Ikegwuonu twins continue to draw interest

Prep football careers behind them, focus turns to college decision

Recruiting attention is building to a crescendo for Bill and Jack Ikegwuonu.

The twins, who starred at Madison Memorial High School, have long been on the radar—taking unofficial visits to Wisconsin periodically throughout this season and receiving scholarship offers from Ball State and North Dakota State.

The Ikegwuonus have now each received scholarship offers from Western Michigan and continue to receive frequent contacts from Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

In addition, Oregon State has offered Jack a scholarship as a slot receiver. Any team that hopes to have Bill or Jack in tow, however, will need to come through for both.

"We're going as a combination, as a tandem," Bill said.

Oregon State has not made a concrete decision regarding an offer to Bill.

"They said they were going to talk about something," Bill said. "We really haven't talked to them in a while. They said they might figure out something but right now I'm not really sure."

One reason Oregon State may have cooled its recruiting drive is that the Ikegwuonu brothers are unlikely to depart the Midwest.

"Oregon State is a long ways away. Our parents are going to have a major effect on where we go," Bill said, adding that their decision would be based primarily "on academics and if it's convenient for our parents and our family. Hopefully things turn out."

Jack, a receiver and defensive back for the Spartans who could play either position in college, has reaped a series of awards since Memorial's season ended. He was named first-team all-state as a wide receiver by the Associated Press and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and honorable mention by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association. Defensively, Jack earned first-team acclaim from the WFCA, second team from the AP and honorable mention from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In addition, Jack was named The Capital Times All-Area Player of the Year.

Bill, a linebacker and running back who would likely play safety or running back in college, was named all-conference and all-area as a return specialist.

Madison Memorial enjoyed a very successful season finishing 7-1 in conference, good for a share of the Big Eight Championship with Madison East and Janesville Parker. Memorial opened the playoffs with its first postseason win since 1984 but then lost to Milwaukee Marquette 14-13 in the second round.

"(The season) turned out kind of OK," Bill said. "It didn't end the way we wanted it to but overall I think we connected with all of our teammates…we are going to be friends for a long time. The season went well I think. Everyone's happy with how far we've been considering the fact that we've played together so long…most of us played together since probably the second grade."

Bill and Jack have each played varsity basketball in the past, but this winter will focus on their college decision.

"We are going to sit out this year, it gives us time to concentrate on our school work, get our grades up and work out, lift more, get bigger, stronger and faster. Gives us time just to relax," Bill said.

"This season we are going to be busy visiting schools, trying to figure out what college we are going to. We talked about it with our parents…we have to think about it, we have a lot of things to juggle. With basketball not being our first or second sport we have to think about sitting this one out just concentrating on other stuff."

Bill said he and his brother plan to take official visits in December and that "Ball State, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois all want us to come for official visits."

Though Northern Illinois has not yet offered a scholarship, the Huskies are certainly interested.

"They haven't actually said, ‘we are going to offer you guys,' but they said that, ‘if you decided to come to a MAC school you are coming here,'" Bill said.

Wisconsin, meanwhile, has kept close tabs on the duo. Bill and Jack have attended several Badger football games and even took an unofficial visit Thursday, Nov. 13, prior to the Michigan State game.

"They invited us to come talk to them and watch practice, get around the program a little bit," Bill said. The twins also attended that Saturday's game.

"It was definitely good on Wisconsin's part they executed real well but I expected more from Michigan State," Bill said.

Wisconsin is the only school Bill and Jack have unofficially visited but they have not received scholarship offers from the Badgers.

"They say, you know, we want to get you guys here," Bill said. "They don't have many scholarships…they say somehow, someway they want to get us in the program but right now I have no idea what they are thinking of doing. We'll see what happens….they call every once in a while just to touch base. I don't know, we'll see."

The plot could also thicken with other schools who have shown some interest possibly making a late push.

"We are just waiting to hear from a whole bunch of other schools that asked for tape—a bunch of Big Ten schools asked for tape—Minnesota, Michigan asked for tape, South Florida, Vanderbilt, Kentucky," Bill said. "So we are just waiting to hear from those schools. I think we are going to mostly hear from those schools after the football season is over when coaches have more time. So we'll see."

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