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Recruiting: Illinois OL Rhett VanBoening to call Army home

Rhett Van Boening’s college football commitment post was simple and to the point.

VanBoening announced his decision Wednesday with a photo graphic and the words, “Committed to the United States Military Academy.”

The Libertyville (Illinois) offensive tackle’s recruiting is 100 percent closed. Committing to Army means that “I’ve found my home,” VanBoening said.

”I’m not very interested in going somewhere just as a backup (plan),” VanBoening said. “Army is definitely where I want to be.

”I’m more interested in going somewhere I can play while still getting a good education. Army just happens to be within that range and is an FBS school.”

Unlike many Army recruits, VanBoening is no stranger to the military service side of his commitment. His father recently retired as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps.

”I never thought I would have the opportunity to attend an academy but I’ve always looked up toward members of the military, who attended an academy,” said VanBoening, who is 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds. “West Point is very niche place where only the best-of-the-best in the Army go.”

VanBoening’s road to West Point would begin with Army offensive line coach Matt Drinkall reaching out last October. Kevin Sabo, VanBoening’s FIST Football offensive line trainer, connected the two.

Recruiting picked up when Drinkall stopped by Libertyville High and offered VanBoening on Feb. 28. Libertyville is a frequent stop on Army’s recruiting trail. Former Army quarterback AJ Schurr starred at Libertyville. Schurr’s father, James, taught VanBoening in a physical education class his sophomore year.

VanBoening visited Army during its spring game April 12 and reconnected with freshman offensive lineman Paolo Gennarelli, another talent from Illinois. He’s also friends with Army 2024 Illinois offensive line commits Tim Savchuk (Oswego) and Josh Manecke (Downers Grove). Van Boening’s official commitment was made Tuesday after “a couple of long conversations about football and life after athletics.”

VanBoening, who competed for Libertyville’s fourth-place state wrestling team, will be the first in his family to attend a service academy.

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