Created:Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:07 a.m.CDT
Updated:Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:40 p.m.CDT

Chrystal, Amren select colleges

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake South’s Brendan Chrystal and Nick Amren made their college football commitments with a little help from their friends.

Chrystal committed last week to NCAA Division II Minnesota State, where he will join close friend Colt Nero, a redshirt freshman from South. Amren committed on New Year’s Eve to attend Drake, a Football Championship Subdivision school that competes in the Pioneer Football League. He will join former Gators Drew Ormseth and Phil Hespen, with whom he was teammates his sophomore season.

Chrystal (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) played linebacker as a senior after starting at safety as a sophomore and junior. Amren (6-2, 275) started at defensive lineman as a senior after starting at linebacker his first two varsity seasons. Both were Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selections.

“Me and Colt are real good friends and he told me he liked everything there,” Chrystal said. “It was really nice having him there. I was well-informed before I got there.”

Chrystal visited Minnesota State, formerly Mankato State, the weekend of Jan. 18 through 20, and committed two days after returning home. He can sign his NCAA national letter of intent Feb. 6, the first day of the signing period for football, soccer, cross country and track and field.

“It’s a relief all over,” he said. “I’m real excited to get up there and play. I liked the coaches and the facilities are really nice.”

Chrystal had 52 tackles, seven that went for losses and forced two fumbles. He also had an interception return for a touchdown in South’s 32-29 comeback win against Jacobs.

Amren’s host for his visit to Drake was Hespen, a former South offensive lineman. Amren will not sign next week because PFL schools do not award athletic scholarships. Drake has established a pipeline to the Fox Valley Conference in the past six years.

“I visited there for a camp and saw a game there,” Amren said. “It’s nice because their conference goes coast-to-coast. I’ll play in Florida and to San Diego. I thought that was cool. It was neat that I stayed with Phil. I also met (Jacobs’) Caz Zyks. With two South guys there I know what I’m coming to.”

Amren was in on 471⁄2 tackles and 81⁄2 tackles for losses. He moved to linebacker for a few games, then finished the season back on the defensive line. He is projected as a defensive lineman in college.

“I was looking at Northern Illinois for a while so I put on a lot of weight,” said Amren, who added 30 pounds since the football season. “I may go back to 265 because they’re looking at me as a 3-technique tackle and defensive end.”