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Madison Memorial senior Jeremiah Jordan is experiencing a whirlwind week.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Jordan signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Illinois State on Wednesday, then will complete his high school studies Friday and graduate, saying how appreciative he is of the teachers and counselors at the school.

Come January, he will be in Normal, Illinois, as an early enrollee in college, where he gets a jump-start meeting teammates and classmates, beginning his academic work and starting the football training process of becoming “bigger, faster and stronger,” he said.

“It’s been a great day so far,” Jordan said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “It’s always been my dream to get to the next level in football. Since I started playing 10 years ago, it’s been a goal. It’s really exciting.”

The early signing period for NCAA Division I football began Wednesday and continues until Friday, and Wednesday’s area signings featured 6-4, 290-pound senior defensive lineman Keeanu Benton of Janesville Craig signing with the University of Wisconsin. Benton had a signing ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the high school, Janesville Craig athletic director Ben McCormick said. Benton was a first-team selection on The Associated Press and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State teams.

The regular signing period for Division I and II begins Feb. 6.

Jordan, recruited as a linebacker and strong safety, said Illinois State was the right fit for him.

“It means a lot to me,” said Jordan, interested in studying communications. “It will be a great opportunity for life. … Just like Memorial, they have a great team and great coaches. Everyone was welcoming and I was surrounded by great people every time I was there.”

Jordan played defensive back and linebacker for Madison Memorial, which shared the Big Eight Conference title with Sun Prairie. Jordan was an honorable mention selection on the AP and WFCA All-State teams as a defensive back.

Jordan and Beloit Memorial senior Matthew Wedig were among 11 student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent with Illinois State, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision program.

The 6-2, 225 pound Wedig played outside linebacker, tight end, punter and running back for the Purple Knights. He was a first-team selection on the AP All-State team as an all-purpose player and a first-team choice as an outside linebacker on the WFCA All-State team.

Illinois State is scheduled to play UW in 2022 at Camp Randall Stadium.

“That’s definitely exciting, playing against a Big Ten (Conference) school,” Jordan said.

Waunakee senior Reed Ryan made official his commitment to play at North Dakota State in Fargo.

The 6-4, 230-pound Ryan, a defensive end, was the WFCA Large Schools defensive player of the year; the Wisconsin State Journal/WisconsinPrepZone.com All-Area football team’s player of the year; a first-team All-State choice by the WFCA and AP; and the Badger North Conference defensive player of the year for league champion Waunakee.

“It means a lot to see all my hard work pay off through the years,” Ryan said after his signing ceremony at the high school. “For all the coaches and teachers that I have had, I really appreciate all they have done for me. I’m honored to be part of the Bison family.”

Ryan, who had made previous visits to the North Dakota State campus, said he took an official visit this past weekend. He watched North Dakota State defeat South Dakota State 44-21 in a semifinal Friday that advanced the Bison to the NCAA Division I FCS championship game against Eastern Washington on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.

Ryan said he felt reassured about North Dakota State’s coaching situation. Defensive coordinator Matt Entz recently was named to replace head coach Chris Klieman, who has accepted the Kansas State job after North Dakota State’s season is completed. Ryan, a standout wrestler for Waunakee, said he will start at North Dakota State in the summer.

Two of Ryan’s teammates at Waunakee, seniors Sawyer Maly (AP first-team All-State receiver) and Austin Keller (WFCA Large Schools first-team All-State tight end), have orally committed to Winona (Minn.) State and plan to sign in February, Waunakee coach Pat Rice said.

Mineral Point senior kicker Curtis Cox has committed to Minnesota-Duluth and plans to sign Feb. 6, Pointers coach Andy Palzkill said. Cox was a first-team selection as a kicker on the WFCA Small Schools All-State team.

Madison East senior C.J. Dean, a second-team selection as an inside linebacker on the Big Eight all-conference team, announced via Twitter Wednesday that he has orally committed to Bemidji (Minn.) State.

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Contact Jon Masson at jmasson@madison.com.

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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.