Deakon Tonielli still marvels at the prospect of playing collegiate football, even after a recruitment process that saw him attract plenty of interest.
He’s determined his destination.
Oswego’s 6-foot-6 senior tight end recently announced his verbal commitment to Michigan, choosing the Wolverines from 15 scholarship offers crisscrossing multiple Power Five conferences.
“To be completely honest, I still don’t even realize it’s happening,” Tonielli said. “To me, it’s like another year of football with a new team. But sitting down, realizing that I’ll be playing at the next level, is so awesome.”
Tonielli is rated a four-star recruit by the 247Sports recruiting website. He is the third-ranked player in Illinois in the Class of 2025 and 17th-ranked tight end nationally. Tonielli chose Michigan from a wide range of offers including Purdue, Michigan State and Illinois from the Big Ten, as well as Tennessee, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Louisville.
Tonielli made visits to Illinois, Purdue and Michigan in June before making his decision on June 19. He also visited Michigan last fall and again in March.
“I picked Michigan based on the education and the bond that came along with the team. It felt like home,” said Tonielli, who was offered by Michigan in August of 2021. “Every time I was up there I never wanted to leave the guys or the staff.”
Tonielli, a two-time Record Newspapers All-Area selection, had a team-high 32 catches for 385 yards and two touchdowns last fall in his second varsity season.
“He just has the project-ability,” Oswego coach Brian Cooney said. “When a kid is 6-6, 225 pounds, college coaches tell me that’s what our guys look like, he looks like some of our best. He has versatility, depending on how they plan to use him. He is a guy that you can flex out, create some mismatches. He can work in line as a true tight end and he enjoys that work. He enjoys finding alleys with his athleticism to get himself open, he has great ability to hit full speed and then put the brakes on. And his hand-eye coordination, I haven’t seen that in a kid that big. He has a lot of tools working to his advantage.”
It didn’t take long for Cooney to see it, either.
“First time I saw him as an incoming freshman, he stood out right away,” Cooney said. “We saw quickly what he can do. Freshman year, he didn’t spend much time with his current class. Sophomore year, within the first game he had a couple catches that’s hard to explain for a kid that big. He looked different and fluid. The progression year to year has been impressive. This year he will be a major target, which is good news for us.”
Tonielli is grateful to have the recruitment process in the rearview mirror so he can set his sights on his last high school season.
“Talking to all the coaches can be very hectic, but it’s such a blessing and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity,” Tonielli said. “Making the decision feels like a big weight just lifts off your shoulders.”
Oswego East QB Tre Jones commits to Navy
Tre Jones is all aboard.
Oswego East’s senior quarterback made his verbal commitment to Navy on June 24, choosing the Midshipmen from offers including Arizona State and South Florida.
Jones was offered by Navy in April and visited the Annapolis campus June 15.
“Personally I just thought that they had a plan for me,” Jones said. “People recruit you and if they don’t have a plan, you’re kind of going in not knowing what to expect. They had a plan.”
That plan is expanding Navy’s passing game, helping what has been more of a run-based offense take flight. Jones, a dynamic dual threat, threw for 853 yards and eight touchdowns and ran for 310 yards and five TDs for Oswego East last fall after transferring back to his home district from Montini.
“Having a conversation with Navy’s head coach, they said getting me in their program is the first step to them being able to open up their offense,” Jones said. “They want to spread it out more and be able to throw the ball, and have success. They’re going to be true to their identity and run the ball but they want to open up the passing game. With my legs and my arm it’s a perfect fit for them to make that transition.”
Jones’ decision was the climax to a recruitment process that started when Arizona State offered him when he was still at Montini.
“Patience has been the biggest thing,” Jones said. “Anybody who is a year older than me or a year younger than me, they know that this recruitment process has been different in the past. Covid and the transfer portal has brought a lot of different elements to recruiting. It forces you to be more patient and more careful about your recruitment.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle