Preps Talk

High Five: Edgy Tim's biggest undefeated surprises

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High Five: Edgy Tim's biggest undefeated surprises

With Week Six of the IHSA football season on the horizon, here are several teams having eye-opening performances thus far in 2017:

Marmion Academy (5-0): The Cadets and head coach Dan Thorpe are on a roll this fall, topped off by last week's big 28-27 win over Montini Catholic. Senior QB Brandon McPherson is a two sport standout (football/baseball) and the unquestioned team leader.  Marmion Academy will have its hands full for the remainder of the regular season, with the likes of Fenwick, St. Laurence, De La Salle and St. Rita looming on the schedule. That said, the Cadets have a very good chance at earning a higher seed in the 6A state playoff field. 

Oswego East (5-0): The Wolves graduated several key players from last year's playoff team, which included RB Ivory Kelly-Martin (Iowa) and QB Jaylon Banks (EIU). But head coach Tyson LeBlanc and staff have reloaded quite well this season. Junior QB/S Justin Clark just added his first offer recently from NIU. Illinois commit senior WR/DB Antwain Walker is another key contributor for the Wolves, who travel to rival Oswego (4-1) Friday night.

Buffalo Grove (5-0): The Bison, coached by Jeff Vik, had cautiously-high hopes entering 2017 with 11 starters back from last season's team. Buffalo Grove has received big seasons so far from junior RB/LB Tom Trieb and junior QB Connor Adams.  Buffalo Grove will have a few big tests remaining in Hersey (4-1) and Rolling Meadows (4-1). This is another team that is on pace for a higher seed in Class 7A. 

Eisenhower (5-0): The Cardinals have been able to post a few solid wins so far, but last Friday's 23-16 win at Oak Forest was undoubtedly the eye-opening victory. Coach Travis Moore and company still have South Suburban Red foes to deal with down the stretch. They will face Richards (3-2) on Friday and Shepard (4-1) in Week 8. Could the Cardinals be thinking conference title? 

Johnsburg (5-0): The Skyhawks, who made it to the 2016 4A state title game, also needed to reload the roster going into this season. They graduated 15 starters, 10 of which on offense. Senior Adam Jayko, who played defensive back and kicked last season, is having an All-State season at quarterback so far for head coach Dan DeBouef. 

[MORE: Preps Power Rankings, Week 6]

IHSA state playoff qualifiers from last season who have already been eliminated (0-5 teams) or are on the verge of being eliminated (1-4 teams) from the 2017 IHSA state playoff field:

Fremd (0-5)

Thornwood (0-5)

Vernon Hills (1-4)

Brother Rice (1-4)

Wheeling (1-4)

Bradley (1-4)
 

Recruiting news and notes: Glenbard West WR commits to Cincinnati

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Recruiting news and notes: Glenbard West WR commits to Cincinnati

Glenbard West senior three-star ranked wide receiver Alec Pierce (6-foot-3, 191 pounds) made a weekend official visit to the University of Cincinnati and on Monday night gave the Bearcats his verbal commitment. Pierce is also planning to sign a Letter of Intent on December 20th, the first day of the new early signing period.

"I had a great official visit to Cincinnati and I decided that I was ready to commit," Pierce said. "The visit really sold me on Cincinnati in several ways. I liked the school and the city, plus I also got along great with the coaches and the players. I really liked it all."

Pierce, who had scholarship offers from 16 different FBS and FCS level schools is part of a strong Chicagoland recruit haul for the Bearcats Class of 2018. Pierce joins Lyons Township three-star QB Ben Bryant, Chicago Mount Carmel two-star OL Jeremy Cooper and Simeon three-star wide receiver Jayshon Johnson. Pierce is also the 21st overall known verbal commitment for Cincinnati in the Class of 2018.

Oswego (IL) East senior two-star defensive back recruit Antwain Walker (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) made a weekend official visit to Northern Illinois University. Walker, who reopened his recruiting process after mutually agreeing to decommit from Illinois last week came away highly impressed with the NIU Huskies after his weekend visit.

"I just enjoyed hanging out with the players and the coaches along with the other recruits," Walker said. "I was really impressed with all of the people I met at NIU. The players and the coaches are just really good people with great personalities and it's impressive how tight the coaches are with the players. NIU also has a really good recruiting class and I already know a lot of those guys like Leon (Payne), Charles (Robinson), and Justin (Hall). They are all trying to get me to commit and they are also a really good bunch of guys."

Walker, who is on track to graduate from Oswego East later this month is also still hoping to make a college choice very soon.

"Western Michigan is still interested and so is Purdue. I don't have any other official visits set just yet. I'm just going to see how things go this week but I definitely have a lot more to think about after my NIU visit. I really had a great time."

Former Mount Carmel and current IMG Academy senior four-star offensive center recruit Verdis Brown (6-foot-4, 290 pounds) is planning to announce his college decision on Dec. 22 at Robert A. Black elementary school in Chicago. Brown, who has offers from multiple Power 5 schools made fall official visits to Florida State, Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri.

Lake Park junior offensive linemen Patrick Panasiuk (6-foot-3, 290 pounds) should be a very familiar name to those who follow football recruiting. Panasiuk, who is the younger brother of former Lake Park standouts and current Michigan State defensive linemen Mike Panasiuk and Jacub Panasiuk is also starting to draw increased recruiting interest this winter.

"I've stayed in touch with Michigan State along with Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ball State and Northern Illinois. Indiana," Patrick Panasiuk said. "Ball State and NIU made in school visits over the past few weeks. The feedback from the college coaches so far has been pretty positive. The coaches said they liked my junior tape and that they like how I play with a lot of aggressiveness."

So could Panasiuk, who played offensive tackle for the Lancers and head coach Chris Roll last season wind up playing on the defensive line along with his two older brothers?

"I played on the offensive line because my team needed me to play there. I'm totally open to play anywhere the coaches ask me to play and that includes the defensive line."

Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

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Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSPreps) crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m. The show also live streams at NBCSportsChicago.com/watchlive. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. the following Saturday. This week, we will see "Red" -- as in the Chicago Public League Red North/West conference. Which game is most worthy for our cameras? 

Westinghouse at Farragut, 5:00 p.m.

Marshall at Uplift, 6:30 p.m.

North Lawndale at Prosser, 6:30 p.m.

Poll opens Monday at 12 p.m. and closes Thursday at 4 p.m. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

— Follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @NBCSPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.