Preps Talk

Crystal Lake Central 2018 OL Wyatt Blake pledges to Northwestern

Crystal Lake Central 2018 OL Wyatt Blake pledges to Northwestern

Crystal Lake Central three star ranked offensive guard Wyatt Blake (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) made his college decision public today. Blake gave Northwestern his verbal commitment at a press conference in the school's library. He had narrowed down his list of favorites to the Wildcats and Minnesota before naming Northwestern as his school of choice.

"It was everything," Blake said when asked why he pledged to Northwestern. "I knew that I wanted to play for Northwestern and I was ready (to commit)."

Blake is now the seventh overall verbal commitment and the fifth known in state commitment to the Wildcats Class of 2018. Blake joins Lincoln-Way East defensive end Devin O'Rourke, Libertyville three star ranked offensive linemen Charlie Schmidt, New Trier three star ranked tight end Brian Kaiser and Dunlap three star ranked tight end Charlie Mangieri as part of the Wildcats in-state class.

Blake pointed toward a recent recruit overnight on campus unofficial visit as a big factor in making his decision. 

"My overnight visits was a big factor in my decision. I knew after that weekend that I was ready to commit. I was able to get a better feel for the school, the coaches and the team and I was able to get answers for all of my questions."

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 3 Simeon

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 3 Simeon

School: Simeon

2016-17 record: 30-4, 8-2 Public League Red-South

Postseason results: Lost to Whitney Young in Class 4A Title Game

Players to watch: Senior Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State) is one of the area's premier two-way players. Senior forward Messiah Jones (Drake) is an elite leaper and rebounder. Talented junior guard KeJuan Clements is also back. The Wolverines also added some intriguing transfers in Xavier Pinson (St. Pat's) and Northwest Indiana native Zion Young. Both Pinson and Young have Division I interest and add even more perimeter firepower. 

Why they're in the power rankings: On paper, you could argue that Simeon is the most talented team in the state this season. The Wolverines have proven veterans who have won city titles and Division I transfers at multiple positions. But how will all of the pieces fit together? This is a fascinating group with a high ceiling.

Did you know? Making it back to Peoria last season, Simeon has now made 13 state finals appearances.

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 4 Orr

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 4 Orr

2016-17 record: 23-5, 8-2 Public League Red-West

Postseason results: Won Class 2A State Championship.

Players to watch: Seniors Dannie Smith and Raekwon Drake are both major All-Area threats after strong junior seasons. Another senior, Ty Mosley, might actually be the best long-term college prospect of the group as he's pledged to Milwaukee for next season. Sharpshooter Brian Hernandez is another seasoned veteran who has a knack for making big plays.

Why they're in the power rankings: The Spartans return most of last season's Class 2A title team and they also added some key transfers in former Marian Catholic point guard Chase Adams and former Clark wing Demarius Splunge. While the Spartans should be the heavy favorites to repeat in Class 2A, they haven't made as much noise in the Public League Playoffs, which is why they're still behind some of the other schools in the preseason Power Rankings.

Did you know? Orr was absolutely dominant during its Class 2A title run last March as the Spartans won by an average of 21 points. Only one team, Uplift, even played Orr to within single digits and that was still a nine-point margin of victory.