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Sunday, July 01, 2007

A commitment, but not from that guy. Top 100 wide receiver Daryl Stonum
decides tonight around midnight Eastern; this commit is from Illinois quarterback John Wienke:

GoBlueWolverine just got of fthe phone with Tuscola, Ill. quarterback John Wienke (6-3, 210).

"I committed to Michigan late this morning!"

"I just felt the most comfortable there."

After camping at Michigan and then visiting, he said, "Everyone was just so nice to me there, I just couldn't see myself anywhere else."
Wienke's other finalists were Iowa and Illinois. Though it's a weak year for quarterbacks, he is an Elite 11 selection. Rivals rates him a three-star and the #17 QB in the country; Scout hasn't ranked him yet. Google engaged; will update with relevant information.

Update: I don't have anything truly informative, but there's plenty that's entertaining. UK was on Wienke early in the year, but once actual schools with actual football programs got involved the Wildcats understandably went out the window. The reaction:
1) Tuscola (Ill.) quarterback John Wienke got an offer from Michigan, Illinois and Iowa in the past three days, so any chance that UK can land him is thrown out the window. Wienke was supposed to go to UK's camp in a week or so, but that seems questionable now. Despite being the first to offer him and the fact UK is in the SEC has meant very little to the 6-foot-5, 215 pound gunslinger. [sic sic sic, jesus people, you have schools down there, don't you?]
I dunno, I just found the idea that a recruit would think to himself "I know Michigan is a national power, but at UK I could lose by multiple touchdowns to Florida and Tennessee... SOLD!" funny.

Wienke lead Tuscola to a 14-0 record and its first ever state championship in anything last year, throwing for nearly 3000 yards and 29 touchdowns with seven interceptions. In the final they faced heavily favored Aledo, #1 in their division. The result:
Tuscola's John Wienke threw for 384 yards and four touchdowns Friday afternoon to lead his team to a 35-20 victory over Aledo in the Class 1A state championship game at Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus.
Wienke was 20-32. Reviewers were all impressed:
To be honest, this was the first time I got a chance to see Tuscola play this season. Man alive, they were impressive. They had a distinct size advantage over Aledo, and used it to pop everything in a green jersey. At the same time, the Tuscola passing game had a day for the ages.

I say the passing game because — to me at least — it seemed like equal parts John Wienke and his receiving corps. Broc Winn turned a pair of 10-yard curls into long touchdown receptions. Wienke checked down to his fourth receiver to find Nick Hanke on the 80-yard touchdown pass that put the final nail in Aledo.

And then:
Was I ever impressed by Tuscola jr. QB John Wienke. Then I find out he is 6-4, 207 and I'm thinking this Class 1A kid is going to be a Division I prospect next season.
Hell, even the Illinois General Assembly was impressed:
2 WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3 Representatives are pleased to congratulate the Warriors of
4 Tuscola High School on winning the 2006 IHSA Class 1A Football
5 Championship; and

6 WHEREAS, At Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois, the
7 Warriors defeated Aledo High School in a 35-20 victory to claim
8 their school's first State title in any sport; and

9 WHEREAS, Tuscola quarterback John Wienke passed for 384
10 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the team to this moment; and

11 WHEREAS, Through hard work and determination, the Warriors
12 pulled off a stunning victory, and fans of the team yelled
13 until some lost their voices, excited over this impressive
14 accomplishment; ...

13 congratulate the Warriors of Tuscola High School on their first
14 State championship and look forward to many more.
Boilerplate congratulations, maybe, but the "some people even lost their voices" is endearingly weird. Additional endearing weirdness can be found in a general assembly resolution specifically praising the Weinke family that hilariously lists the many and varied athletic accomplishments of John, Judson, and Johanna Wienke before dryly noting that "proud siblings" Jenna and Jason exist but have no other distinguishing characteristics whatsoever. (The existence of these resolutions has caused a friend and former resident of the state to spend the last fifteen minutes on Google attempting to discover how much these people are paid so that she can declare it to be far too much. UPDATE: It turns out it's just gone from 57k to 63k; there is an appalled person next to me who is now looking up Illinois teacher salaries.)

Since he won a state championship with his school, Wienke was given the opportunity to answer "Griese or Grossman?" by the Sun-Times, the Bears being in something of a quarterback quandary at that point. Wienke chose... wisely:
1 John Wienke

Junior, Tuscola, Class 1A champion:

"Brian Griese is more consistent because he's been [in the league] longer, so Brian Griese is better to go with. He's more of a veteran and he's used to the big crowds and games. With Rex Grossman, I don't know if he's just not getting used to things."

Weinke's recruitment started a little slowly, as he got scholarship offers from a few non-BCS schools and Kentucky, a BCS school in name only. Then he attended the Colorado NIKE camp, winning MVP honors and picking up offers from Colorado, Iowa, and Purdue. A few weeks later he attended the Michigan camp, impressed, and got his offer. Of the camp quarterbacks, Wienke was the first choice. Offers are still pending to OK QB Nathan Stanley and MI QB Brendan Kay; now they'll only get them if Michigan decides to take another quarterback (a possibility).

Other stuff: a recruitment article from a local news station and a photo gallery.

Editorial Opinion: Wienke was on the upper end of reasonable expectations for a quarterback to come in in 1 A.M. (anno Mallettus). Though the recruit sites don't seem high on him yet, he appears to be on the upswing with the Elite 11 invite and might end up a high three star. In a weak year for quarterbacks nationwide, a good pickup.