All is Normal on recruiting front: QND’s Mueller commits to Illinois State University


Quincy Notre Dame senior football player Wyatt Mueller committed to Illinois State University, where he is expected to play safety. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The windshield time Wyatt Mueller and his parents logged criss-crossing the Midwest as the Quincy Notre Dame senior football player was courted by college recruiters grew increasingly tiresome.

“The worst part was driving everywhere,” Mueller said. “ And sitting in the car.” 

The miles driven and time away from home are going to decrease dramatically now.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Mueller committed to Illinois State University on Monday night, making his decision known with a social media post Tuesday morning. He becomes the second Gem City product to commit to the Redbirds, joining Quincy High School cornerback Rico Clay.

It also ends what felt like a neverending showcase.

Mueller attended six camps in the past month, received scholarship offers from Missouri Valley Football Conference schools North Dakota, Western Illinois University and ISU to go along with a preferred walk-on offer from Iowa State and several NCAA Division II and NAIA offers. 

His smile when describing the relief of having the process completed said it all.

“It’s unmatched,” Mueller said. “It feels amazing I can be done going to camps and running 40s and driving over God’s creation just to go everywhere. For my parents, it’s a relief for them because they’ve been anxious wondering where I’m going.

“It’s just awesome I can enjoy my senior season and not worry about recruiting anymore.”

Although Mueller is slated to play both sides of the ball this fall for the Raiders, he will suit up at safety for the Redbirds. 

“They gave an incredible opportunity,” Mueller said. “I have a great relationship with the coaches. I really like Coach (Brock) Spack and what he’s about.”

The proximity to Quincy helped, too.

“I’ll be honest, I’m a little homebody.” Mueller said. “I could get homesick. So I was talking with my parents that I wanted to be within eight hours or less. Bloomington only being three hours away helps that much more.”

It also fulfills the goal of becoming an NCAA Division I athlete. The Redbirds are an FCS program who have made four playoff appearances in the past 12 seasons, including a national runner-up finish in 2014. Illinois State went 6-5 last fall with a 4-4 in the MVFC.

“It was always a childhood dream of mine to play Division I,” Mueller said. “But honestly, it didn’t really matter what division it was. I know some kids have the D-I or bust mentality. I don’t have that at all. I wanted to find the place that would give me the best opportunity money-wise, travel-wise and program-wise. Illinois State gives me all of those.”

Mueller played in seven games last fall after overcoming an early season injury. He finished with 57 total tackles, including 31 solo, to go with two interceptions, two forced fumbles, two passes broken up and one sack. He returned one of the interceptions for a touchdown.

He could find himself more involved offensively this season as the Raiders pursue their fifth consecutive playoff appearance, but the team captain is willing to do whatever it takes to create a legacy after this fall.

“I’m excited for our senior class to leave our mark,” Mueller said. “It really helps me that the recruiting process is done so that I can fully focus on us now. I don’t have to worry about texting coaches or going to camps anymore. I’m just here with us, and us as a whole is special.

“I’m beyond excited for this season.”

Despite missing the first four games last season, Quincy Notre Dame safety Wyatt Mueller racked up 57 tackles with 31 solo stops and two interceptions. | Matt Schuckman photo

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