Print Friendly Version The Drake University football team has received commitments from four student-athletes for the 2019 season during the NCAA’s early signing period, acting head coach Todd Stepsis announced Wednesday, Dec. 19.The incoming Bulldogs include three standouts from Illinois and a defender from Iowa.Joining the Bulldogs will be Gage Vander Leest (Lynnville, Iowa), Michael Markett (Chicago, Ill.), Scott West (Lombard, Ill.) and Nolan Engmann (Huntley, Ill.)”This incoming group features a quarterback, a dominant defensive lineman and two dynamic defenders that can run, cover and hit,” Stepsis said. “That is the formula for how you build a successful football team. We can’t wait to get these guys on campus to start working with them. They are an incredible start to this recruiting class and game-changers. They are going to add so much to our team and campus community not only athletically, but academically, socially and spiritually.”Gage Vander Leest is a defensive back from nearby Lynnville, Iowa, that recently finished his senior season at Lynnville-Sully High School who earned second team all-state honors. A dynamic athlete, Vander Leest is also an all-state competitor in track and his school’s student body president.Michael Markett is a first-team all-state quarterback at Chicago’s Marist High School and his conference’s Player of the Year. The skilled passer threw for 2,032 yards as a senior with 17 touchdowns and also ran for 944 yards and 11 touchdowns. He led Marist to an appearance in the Illinois Class 8A semifinal game and was also an academic All-State honoree.Scott West helped lead Montini High School to the Illinois Class 5A state title game while leading the team in interceptions with six while recording three tackles for loss and 64 total stops on the season. West was also one of the team’s top receivers with 452 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 14 catches.The staff also added a defensive lineman to help bolster what was already one of the nation’s top defensive lines. Nolan Engmann joins the Bulldogs after recording 24 tackles for Huntley High School along with two tackles for loss and a sack.The quartet joins a program that has recorded 14 winning seasons in the last 15 years and finished second in the Pioneer Football League this past season. The Bulldogs closed the season by nearly upsetting No. 24 Iowa State in the 2018 finale before falling, 27-24. Led by a defense that ranked in the top 15 nationally in almost every category, the Bulldogs earned a total of four All-America honors in 2018.