The rest of the sports world ground to a halt while most of the country was under quarantine orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, but as some high school football players toiled on their own this spring, the college offers continued to roll in.
Snider rising junior offensive lineman Demon (DJ) Moore received his first offers from Indiana, Purdue and Missouri this winter. But on May 1, Ohio State, Penn State and Texas A&M all made offers to the 4-star prospect, who is 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds. Tennessee soon followed.
His Snider classmate, Domanick Moon, a 6-2, 220-pound linebacker, claimed his first DI offer from Syracuse in late April.
Since then he's also received overtures from Cincinnati (which also made an offer Moore) and Toledo.
Leo rising junior offensive lineman Landen Livingston received his first offer from Michigan State on April 27. Indiana and Purdue offered two days later.
And like Moore and Moon, he has also received an offer from the Bearcats several days later.
“It was the most crazy thing ever – it happened so fast,” Livingston said of receiving his first offers.
Although they haven't been in the weight room or on the practice fields with their coaches, Kurt Tippmann said he's been in contact with some of his players nearly every day, to talk about college recruiting, training or just keeping their schoolwork on track.
“He's excited, it's a nice compliment,” Tippmann said of the attention Moore has received from some of college football's marquee programs. “I think as a young kid – he's just a sophomore in high school – a lot of that recruiting is based on potential and what they think he could become, because he has a lot of development left to achieve. But he also played very well as a young guy on the team last year, and showed that kind of promise that attracts some of those big, high-profile type schools.”
Moore and Livingston, who stands at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, have undoubtedly attracted attention because of their size.
“Anytime you have a guy with that kind of size, the next thing you look for is how well they can move,” Tippmann said of Moore. “DJ has both of those. He's got big size and strength, but he can also move and move quickly. He's got very good feet. That allows him to be a weapon, because he can move people out of the way, and do it in a fast, productive manner.”
Leo football coach Jared Sauder likewise complimented Livingston's remarkable agility for a big guy, which Livingston attributes to years of dance training.
“Last season, Game One, we were playing at Woodlan, and we didn't know much about Landen,” Sauder recalled. “We thought he was going to be pretty good, but it was his first varsity game, and you're not sure how a kid will translate what they do in practice to game night.
“Early on in that game, he latched on to a pretty good player and drove him about 10 yards, finished him off, and I think we ended up scoring on that play. He dumped the kid in the end zone. When we saw that, it was like, this player is pretty good.”
During the months when schools and gyms were closed and many athletes had to train on their own, Livingston had the advantage of a live-in training partner in his older brother Cameron, who has committed to Valparaiso.
“He's actually helped me out a lot,” Livingston said. “He needs to get ready, and so he tells me how to get ready, as well, while he's doing that. So we've been doing some of the works out that they gave him, and it's actually really helpful, so I'm very thankful to have him.”