Football - Mon, Mar. 5, 2007
CHICAGO - Head coach Mike Feminis secured some more talent for the 2007 Saint Xavier University football roster with the recent signings of three standout preps from the Joliet, Ill., area. The Cougars were able to sign Mike Maher, a wide receiver from Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Ill.; Andy Gerritsen, a wingback from Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort, Ill.; and Ryan Searls, a defensive back from Joliet Catholic Academy in Joliet.

Maher is a 5-10, 180-pound receiver from Plainfield, Ill., who received a number of accolades during his high school career. He was named to the Chicago Sun Times All-State Team, The Chicago Tribune All-State Team, and was the Joliet Herald News Player of the Year. Mark Coglianese coached Maher during his career with the Celtics of Providence Catholic.

"Mike was a consensus all-stater for every newspaper in Illinois," said Feminis. "He is probably the most talented wide receiver we have recruited since (former SXU All-American) Jarrod Nowman. In fact, several of the area coaches believe that Mike is comparable to Jarrod at the same age and Coach Coglianese said that Mike is the best player he has seen at Providence in 17 years. With Billy (McKeon) already here, I think we've signed the best two skilled players out of the Joliet area over the last two years."

Gerritsen is a 6-2, 205-pound wingback from Frankfort, Ill., who will make the transition to outside linebacker/strong safety next season for SXU. Gerritsen was an honorable mention all-state selection for both the Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune in 2006. His older brother, Greg, concluded an impressive four-year career last season as a wide receiver at Saint Xavier University. Gerritsen is the son of Doug and Cindy Gerritsen of Frankfort and was coached by Rob Zvonar at Lincoln-Way East.

"Andy is a clone of his brother, Greg, in many respects, but probably a little bigger and faster coming out of high school," said Feminis. "There is no doubt in my mind he could be an excellent offensive player at the college level, but we feel he will make a bigger impact for us as an outside linebacker/strong safety type. Andy is going to be a good player for our program."

Searls is a 5-10, 180-pound defensive back from Plainfield, Ill. He played under Dan Sharp at Joliet Catholic Academy in Joliet. Searls is the son of Dick and Mary Searls of Plainfield. He will continue to play at the defensive back position for the Cougars.

"Ryan is a solid football player, who will probably be red-shirted as a freshman," said Feminis. "I can see him being a good player for us down the road in the secondary and on special teams."