Barrington High School resides in the top level of Illinois High School football and has annually been at the top of the standings, this year the Broncos racked up a 10-1 record. Barrington should be a familiar name to NDSU fans as two of the school’s alums have turned out to be two of the Bison’s top players in Division 1, Sam Ojuri and Ben LeCompte.
Ojuri racked up three straight one thousand yard seasons and thirty five touchdowns in his NDSU career, winning three national championships. LeCompte will go down as one of the best punters in school history, a two-time All-American, who will be remembered for his booming punts and ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory. LeCompte was MVP of a playoff game in 2015 with his punts against Northern Iowa.
Now there’s another Barrington product on the NDSU roster, redshirt freshman tight end Josh Babicz. Babicz was a high profile member of the Class of 2017, just because of his height, coming in at 6’6. Babicz had the usual suspects offer him, all the Missouri Valley contenders, along with Wyoming. He was a three position standout at Barrington, including time at quarterback during his freshman and sophomore years. Babicz then moved to wide receiver, where he was a standout, racking up 514 yards and eight touchdowns.
Babicz earned praise from the Bison coaching staff last year for his work on the scout team, signaling that he may be ready to see the field this fall. NDSU has an opening at tight end with the graduations of Jeff Illies and Connor Wentz, that there’s a spot open. I visited with Babicz late last week, who said he’s been working on his blocking during his time at NDSU, and added that the coaches believe he can be a factor this fall. He says he “has good hands and is always looking for the football.”
This is a critical spot for the Bison, Easton Stick relied heavily on his tight ends last season, whether it be Illies or Wentz, who were great in the red zone, to Nate Jenson, who made big plays downfield. Matt Anderson, another big tight end, is injured this spring, opening the door for Babicz to perhaps work his way into the rotation. Something to keep an eye on as spring continues.
An update on a few things, NDSU just put on pads for the first time Monday, so look for more regular updates on the blog from here until the end of spring.
Two other items to follow, now that Craig Smith has left USD, who will replace him at South Dakota? Both Coyote coaches have left over the last couple of years, with Amy Williams to Nebraska. Vermillion has proven to be a successful D-1 town.
Lastly, Gonzaga is likely leaving the West Coast Conference for the Mountain West. That could be finalized by the Final Four. The reason that’s pertinent here is to keep an eye on how the dominoes fall to other mid-major leagues. I still am of the mindset that Fort Wayne’s time in the Summit is ending.