LB receives first offer

Whitefish Bay (Wis.) High School class of 2007 prospect Nick Bellore (6-foot-1, 232 pounds) secured his first scholarship offer during his fourth and final summer football camp trip. He is now deciding whether he wants to make an early commitment.

For Nick Bellore, attending a football camp at the University of Michigan last week made all the difference.

"My high school coach said that I should go to this Michigan camp to gain exposure with the MAC schools," said Bellore, during a telephone interview today. "It ended up working."

Jim Tietjen, Bellore's coach at Whitefish Bay (Wis.) High School, was right to recommend that his standout senior-to-be linebacker make the trip to Ann Arbor. One of the coaches Bellore worked with at the Michigan camp was Central Michigan linebackers coach Mike Elston.

"(Elston) really liked me at Michigan camp and I think he just wanted me to come to Central to see the campus and kind of show the others coaches what he saw at Michigan," Bellore said.

So Bellore, who hitherto had not received any recruiting interest from CMU, made plans to attend the Chippewas' one-day camp yesterday.

"I went to Western Michigan on Wednesday and I went to Central Michigan on Thursday," Bellore said. "After I worked out a little bit on Thursday, (head coach Brian) Kelly at Central offered me a scholarship…

"I think really the reason I got the scholarship is I went to… the University of Michigan's camp and that's where I met Coach Elston, Central Michigan's linebackers coach. I kind of worked with him throughout the whole week and I also worked with (linebackers coach Steve) Morrison at Western… that kind of, I think, did it for me, going to that (Michigan) camp. Because I had never received anything from Central before."

Bellore had been receiving interest primarily from Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Kansas State and Wisconsin. So the Central Michigan offer came as a rather pleasant surprise.

"It took us by surprise and me and my dad were really excited… We were riding on the way home and we were so blown away by Central: the facilities, the campus and every aspect of it, all the coaches," Bellore said. "The head coach, (Brian) Kelly, is like one of the most unbelievable guys I've ever met coming through all this football recruiting stuff. We sat down with him for just a little bit, and he's just an outstanding guy. Central's going in the right direction and it's a great place to be I think. A really good school and I was really impressed by it."

Even though he had not, until recently, received recruiting contact from CMU, Bellore has long been aware of the school.

"Actually I had always been interested about them because my mom is actually a graduate from Central," Bellore said. "But I had never really heard anything from them."

"I hadn't been there for a while," Bellore added. "I had been to Central when I was younger… But I was blown away by it. It was unexpected, everything about it. How incredibly nice it was…

"I had kind of a feeling they might give me a scholarship from Michigan camp but… it was kind of up in the air and I wasn't really sure. But I'm really glad they did and it's a great feeling now."

Now that he has an offer, Bellore is trying to assess where he stands with the other schools that have shown him interest in order to determine how much he is interested in each program, and judge how likely they are to tender him.

"Right now I'm just trying to kind of make a decision here," Bellore said. "Central, they kind of need a decision pretty soon here just because they've got some other linebackers offered out there and it is obviously, you have to kind of make a decision there. And we're just kind of going through all the schools that have shown me interest and trying to figure out where they stand and things like that to help with my decision and putting together pros and cons of every school and just trying to figure things out there."

Are any other schools talking about potential scholarship offers?

"When I went to Western's camp I talked pretty lengthily with all their coaches," Bellore said. "They really liked me there, they just kind of wanted to wait on senior film, which is what I've been hearing from a lot of schools. Coach (Bill) Cubit, their head coach, said worst-case scenario I could be a preferred walk-on, but he said easily with film… I could be a scholarship player. And they'd love to have me there, they just weren't sure at that time if they were going to offer or not. They wanted to take things slower."

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