The group includes Scott Staal, who will attend Valparaiso; Danny Cotter, who will play at Butler; Dakota Smith, who is heading to Northern Michigan; and Torrey Appel, who signed with Ferris State.
Staal set a school record with 2,293 passing yards and 21 touchdowns as the Bucs’ quarterback this fall. He’s excited to join Valpo’s high-octane attack.
“They’re an academically well-known school, and that was very important,” Staal said. “Plus they have an air-raid offense. They also have a great coaching staff. They’re in a rebuilding year, and I wanted to go down there and help them rebuild.
“Recruiting was a long ordeal, but once I visited there, I knew it was the place I wanted to be.”
Staal also considered Saginaw Valley State and Hope College, and was offered a walk-on spot at Purdue.
Cotter was a first-team all-state selection at wide receiver after hauling in 62 passes for 1,099 yards and 14 touchdowns — all school records.
“I’ve kind of known for two weeks that it would be Butler, but I wanted to make sure it was the right decision for me,” said Cotter, who put off making his decision official until recently. “The academic part is important. First, it’s a really good school. I’ll get a great education. Plus, Indianapolis is a great town.”
Smith set a school record with 1,292 yards rushing this fall and scored 19 touchdowns on the ground. He also had 10 catches for 67 yards.
“I went to a couple other places, but Northern really made me feel at home,” he said. “I liked the coaching staff. Recruiting was a lot of fun. It wasn’t hard. When I went there, I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”
Smith will have a chance to suit up against Appel over the next several years as opponents in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Appel, who played both offensive and defensive line for the Buccaneers, will play strictly on defense at Ferris State.
“I like how close it is to home, plus the program is up-and-coming with their new coach, (Tony) Annese,” Appel said. “I like to win and he likes to win. It was a tough decision. I hated the recruiting process. I hate letting people down.”
Appel was recruited by several GLIAC schools. He’ll stick with the defensive line because he can maintain his current weight (265). If he moved to the offensive line, he’d be asked to add around 30 pounds.