Football - Tue, Feb. 14, 2006
CHICAGO - Bill McKeon, Pete Barney, and Dan Cranmer of Class 6A Semifinals qualifier Joliet Catholic High School in Joliet, Ill., as well as Pat Geary of Class 8A state champion Lincoln-Way East High School have all signed letters of intent to continue both their athletic and academic careers at Saint Xavier University as members of the Cougar football program. McKeon is expected to play at the wide receiver and running back positions next fall, while Barney (linebacker), Cranmer (defensive line), and Geary (defensive back) will all add depth to the SXU defense.

McKeon, Barney, and Cranmer all played under Dan Sharp at Joliet Catholic. The Hilltoppers finished the 2005 campaign with an 11-1 record and lost, 28-21, to eventual state champion Morris High School in the Class 6A semifinals. Both McKeon and Barney were East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC) First Team selections and Joliet Herald News All-Area First Team members, while McKeon also earned Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune Honorable Mention All-State honors.

"We hit the lottery by signing Billy McKeon," said Saint Xavier University football coach Mike Feminis. "In my mind, he is a (NCAA) Division I caliber athlete and comparable to a Jarrod Nowman or Andy Ricca (current SXU standouts at wide receiver) out of high school. He will make an immediate impact.

"Pete reminds me a little bit of Rick King (a 2005 NAIA Second Team All-American for Saint Xavier at linebacker)," continued Feminis. "He is not very big, but has a great knack for the ball and can cover a lot of ground like Rick. I think Pete has a chance to help us right away on special teams and also should compete for playing time at linebacker as a freshman."

Cranmer, who hails from Naperville, Ill., is expected to come in as a freshman and compete for playing time on the interior defensive line. He was also an ESCC First Team member at defensive end as a junior and again in 2005 as a defensive tackle. In addition, Cranmer was a second team selection on the Herald News All-Area Team and earned a spot on the All-MAC defensive team.

"I think Dan can come in and help us on our interior defensive line as a freshman," said Feminis. "He has good size and is extremely strong (400+ lb. bench press). Dan has a chance to be an outstanding player at our level."

Geary is a native of Mokena, Ill., and played under Rob Zvonar at Lincoln-Way East. The Griffins finished the 2005 campaign with a perfect 13-0 record and beat Maine South High School, 30-24, in the IHSA Class 8A state championship. Geary led the defense with a game-high nine tackles in the championship game. He is the fourth player from Lincoln-Way East High School to sign with Saint Xavier this year.

"Pat was our No. 1 recruit at the cornerback position," said Feminis. "He has tremendous speed, quickness, and coverage skills and I'm anticipating that he will be competing for a job in our secondary right away and also as a return specialist. If he wasn't hurt for most of his senior season, Pat would have probably been an All-Stater."