With a huge decision to make, two-sport star Jack Lausch carefully weighed his options.
Coming off a historic, award-winning senior year at Br. Rice, he could go to Northwestern University and play football or pursue a professional baseball career with the MLB Draft just around the corner.
However, Lausch knew where he belonged.
While he loves both sports, football is his favorite.
“It was definitely a decision that I thought about for a while, long before June,” Lausch said. “I love it here at Northwestern. I wanted to come play football here. I love the experience so far and the opportunity I’ll have. You think about it though, ‘Do this, do that.’ I went with my heart and my gut.”
Lausch, a 6’2”, 190-pound all-around athlete, was one of the top high school prospects in Illinois for July’s MLB Draft.
A four-year varsity player, he was a standout center fielder/pitcher for the Crusaders, able to impact games with his bat, arm, speed and defense.
But, the prospect of playing collegiate football was just too much to pass up. Navigating a recruiting world heavily impacted by the pandemic over the last two-plus years, Lausch received no scholarship offers and was ready to head to the University of Notre Dame as a preferred walk-on.
Then in late November 2021, Northwestern offered the star quarterback a scholarship.
For as long as he can remember, from his days at St. Barnabas Elementary School and on, Lausch has been a diehard football fan.
“I’ve always loved college and pro football,” Lausch said. “I love the fall and watching football. I’ve got a closet full of old jerseys from when I was a kid.”
Growing up a football fan, Lausch wasn’t drawn to just one team or even one player. He just loved watching playmakers at the quarterback position, from Marcus Mariota to Joe Burrow, from Johnny Manziel to Lamar Jackson.
As Br. Rice’s starting quarterback since midway through his sophomore season, Lausch developed as one of the best playmakers in Illinois.
Last year as a senior, he helped lead the Crusaders to the state semifinals as he powered a high-octane offense with his dual-threat abilities.
Lausch threw for 2,447 yards with 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions and also ran for 1,084 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Along with being named to the Class 7A All-State team, Lausch was also honored as the Chicago Catholic League (CCL) Lawless Award winner, which is presented to the league’s MVP.
However, Lausch wasn’t done yet.
Helping lead the Br. Rice baseball team to a state Class 4A third-place finish, Lausch was again named the CCL Lawless Award winner, a feat practically unheard of in the league’s storied history.
“That was pretty awesome to be named the Lawless winner twice,” Lausch said. “It was especially cool because it’s voted on by people in the league. It’s that respect from other teams. I couldn’t have done it, though, without my coaches, teammates, family and friends. Both teams, we made a ton of great memories, and I’m glad I was a part of it.”
As a senior, Lausch hit .386 with a .521 on-base percentage with 5 home runs, 43 RBI, 51 runs and 33 stolen bases, and he was named to the Class 4A All-State team.
After focusing on football and baseball the last few years, he also went out for the basketball team for the first time since his freshman season.
On top of his athletic honors, he was also named to the All-State Academic Team, an honor given to 26 of the top student-athletes across the state.
Juggling his sports schedule along with his studies, Lausch worked hard to keep it all together.
“It’s staying on top of your schoolwork, learning the weekly habits and managing your time,” Lausch said. “You get tired sometimes where you don’t want to do your assignments, but you focus on one day at a time and get everything done.”
Following the baseball team’s run to state, Lausch headed to Northwestern’s campus in Evanston in mid-June.
He’s getting ahead by taking classes to earn credits and is working out with his teammates.
Official team practices began in early August. Northwestern will travel to Dublin, Ireland, for its season opener against Nebraska on Aug. 27.
Two quarterbacks, Ryan Hilinski and Carl Richardson, return from last season for the Wildcats.
However, Lausch isn’t getting ahead of himself. He’s working hard and vowed to be ready whenever his chance comes along.
“The coaches always stress that the best players will play,” Lausch said. “You should prepare like you’re going to play and if you do, get the job done. The big thing is getting better every day and focus on improving. The guys have been great. It’s a fun team with a great bond and atmosphere. I can’t wait to start the season.”