RECRUITING: As an offensive lineman, Broncos' Voltz is electric
BY TAYLOR BELL
Barrington's Dan Voltz has everything that college coaches look for in an offensive lineman -- size, strength, intelligence, good footwork and technique, sound fundamentals, athleticism and, perhaps most important of all, a nasty streak that belies his 4.0 grade-point average.
Voltz, a 6-5, 290-pound junior, will be one of the most highly recruited players in the nation next year, recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said.
''He has a chance to rank in a class with [Wheaton North's] Jim Juriga and [Evanston's] Mike Kenn among the best offensive tackles ever produced in Illinois -- and he has two more years to prove it,'' said Lemming, comparing Voltz to two former Big Ten and NFL standouts.
Barrington coach Joe Sanchez already compares Voltz favorably with four former Broncos stars -- Dan Doering, Dan Stevenson, Otis Hudson and Gus Handler.
''What separates him is his ability to finish,'' Sanchez said.
Interestingly, Voltz doesn't dream about the NFL. He is focusing on his team's success (Barrington is 7-1 and ranked No. 21 in the Chicago area going into the game Friday against Palatine), academics (he has a 4.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale and wants to major in business or marketing in college) and recruiting (he dreams of attending Northwestern or another Big Ten school).
He has scholarship offers from Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Arizona. He has visited Ohio State and Tennessee. He also has interest from Notre Dame, Iowa, Oregon, LSU and Alabama. He hopes to make a decision after his junior year so he can avoid distractions during his senior season.
''Growing up, Northwestern was my dream school,'' Voltz said. ''It's so close to home, I've gone to so many games and I've been to the campus a lot. Plus, the Kellogg School is the best business school in the country.
''So I plan to attend Northwestern or another Big Ten school until another conference can convince me they are better. The NFL isn't very important to me at this point. I realize a majority of college players won't make it. I'm more focused on playing in college and getting a degree.''
As for his demeanor on the field, ''Steve Galovich, my offensive line coach, preaches to me all the time that you have to be nasty to be a good offensive lineman,'' Voltz said. ''Barrington linemen are noted for that. What is nasty- Finishing every block and letting your opponent know that it is going to be a long night for him.''
Sanchez sends out film and urges college evaluators to observe how Voltz and senior guard Jimmy Kristof (6-3, 295) open space on the right side for junior running back Chase Murdock. The play is called ''24,'' and Murdock is making a reputation of his own on the video circuit.
Many young athletes don't prioritize, but Voltz has learned to manage his time -- classes, football practice, then homework. He developed good study habits because academics are important to him. Meanwhile, he also focuses on improving his football skills, especially pass blocking, because he knows the college game is more challenging.
But don't think he doesn't take time to relax. Voltz and his offensive linemates make frequent trips to nearby Tower Lakes to fish. To them, catching a largemouth bass is almost as much fun as knocking a defensive lineman on his backside. Almost.