Brad Kuchenbecker was eager to sign on with the coach who reached out to him after a devastating preseason injury.

Brad Kuchenbecker was eager to sign on with the coach who reached out to him after a devastating preseason injury.

The Washington Community High School senior signed a letter of commitment Feb. 27 with North Central College, where he will play football for the Naperville-based Cardinals.

"Coach (John) Thorn was there for me more than any other coach," said Kuchenbecker.

The Panther suffered a broken leg that sidelined him for the season. Thorn first exhibited concern for Kuchenbecker's welfare, then in later correspondence talked the football future.

Kuchenbecker said he is glad the recruiting process, which was rough at times, is finished.

He will go to an area he lived at until the age of 10 and play the game he called his family's "bread and butter."

Kuchenbecker could play defensive end or tight end. He added he hopes to be an All-American by his senior year.

"It's beneficial for me," said Kuchenbecker of preparing to play two positions on opposite sides of the ball. "That gives me a chance to start from the beginning."

For the D-end role, Kuchenbecker said he plans to work on getting off the ball.

As a tight end, which he played as a high school freshman, Kuchenbecker will address his speed and blocking and get back into pass-catching mode.

Kuchenbecker was a first-team all-Mid-Illini Conference honoree on defense as a junior for Washington head coach Darrell Crouch.

Following in his father's footsteps, Kuchenbecker intends to major in law enforcement/criminal justice with the hope of becoming a police officer.