Fenwick quarterback Kaden Cobb said he decided to play his college football at Ball State University after his visit there in June. “It just felt right,” he said. (File)

The Fenwick High School football team has a several rising senior student-athletes who have the potential to play major college football in 2022 and beyond.

And, two of those players — quarterback Kaden Cobb and wide receiver Eian Pugh — recently made verbal commitments to two NCAA Division I institutions. Cobb announced on June 24 he would attend Ball State University, while on the previous day, Pugh announced a commitment to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“I had plenty of options, but I had a gut feeling when I visited Ball State in mid-June,” said Cobb of the decision to play for the Cardinals next fall. “It just felt right, and I didn’t have the same feeling about any other school that I visited. My family and I loved it, and they treated us like family.”

Pugh committed to the University of Cincinnati last year, but took an official visit to the University of Illinois at the beginning of June. 

Eian Pugh will head downstate to play Big 10 football at University of Illinois following his final year at Fenwick. (File)

“I liked the coaching staff. They really made me a priority since the beginning,” Pugh explained of his decision to play for the Illini, who have a new head coach in Bret Bielema. “I felt comfortable and at home with them, and I felt I had to pull the trigger and stay home.”

Lifelong friends, Cobb and Pugh expressed their pride and support in each other regarding their decisions.

“Kaden is one of my best friends,” Pugh said. “I’ve known him since we were toddlers, and I’m really happy for him.”

“I’m super-proud of Eian,” Cobb said. “There’s no place better than home.”

Now that Cobb and Pugh have made their college choices, they are focused on getting better this summer in preparation for the upcoming season. Pugh said he would like to get better not just as a player, but as a leader. 

Meanwhile, Cobb is looking to bounce back from an injury that cost him the final three games of last season, which was moved to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For me, it’s about getting mentally ready for the rebuild and having a good senior season,” Cobb said. “[My injury] gets sore from time to time, but it’s nothing that will keep me from working out this summer.”

Both Cobb and Pugh also realize that they are part of a very strong Class of 2022 for the Friars. Teammates Jimmy Liston and Max Reese are also receiving several major college offers, and according to Cobb, several other rising seniors are receiving attention from recruiters.

“We have some good guys who are strong,” Cobb said. “It’s been tough with COVID-19, but we’re all getting through it, and hopefully there’ll be news soon of other commitments.”

Pugh said that he had never been around a lot of talented classmates until he arrived to Fenwick. Playing with the likes of Cobb, Liston and Reese has helped him to hone his skills.

“Growing up, I was one of the better kids,” he explained. “But being around all these guys has made me work hard.”

The Friars, who finished their abbreviated season 3-2 in the spring, are looking forward to a true season this fall. Full capacity will be allowed at Triton College, where Fenwick plays its home games, and both Cobb and Pugh can’t wait to play in front of the Fenwick fans again.

“It was tough playing football in the spring as opposed to the fall,” Cobb said. “We have a good fan section and I’m excited about getting full capacity back.”

“The last time I played in a full stadium was November 2019, so I’m excited to play and put on a show for Friar Nation,” added Pugh.