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Brickie Babcock to fly with the Redbirds

What the 2020 high school football season is going to look like in Indiana holds a lot of questions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hobart's Bobby Babcock answered the question regarding his collegiate future Monday night when he made a verbal commitment to play for Illinois State.

"I could've waited for the end of the season, but with everything going on, I decided to make it fast and get it out of the way," Babcock said. "It was pretty cut and dried. Out of all the staffs who offered me, they showed me the most love, by far, and I took it to heart. We made a good bond."

The 6-foot-1 linebacker chose Illinois State, a Division I FCS school, over Ohio and Central Michigan of the Mid American Conference. All offered Babcock full scholarships.

"I think (Illinois State) gives me the best chance to play early, which had a big impact on my decision," he said. "I've always started. I've never sat the bench in my life. I don't know how that would work out so I thought it was best to go somewhere where I had a good chance to play right away. They think I can make a big impact either way. They like how aggressive I am, how my motor is non-stop."

Babcock projects as an inside or outside linebacker for the Redbirds, depending on how much bigger he gets. He's already put on 14 pounds since the coronavirus quarantine started to get up to 223.

"I didn't do many showcases," he said. "I've just been training here, getting ready for the season. I've been eating six, seven meals a day."

Like with most recruits, the pandemic also limited Babcock's ability to make actual visits beyond a couple MAC schools. He did a virtual tour of the Normal, Ill. campus.

"I was able to do a Google Earth tour where I could see it from all different angles," Babcock said. "I feel like I already know every building."

Illinois State (10-5) made it to the FCS quarterfinals last season before falling to No. 1 and eventual national champion North Dakota State 9-3.

"It's a good program," said Babcock, who plans to go into real estate after college. "It could put up a fight with the schools I got offers from."

Babcock had six sacks, 25 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries and six fumbles caused last season as Hobart won the Northwest Crossroads Conference and reached the Class 4A northern semistate. He returns along with two-way starter Zach Vode, a recent Western Michigan commit, quarterback Riley Johnston, Cameron Smith and Tyler Turley. Given his size and sub-4.6, 40 speed, Babcock can play at all three levels on defense and may see time in the Brickies' offensive backfield as well.

"Whether we have a full season or not, I'm going to give it my best with what we've got -- that's all you can do," Babcock said. "If it works out and we have the season we hope to have, we've got a really good chance to make a run and end up with a ring on my finger."

Hobart linebacker Bobby Babcock has verbally committed to Illinois State. (Twitter Photo)

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