Known for hitting the area hard in recruiting, Washburn coach Craig Schurig isn’t likely to lose a sought-after Topeka kid without putting up a fight.
Fortunately for Schurig and the Ichabods, it didn’t take much convincing to land former Hayden star Derrick McGreevy.
“I think I knew right when they started recruiting me that I was going to come here,” McGreevy said.
Family ties to Washburn made the Ichabods a favorite to sign the All-State linebacker. His father, Mike McGreevy, played football at Washburn while his mother, Kristie (Borough) McGreevy, played softball and volleyball at WU.
“I’ve been coming to Washburn games ever since I was a little kid,” McGreevy said. “They were high up there (on the list) from the start. They offered me and I liked just being close to home. I’m a home boy, so some home-cooked meals is always nice.
“I’ve got a lot of family here in Topeka, so it’s good to have them coming out to watch me.”
McGreevy was also on Schurig’s radar from the start.
“I’ve known him forever and I’ve seen him grow up,” Schurig said. “I was very excited when (he committed). I was a little worried he was going to go to a bigger school. He maybe didn’t have the speed in the 40 or something like that, but he’s plenty fast. And on the football field he probably plays faster than you could time him anyway.”
The junior leads the 3-1 Ichabods with 44 tackles, ranking second in the MIAA and 14th in NCAA Division II in tackles per game. McGreevy and the Bods will play at Pittsburg State (2-2) at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Carnie Smith Stadium.
“He’s got a little bit of everything. He’s a really good athlete,” Schurig said. “He’s got good size (6-foot-2, 231 pounds) and strength and speed and lateral quickness — all the things you need in a linebacker. He’s just a really good football player. He has great instincts, he’s physical and he has really good ball skills.
”I think he’s just going to continue to get better. He’s really a top-notch player.”
McGreevy played as a true freshman in 2015 and saw his role increase each year, taking a starting spot this year alongside senior Austin Tillman before Tillman suffered a shoulder injury in the third game at Lindenwood.
“I was real excited to get the starting job,” McGreevy said. “With Tillman starting the year, he was kind of more of the vocal guy and the person everybody looked to. With him going down, he’s still going to be part of the team and all that, but I think I might have a bigger role, kind of stepping into his shoes and his role that he was playing.”
McGreevy commended the play of Cedric Gonzalez, who drew the start for Tillman last Saturday against Nebraska-Kearney and notched 16 tackles while McGreevy had 12.
“I think we both have a good idea on how to take a good leadership role,” McGreevy said. “We’re both ready for that.
“Last game, if I was out of place, it seemed like Cedric was kind of there to back me up. Or if Cedric was out of place, I kind of backed him up a little bit. I think we kind of know how each other plays and just kind of feed off each other’s energy.”
Tillman is leaning toward undergoing shoulder surgery and seeking a medical redshirt, Schurig said.
“It’s his decision,” he said. “It’s one of those things that if he has a surgery on it, he’s done for the year. It’s probably beneficial to do that for his long-term use and everything. That’s probably the smart way to go. I think he’s leaning toward that. I don’t know if he’s officially said that’s what he’s going to do, but he’s checking out his options.”
Schurig said Washburn sophomore receiver Jace Williams is out for the season after injuring his shoulder against Kearney. Williams has 12 catches for 136 yards with two touchdowns on the season.
“He just got hit wrong. All the brunt went right on the shoulder,” Schurig said. “He was having an exceptional season. We were hoping to, not really hide him, but not expose everything he could do right away, piece by piece. But he was doing things in practice that you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s just incredible.’
“He worked really hard. He’s got a couple more years and he’ll come back strong.”