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Mount Carmel football players Smith, Romero make college choices

2012-07-25T19:30:00Z 2013-08-27T23:40:04Z Mount Carmel football players Smith, Romero make college choicesBy Mike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com

Mount Carmel senior football players Draco Smith and D.J. Romero have made verbal commitments to continue their careers at the collegiate level.

Smith will play at Northern Illinois; Romero at Illinois State.

Smith, who is a three-year starter at running back for the Caravan, said he will play on the other side of the ball at NIU.

"They told me I would be a defensive back and that is fine with me," Smith said. "I will play anywhere if it will help the team."

The Huskies won the Mid-American Conference championship last year and the GoDaddy.com Bowl.

Smith, a Hammond native, rushed for 750 yards and seven touchdowns as the Caravan beat Simeon to win the Prep Bowl at Soldier Field.

He said former Caravan quarterback Jordan Lynch, who is the Huskies' quarterback, was also a big influence. Lynch was the Times 2010 Male Athlete of the Year and 2009 Offensive Player of the Year.

"Jordan really helped me when I visited and he was part of the reason I am going to Northern," Smith said. "He showed me the ropes like he did at Mount Carmel. In fact, Northern has that family atmosphere like we do at Mount Carmel."

Romero is the Caravan's leading returning tackler with 73. The linebacker also had 16 tackles-for-loss and will be a defensive captain. He said with all the excitement going on at ISU, he wanted to be a part of it.

"I know they have a good program and they are committed," Romero said. "I want to be a part of the success. It is not too far from home and my parents can come to the home games."

Illinois State recently announced a major renovation of Hancock Stadium.

Last year, the Redbirds were 7-4 under coach Brock Spack.

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