JOLIET, Ill. – After nine weeks, Joliet Catholic has established itself, once again, as a powerhouse program in the state of Illinois. The Hilltoppers stand 8-1 right now and are ranked as the No. 8 team in the state according to MaxPreps.
Joliet Catholic’s standout defensive lineman, Ken Aguirre, a recent addition to the Western Michigan 2016 recruiting class, detailed his senior season up to this point.
“The season has been going pretty good,” Aguirre told Today’s U. “We just made it to the playoffs, but we play our first game in the playoffs this Friday night. The season has been going really good. I just committed to Western Michigan too.”
To open up playoffs, Aguirre will face Vernon Hills (6-3) this Friday at home, a contest with a 7 p.m. start tine. The defensive lineman is feeling hopeful for this matchup since the Hilltoppers will have a restocked depth chart on their side.
“We just got all our guys back,” Aguirre said. “We had two linebackers injured, a running back out and our safety was injured, plus two offensive lineman were injured. They are all back, so hopefully we can stay healthy. We should do pretty good. I feel like we have a good chance. In the playoffs we need to keep everybody healthy and we need to keep rolling.”
On a personal note, Aguirre feels good about how his senior season has turned out so far. Although there is work yet to be done, Aguirre detailed how the 2015 campaign has developed.
“For me, I feel like I had a really good year this year,” Aguirre said. “Honestly, it was my best season in my high school career because this year I think I had the most knockdowns and most sacks that I had ever had. My coaches tell me every week, “you had two sacks that game.’”
In particular, Aguirre singled out his last game, a tilt versus Marist High School, as his standout performance this year. In that game, Joliet Catholic came out victorious thanks in large part to Aguirre’s dominant performance.
“I really had a good game against Marist,” Aguirre said. “I blocked two punts, three passes and I had two sacks and five tackles. I had a really good game that week. I’m trying to do my best and help out as much as I can.”
With a motor that is difficult to deny, Aguirre sees himself as a player who never gives up on a play and chases each ball carrier down. This trait was most evident when Aguirre tracked down 3-star Notre Dame commit Julian Love from behind earlier this season.
“Julian Love, he committed to Notre Dame,” Aguirre said. “He got in the open field and I was the only guy who could chase him down. I would say I’m one of those guys with a motor that never stops. I feel like I have an old-school playing style.”
As a result of his unrelenting play, Aguirre racked up over 10 offers during the recruiting process. He touched on his recruitment with Today’s U and began explaining exactly why the Broncos’ earned his verbal pledge this past weekend.
“The recruiting process as going pretty good,” Aguirre said. “I wanted to go somewhere that I felt at home like I feel at Joliet Catholic. The thing is, all the schools are good. When I took my visit to Western Michigan, they were showing so much love, care and affection for me. I kept taking visits up there and I figured this is the place for me to be.”
One factor that Aguirre weighed heavily in the decision-making process was education. This is an area in which Western Michigan focused, another positive for the rising Broncos when compared to other programs.
“The coaches wanted to talk to me every day and every week. They wanted to know how I was doing,” Aguirre said. “They kept it real with me. I heard about academics and everything. Most coaches pretty much are just talking football, so that made me feel like they care about my education. Coach Fleck, he talked to me about education. He told me that if I go there that I would be taken care of. I asked about tutoring and they made sure I would get my tutoring.”
In addition to the scholastic portion, Aguirre felt comfortable at a campus that was not too far from his hometown in Illinois.
“I didn’t want to go too far away from home and Western Michigan is only like two hours from home,” Aguirre said. “I just felt like it was the best fit for me.”
Aguirre is planning on taking his official visit to Western Michigan in December and he does not plan on taking any other officials.