minnesota State. He has walk-on offers from D-I Ball State and D-II Indianapolis and also plans on visiting D-III schools Carthage, Dubuque and Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Raby started playing flag football at age 6, then tackle at 7, but he had not thought a lot about college football until after his sophomore season. He grew about 4 inches between his sophomore and junior years, then made a jump for his senior season in the weight room and under Gregory’s direction.
“I made big strides between junior and senior year because we had a different motivation with the guys we had,” Raby said. “We had a more dedicated group, and were able to lift in the morning three days a week. Coach Steinhaus opened up the school (in early mornings) for me to work with my receivers and get our timing down. I give him props for doing that. He has a family, but he was able to provide us with those resources.”
With Gregory, a former University of Arkansas quarterback, Raby would work with other quarterbacks, usually in Naperville or Roselle.
“He has a really good arm,” Steinhaus said. “We worked on the long ball this offseason, and we were able to hit that a lot more. That’s something that’s going to keep improving as he grows. It takes awhile to build up arm strength, and he did that this year. It’s going to continue to build.”
Steinhaus’ former teammate Kyle DeVan is the offensive line coach at Ball State, which is a reason the Cardinals offered Raby a preferred walk-on spot. Also, former D-C running back Malik Dunner will be a senior for Ball State.
Now, between his basketball games and practices, Raby will squeeze in some visits to the schools on his list.
“I thought I could play NCAA after my junior year when Coach Steinhaus said the coaches were coming through and told me about the interest I was getting,” Raby said. “I could see my opportunities opening up.”