Jack Konopka, the 6'-5", 250 pound TE from Fremd High School in Palatine, participated in the All-American combine last month in San Antonio.
"It was a really good experience. It was eye opening because it makes you realize just how many players are just as big as me, just as fast as me. It put things into perspective as to what I need to work on to get better."
Konopka's hard work to date has garnered him interest from schools across the country.
"Notre Dame, Miami (FL), Michigan State, Northwestern, Stanford, Arizona, Boston College, Indiana, and I believe, Wisconsin and Purdue have shown interest in me. Most of them are looking at me as a tight end, but a couple see me as an offensive tackle. I'd prefer to be a tight end. If the school is a good fit for me, location isn't an issue."
There is one school he would like to hear from.
"I'm hoping to hear from Illinois. I'd like to go to one of their junior days."
Konopka has already has a few colleges in mind for a junior day.
"If I had to pick, I'd want to go to a junior day at Notre Dame, Iowa, Northwestern, and Illinois. I'd like to go to others, maybe Wisconsin."
Konopka didn't have a childhood favorite growing up.
"I never really followed college football that closely until I got to high school."
Two of Konopka's teammates have helped him with the recruiting process so far.
"I talked to Christian (Lombard, Notre Dame signee) about the recruiting process. I've asked him questions because he's been through the whole thing and has been pretty successful. I've also talked to (offensive lineman) Brian Bobek a little bit to see where he's at in his recruitment and what he's doing."
The big tight end helped engineer one of Fremd's most successful years in school history.
"Overall, we went 11-1 losing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. We arguably had one of our best teams in the past several years, and we honestly thought we were going to go down to state and win our first championship. We ended up losing to a team that had a lot of team speed, which was our one weakness. We were a very big team, but we weren't very fast."
"This past season we had a mix of juniors and seniors. We'll have some juniors coming back so we should be a pretty experienced group, but we'll need some upcoming juniors to step up and play as well."
Konopka played both ways for his team.
"I was the tight end as well as a defensive end. We're primarily an offense that runs that ball to set up the play-action so blocking is a definite strength of my game. I also have an endless motor. I'd like to improve on my route running though.
Konopka is keeping busy in the offseason with his current basketball season and track in the spring.