Football: Taft commits to Monmouth College

Rochelle senior Trey Taft will continue his academics and his football career at Monmouth College next year. Taft intends to study business and psychology. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle senior intending to study business

Rochelle senior Trey Taft could feel his hands trembling with excitement as he read a text message from Monmouth College wide receivers coach Jack Healy. Taft was on his way to a track and field meet during his junior year when the message came through his phone. 

It was then that Taft’s first connection with Monmouth College was formed. Taft also recalled being awake on less than five hours of rest after his junior prom when he took his first visit to the Monmouth College campus. The experience was eye opening for the senior standout, who after making two more visits including a game day trip and an overnight visit, recently made the decision that he would continue his academics and his football career with the Fighting Scots. 

“I loved the facilities and everything about the program,” Taft said. “Coach Healy drove all the way out here just to talk with me and during my overnight visit, I had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the environment. The opportunity that was presented to me was the best opportunity for me. My favorite part about playing sports growing up has been the grind and that’s what I’m looking forward to most. I’m happy that I’ll have the chance to keep playing the sport I love.”

Taft concluded his high school career as a two-time Interstate 8 All-Conference First Team honoree. Taft started at wingback and outside linebacker over his junior and senior seasons for the Hubs, compiling 2,070 total yards and 21 touchdowns during the span. Taft rushed for 1,099 yards and 12 scores during his senior year, when he also led Rochelle with 200 receiving yards. Taft spent four years with the football program, with three years coming on the varsity team.

“Playing at Rochelle has made me tough and it’s made me not scared to hit somebody or block somebody,” Taft said. “It showed me what football should be. It’s a hard-nosed sport and the tougher team is going to win. That’s how it should be in this sport and I’ll never forget all of the memories I made here. Playing here made me fall in love with the sport even more.”

Taft said he intends to study business and minor in psychology while attending Monmouth College. The senior helped lead Rochelle to a combined 17-6 record over the last two seasons, with the Hubs reaching the second round of the IHSA Class 5A Playoffs during the 2021-22 season and the quarterfinal round of the IHSA 4A Playoffs during the 2022-23 season. Rochelle’s nine wins this past fall were the most for the program in a single season since 2004. 

“Coach Healy and I talked about my role with the team and we talked about having me play either running back or slot receiver,” Taft said. “I told him that I preferred playing on offense and we talked about where I could fit within the offense. I’m planning to attend a camp for the running backs and a camp for the wide receivers so I can figure out which position I like more.”