Football: Chris Kantzavelos commits to Central Michigan
By Erik Jacobsen email@example.com July 22, 2012 6:02PM
Bartlett's Chris Kantzavelos (86) will attend Central Michigan. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 30, 2012 10:24AM
Bartlett senior Chris Kantzavelos attracted considerable interest from no fewer than 11 colleges, but the scholarship offer he received from Central Michigan stood out above the rest.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end verbally committed to play for the Chippewas in late June. Kantzavelos also strongly considered Miami of Ohio, Western Michigan and Toledo while Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa were among the bigger schools that had expressed interest.
“At Central Michigan it’s more of an opportunity for me to play a lot earlier,” Kantzavelos said. “They said if I don’t red-shirt I’ll be playing my freshman year, and that got me excited.
“Coach (Dan) Enos has done a great job with the program and their facilities are great. I think it’s just a good fit for me.”
Enos is going into his third season as Central Michigan’s coach. The Chippewas, who compete in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division, finished 3-9 last year.
Kantzavelos landed All-Upstate Eight Valley and Courier-News All-Area first-team honors as a junior last season at Bartlett. He finished with 30 tackles, 10 sacks, five quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.
“The way they run their defense (at Central Michigan) is the way I want to play as an outside player in more of a speed pass rush,” Kantzavelos said. “My recruiting coach did a great job recruiting me, and it’s hard to find another guy like coach (Vinson) Reynolds, who will be my position coach.”
Butler transfers from Bartlett to St. Francis
While Bartlett’s defense has a number of key players returning this year, it is a much different story for the Hawks on offense.
The program graduated several main offensive contributors from last year’s UEC Valley championship team, and the overhaul continued when Bartlett’s coaches learned of junior running back James Butler’s plans to transfer to St. Francis at the beginning of the summer.
Butler was a rising star within the Hawks program who earned All-UEC Valley and All-Area first-team honors in 2011 as a sophomore when he ran for a team-best 933 yards and 14 touchdowns on 143 carries. He also caught 24 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns and had two punt returns for touchdowns.
The 5-9, 175-pound Butler filed paperwork to transfer to St. Francis at the beginning of the summer with the hopes of joining the Spartans this fall. St. Francis, which competes in the ultra-competitive Suburban Christian Blue Division, finished 8-3 last year and has reached the playoffs in four straight seasons, winning the Class 5A state title in 2008.
Burlington Central dealing with losses via transfer
Bartlett isn’t the only local program to lose an All-Area-caliber running back via transfer.
Burlington Central won’t have the services of standout running back Joel Bouagnon after the 6-1, 205-pounder transferred to Aurora Christian for his senior season.
Bouagnon led the Elgin area in rushing last fall as a junior with 1,446 yards on 174 carries. He scored 17 total touchdowns and also made significant contributions on defense at linebacker, racking up 105 total tackles.
In addition to Bouagnon’s departure, Burlington Central is also dealing with the loss of defensive lineman Andrew Yarwood, who transferred to St. Edward.
Like Bouagnon, Yarwood landed All-Big Northern East and All-Area first-team honors last year as a junior. The 6-3, 185-pounder finished the 2011 campaign with 65 tackles, nine of which were for a loss.