Preps Talk

Chicagoland football recruiting heating up this spring

Chicagoland football recruiting heating up this spring

Libertyville junior defensive tackle Ryan O'Malley (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) - who had been committed to Illinois under former head coach Tim Beckman since late February - was told last week that his verbal commitment to the Fighting Illini was being rescinded. O'Malley then Tweeted out that he was reopening up his recruiting process.

"I was asked to call up the coaches at Illinois last week," O'Malley said. "I called and they told me that they decided to rescind my scholarship offer. The coaches said that they decided to go with a different scheme on defense and that it wouldn't be a good fit for me. To be honest I was a bit nervous about the hiring of the new coaches at Illinois. I really liked the old staff and it just didn't feel the same. I'm disappointed because I loved Illinois so much and they are a big part of my family."

Loyola Academy junior offensive guard Jack Badovinac (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) made a visit last week to Colgate and a few days later gave the Raiders his verbal commitment.

"Colgate is just a great fit for me and they offer everything I was looking for in a school," according to Badovinac. "Colgate has an amazing campus. It's just a great looking school and setting in upstate New York. I was also really impressed with the facilities along with the overall football program."

Marist junior defensive back Robert Topps (6-foot-2, 182 pounds) has quickly seen his recruiting stock take off. Topps - who made a weekend visit to Wisconsin - now has 10 scholarship offers having added his latest offers on Tuesday from Nevada and Bowling Green.

"Both Nevada and Bowling Green made in-school visits on Tuesday," according to Topps. "The coaches at both schools asked me to call them after school and that's when they offered. It's been pretty hectic the past few weeks, but in a great way."

Topps is also starting to draw increased recruiting looks from a handful of Big Ten schools. 

"I visited Wisconsin last Saturday and I had a great visit," he said. "Michigan State has also started to text me and they want me to come out and visit them soon."

Topps has scholarship offers so far from Buffalo, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Illinois State, Miami of Ohio, Nevada, New Mexico, NIU, Western Michigan and Wyoming.

Need proof that the football recruiting process is being pushed ahead earlier and earlier? All you need to do is look at the Rivals.com early spring Class of 2017 Top 20 recruiting rankings. 

Out of the Top 15 recruits in the Top 20 ranking, over half (9) have already given verbal commitment with Jacobs quarterback Chris Katrenick (Bowling Green) being the latest Land of Lincoln top-ranked name to make a verbal commitment. 

Need even more evidence of the recruiting clock being pushed ahead? Out of the Top 5 recruits in the State of Illinois Class of 2017, four out of the five are already verbally committed. Top-ranked Edwardsville defensive end AJ Epenesa (Iowa), Neuqua Valley athlete Isaiah Robertson (Notre Dame), St. Viator tight end Cole Kmet (Notre Dame) and Maine South offensive guard Kevin Jarvis (Michigan State) all committed. Only East St. Louis four-star ranked wide receiver Jeff Thomas is uncommitted and Thomas has scholarship offers from across the country this spring.

I fully expect nearly all of the current Top 20 recruits in the Rivals.com early spring Top 20 to be committed by mid summer at the latest.

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

High School Lites had a busy show as it was the final week of the regular season for IHSA boys basketball Class 3A and 4A. The Class 1A and 2A playoffs also tipped in boys basketball as the show has some thrilling regional titles that were decided in the final minute. And finally, the girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals were played on Friday as the state's top teams played in Bloomington.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest news and scores for IHSA basketball.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Richards wrestler Mia Palumbo

Saint Xavier Team of the Week: Simeon boys basketball

Highlights

Marshall shocks Leo in Class 2A regional final

Aurora Christian runs past Harvert Christian for 1A regional title

Buzzer-beater lifts Monticello over Gibson City for regional title

Jacobs goes unbeaten in Fox Valley with win over Dundee-Crown

West Aurora gets by rival East Aurora

Yorkville completes season sweep of DeKalb

Lemont escapes past T.F. North

Marshall needs OT to get past Teutopolis in girls 2A semifinals

Harlan takes down Eureka in 2A semifinals

Stockton runs by Okaw Valley in 1A

Schlarman races by Lebanon

Boys Basketball Playoffs begin on busy week of High School Lites

Boys Basketball Playoffs begin on busy week of High School Lites

High School Lites is down to the final week of the regular season in local high school hoops as the Class 3A and 4A schools finish up conference play. The boys basketball playoffs have also started as the Class 1A and Class 2A regional championships will be played on Friday night.

The girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals will also be featured. You can catch all of those games on NBC Sports Chicago on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. with the 1A semifinals. High School Lites will air Friday night at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago

East Aurora at No. 11 West Aurora, 7:00 p.m. -- These two rivals meet for the 225th time. The Blackhawks (20-4, 9-0) won the first matchup by 22 points as they try to finish the season on a 12-game winning streak. 

Jacobs at Dundee-Crown, 7:00 p.m. -- Fox Valley rivals match up as Jacobs tries to go unbeaten in the conference. The Eagles (23-3, 15-0) has been playing very well as they've won 20 of 21 games heading into this one -- including an earlier win against Dundee-Crown. The Chargers (14-11, 10-4) has won seven consecutive games since dropping to the Golden Eagles as they're second in the Fox Valley heading into this one. 

Yorkville at DeKalb, 7:00 p.m. -- The top two teams in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East play in this one. DeKalb (16-11, 11-1) has already clinched a share of the conference title as the team's only league loss has come against Yorkville. The Foxes (17-8, 10-2) knocked off DeKalb at their place on Feb. 3 as they try to win again to get a piece of the division title. 

T.F. North at Lemont, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the better teams in the South Suburban Blue battle on the eve of the playoffs. Lemont (17-8, 9-3) has picked up three straight wins entering this one. T.F. North (11-9, 9-3) is trying to build some momentum after recent close losses to Hillcrest and T.F. South.

Carmel at No. 10 Benet, 7:30 p.m. -- The ESCC closes out its season with this one. Benet (22-4, 7-1) is coming off a nice road win at Marian Catholic earlier this week. Carmel (17-10, 4-4) knocked off Joliet Catholic during the week as they've been a dangerous team in the ESCC. 

Class 2A Boys Basketball Regional Championships

Leo vs. Marshall, 6 p.m. -- The Lions are the favorites but the Commandos are the host of this regional title game. Leo (20-5, 8-0) has a 13-game winning streak as they won the Catholic League White. Marshall (8-17, 4-5) struggled in the win column but they were a competitive 4-5 in a very deep Public League Red-South. 

Uplift vs. Northridge, 7 p.m. -- This should be an interesting battle as Uplift is playing on the road at Northridge. Uplift (17-9, 6-3) has played an extremely competitive schedule that includes a recent close loss to No. 1 Simeon as Kansas commit Markese Jacobs and senior forward Toraze Dobbs are one of the best combinations in the Class 2A field. Northridge (22-5, 12-0) went unbeaten in the Independent School League this season as they're riding a 13-game winning streak.

Class 1A Boys Basketball Regional Championships 

Aurora Christian vs. Harvest Christian, 7 p.m. -- These two teams play for the third time this season in what should be an interesting regional title game. Aurora Christian (23-1, 10-0) is the host as they only lost to Winnebago this season. The Eagles beat Harvest Christian twice in a six-day span in December. Harvest Christian (18-8, 8-2) finished third in the Northeastern Athletic as they played the second game within two points. 

Class 1A Girls Basketball State Semifinals

Okaw Valley vs. Stockton, 11 a.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Okaw Valley (29-5) is making its first state appearance after winning its first regional title in school history. Stockton (31-2) finished under .500 last season (13-15) and had an amazing turnaround that includes a current 15-game winning streak. 

Lebanon vs. Schlarman, 12:45 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- These two teams have combined for two losses this season as this should be a good one. Lebanon (31-1) just won its first sectional title in school history as they've now moved on to state. Schlarman (31-1) is led by junior Anaya Peoples, a Notre Dame commit and five-star prospect in the Class of 2019. 

Class 2A Girls Basketball State Semifinals

Harlan vs. Eureka, 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Two red-hot teams play in the first semifinal in Class 2A. Harlan (25-6) is riding a 12-game winning streak as this is its first appearance at state for girls basketball. Eureka (28-3) has a 19-game winning streak as they make their first state appearance since 1988.

Marshall vs. Teutopolis, 7:15 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Two storied programs in the state match up in this one. Marshall (20-7) will be making its 21st state appearance as head coach Dorothy Gaters is one of the most storied coaches in Illinois. Teutopolis is making its 17th appearance at state as the Lady Shoes (28-6) seek their first title since 1995.