(WTVO/WQRF) –The number of Iowa Hawkeye fans in this part of Illinois keeps growing by leaps and bounds. Especially after two of our most accomplished local football players signed letters of intent with the Hawkeyes on Wednesday.
Lena-Winslow’s Isaiah Bruce was the first to sign at nine o’clock in the morning in front of the student body and with his state championship teammates and coaches behind him.
In the afternoon at Byron Tyler Elsbury signed with the Hawkeyes in front of a large gathering of students and family members. These two young men have a lot in common starting with their passion for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“I’ve kind of been dreaming about this since I was little,” said Elsbury. “The dream school was always Iowa.”
What is it about the atmosphere at Iowa that made it the right fit for Bruce?
“It’s like here. It’s family. Going to a couple games there during their season it was extemely fun watching the fans get crazy.”
Both Bruce and Elsbury have big bodies. Both dominated in high school and were named All-State. Both will play on the lines at Iowa…Elsbury on the offensive line and Bruce on the defensive line.
“They go after the quarterback really hard,” said Bruce of the Hawkeyes. “Iowa has one of the best defenses in college football, so it’s going to be really fun.”
Iowa has a great tradition of producing offensive linement who go on to the NFL. How big of a factor was that in Elsbury’s decision to go there?
“It was a big factor just because I want to be the best. It’s personally motivating for me that if you’re going to do something you might as well try and be the best at it.”
Another similarity these two young men share is they’re men of high-character, integrity, and humility. That makes them popular with people of all ages in their communities, and they both have a strong work ethic.
“He’s put the time and the effort in the weight room, on the track, on the basketball court. He’s definitely not a lazy kid,” said Le-Win football coach Ric Arand of Bruce.
“He’s the prototypical kid of what they’re looking for,” said Byron head coach Jeff Boyer of Elsbury.”He’s a big kid but also a kid that’s going to work hard in the weight room and do everything they ask.”
Elsbury and Bruce have gotten to know each other over the past couple years. They’re even discussed the possibility of being roommates at Iowa.
“He’s a good kid. I like him,” said Elsbury. “We’re good friends now.”
“I’ve known Tyler for a couple years now,” said Bruce. “That’s awesome 815 kids going to Iowa. That’s really cool!”
Before these two young men are all-in on Iowa football they have some other business to take care of in high school. Elsbury is a top-flight wrestler for Byron and Bruce is one of the best players on the basketball team at Le-Win.