Lemond Singleton fits the description of an unheralded recruit.
The Plainfield East senior offensive lineman is certainly accustomed to being overlooked, even in his own school.
Three years ago, Singleton had only played one season of football — in seventh grade — and his aspirations were focused on becoming an inside force on the basketball team.
His dreams lasted one tryout practice.
“It was kind of a blessing in disguise,” Singleton recalled. “I couldn’t go to the next tryout date, so I ended up being cut. I then ended up coming in the weight room and playing football the next year. I’m glad I didn’t wind up playing basketball. I probably then would never have played football.”
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Singleton is one of the unsung recruits in his class, with his offer list now up to five schools. Singleton’s most notable offers are from Indiana State and Georgia State.
Plainfield East coach Mike Romeli said Singleton’s progression from novice football player to college-bound athlete required significant work, both from his staff and Singleton.
“Lemond’s first year playing football as a sophomore was a little rough,” Romeli said, “but we stuck with it. My sophomore offensive line coach basically rode the wave and let him play. It wasn’t very pretty. His junior year he didn’t play the first five games. He was still learning and developing. He showed glimpses of being good and not very good. He always had a positive attitude and was willing to work.
“He was big and really long and athletic and had speed. We saw the raw ability, but it took him a long time to develop. He started coming on strong late in his junior year.”
Singleton started the final four games at right tackle in his junior season and did not allow a sack at left tackle in 230-plus passing attempts this past season.
“He’s so long and further along with pass-blocking now, but his run-blocking will come when he spends more time in the weight room,” Romeli said. “A lot of colleges recruiting him are willing to wait and redshirt him a year, so he can really develop in the weight room. They really like his athleticism and length.”
Singleton turned 17 only a few weeks ago, thus adding to his enticing long-range potential for colleges.
“I think in the next month a lot more schools will become involved,” Singleton said. “I feel the lack of exposure was one of my downfalls, and there’s a lot of schools that don’t know much about me that would love to have me.
“I think I’m a truly different player from last year, and with the right staff I think I can do very well in college. I was and still am a really raw player. I’m still coming into my own. I’m very excited and truly blessed to be in this position. Based on last season I didn’t think I would be in this position.”
The next Kirk Cousins?: Hinsdale South senior quarterback Sean McCormack has yet to receive his first offer, but one school is suddenly interested in him: Michigan State.
The 6-6 McCormack might benefit from a pair of ties with the Spartans. His teammate, senior defensive end Josh King, already committed to Michigan State, and Throw It Deep Quarterback and Wide Receiver Training Academy president Jeff Christensen is a big fan of McCormack’s long-range potential. Christensen, a former NFL player, has former MSU and current Washington Redskins starting quarterback Kirk Cousins as a client.
“Michigan State is hopefully going to make me a preferred walk-on offer,” McCormack said. “I know they are interested, and hopefully they will have me come up there soon.”
Bobak receives surprise offer: Hinsdale Central senior running back Christian Bobak hoped that his recruiting would pick up during the holidays, and he received a surprise last week: a walk-on roster spot offer from Illinois.
“My coach and I were sending out my film and we got a response from Illinois, saying they really liked my film,” Bobak said. “We sent emails back and forth throughout the day and set up a phone call the next day, and that’s when it happened. I was very excited because it’s an opportunity to play for a Big Ten team, a very good school and to be relatively close to home.”
Bobak already has roster spots offered from Stetson, Holy Cross, Dayton, Lafayette and Valparaiso. The 6-0, 190-pounder can also play numerous positions on defense, with Lehigh, Central Michigan, Brown, Yale and Columbia also communicating with him.
Odds and ends: Lemont junior tight end Logan Christopherson received his first offer on Sunday from Iowa State. …Barrington junior tight end Jackson Perkins also received his first offer, coming from Eastern Michigan on Friday. …St. Charles North free safety/wide receiver Jake Spaniol and Naperville Central strong safety Jon Barkerboth committed to Wisconsin-Whitewater last week.
Bob Narang is a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune.