Preps Talk

Recruiting News and Notes: Justin Hall commits to NIU

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Recruiting News and Notes: Justin Hall commits to NIU

Justin Hall (ATH), Homewood-Flossmoor

Northern Illinois University landed its ninth in-state verbal commitment when Homewood-Flossmoor senior athlete Justin Hall (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) decided to stay closer to home and commit to the Huskies.

"I just really interacted well with the coaches as well as the players at NIU," Hall said. "It's really a family feeling in the football program at NIU and I just always have felt comfortable there. I was looking to also stay closer to home and it all just came together for me at NIU. I can stay closer to home and play for a team that has had a lot of success. NIU also offers a good education and it just feels like the best fit for me so I committed."

Hall, who was recruited by NIU head coach Rod Carey as a defensive back, can also return kicks and punts and plans to contribute to the Huskies return teams. Hall joins his Homewood-Flossmoor teammate in defensive linemen Jeff Griffin, Andrew defensive end Mike DeHaan, Decatur MacArthur wide receiver Amir Brummett, Phillips defensive tackle Queneil Morrison, Palatine outside linebacker Cortez Hogans, Simeon wide receiver Leon Payne, Rich Central athlete Jyran Mitchell and Maine South running back Fotis Kokosioulis in the NIU in-state Class of 2018. 

Brett Groves (OT), Cary-Grove

Cary-Grove senior offensive tackle Brett Groves (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) decided last week to end his recruiting process and give Southern Illinois head coach Nick Hill his verbal commitment.

"It was ready to make my decision so I called up coach Hill and gave SIU my verbal commitment," Groves aid. "I never had any set date to make my decision but with the start of practices I wanted to make my decision so I can focus on my team and my season."

Groves, who also was drawing recruiting looks from FBS schools such as Iowa State and NIU, decided he didn't want to pass up his opportunity at Southern Illinois.

"SIU just has a lot to offer. I really get a long great with the coach. Both coach Hill and coach (Trevor) Olson are good people and also very good coaches. I like the direction that the football program is headed. SIU also has a great looking campus and I just really like the surrounding area. SIU is a bit of a smaller school but still has that bigger school feel. I was also impressed with the facilities at SIU along with the academic support for athletes. I know that I'll get a good education at SIU. It's just the best for me."

Josh Shodipo (DB), Oswego

Oswego senior defensive back Josh Shodipo (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) also decided to make his college decision before the opening of team practice and give Western Illinois University his verbal commitment.

"My recent visit was a big reason why I decided to commit to WIU," Shodipo said. "WIU is a good school and I already know some people going to school there. I really like the coaches at WIU along with the players. I'm also a good fit into the WIU defense. They recruited me as a corner back but the coaches also feel I could also play some safety for them. The visit to WIU just made me feel really comfortable with the school along with the coaches and the team. WIU feels like home to me."

Jayleen Fitzpatrick (LB), Glenbard North

No one was as happy to see the official start of IHSA football practices last Monday than Glenbard North senior linebacker Jayleen Fitzpatrick (6-foot-0, 205 pounds). Fitzpatrick, who suffered an 2016 early season-ending injury, is back and 100 percent ready to go.

"I am so ready to go," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm like overly excited for the season. It's been a lot of work and rehab to get back but now I'm back."

Fitzpatrick, who will be one of the leaders for the Panthers defense this fall, will draw several college coaches attention and serious looks at his early senior year game video.

"This month I've been in touch with a lot of different schools and they all want to know when I was cleared and back with the team. I've been talking to some DII schools like Grand Valley State and the University of Indianapolis, plus some smaller schools like UW Whitewater. They all want to see some of my senior tape."

Recruiting news and notes: Simeon's Alante Brown verbally commits to Miami of Ohio

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Recruiting news and notes: Simeon's Alante Brown verbally commits to Miami of Ohio

Simeon junior quarterback Alante Brown (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) earlier this week decided to give Miami of Ohio his verbal commitment. Brown, who narrowed down his Top 4 schools to the Redhawks along with NIU, Western Michigan and Toledo pointed towards a few key reasons he gave Miami of Ohio his commitment.

"I was able to see everything that Miami has to offer," Brown said. "They offer a great education and very strong overall academics. The football program is heading in the right direction plus they already have a younger team. I'm hoping to help bring in even more kids in my class and I've already started to work on a few guys from here about Miami."

West Aurora sophomore defensive tackle Denver Warren (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) has been one of the top recruit names to watch in the Class of 202 in Illinois. Warren, who has scholarship offers from the likes of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State and Iowa State made a recent visit to Illinois.

"I had a good visit to Illinois," according to Warren. "They have a great overall energy and I just liked it. Illinois also has a strong brotherhood between the players and the coaches. The coaching staff at Illinois is pretty amazing. It was my first time ever at Illinois and I liked the facilities and the stadium. Illinois is also pretty close to home. I just came away impressed with the bond between the players and the coaches at Illinois."

Warren is also planning to transfer at the end of the spring semester to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

"It's a great opportunity and I want to go and get better and take my game to the highest level. My Mom and I have looked really hard at everything and I made my final decision and talked to my coaches about it. I'm going to visit IMG Academy on May 10th and 11th and I'll go back to register for school on July 14th."

St. Charles North junior three-star ranked defensive back Tyler Nubin (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) made a verbal commitment to Minnesota Thursday morning.

"I had a really good visit to Minnesota," Nubin said. "I spent the day with Coach (PJ) Fleck and the defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae. Their coaching staff is just unbelievable and the facilities are top notch."

Nubin held 16 scholarship offers this spring, including six offers from the Big Ten conference.  

Momence junior three-star ranked athlete Jason Bargy (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) has drawn nine Power 5 scholarship offers so far this spring and made a recent visit to Illinois.

"I wanted to see the tempo and how the coaches get after the players," Bargy told Orange and BlueNews.com's Doug Buschon. "How the guys interact with each other. "

Bargy, who doesn't plan to announce any Top schools list is planning to make a college decision "over the next few months." 

Recruiting news and notes: Phillips' Joseph Thompson commits to Iowa State

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USA TODAY

Recruiting news and notes: Phillips' Joseph Thompson commits to Iowa State

Phillips junior three-star ranked defensive back Joseph Thompson (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) decided to give Iowa State his early verbal commitment after making a recent on campus visit to Ames, Iowa.

"I know that Iowa State is where I want to be so I committed," according to Thompson. "I just didn't want to wait and waste my time and other coaches time so I decided to commit. I'm planning to also enroll early at Iowa State."

Thompson chose Iowa State after considering offers from the likes of Illinois, NIU, Western Michigan and Southern Miss.

Nazareth Academy freshman quarterback JJ McCarthy (6-foot-0, 174 pounds) who added his first FBS scholarship offer last summer when Iowa State extended a verbal scholarship offer made a second on campus visit recently to Iowa State and filled us in on his impressions.

"It was really good (at Iowa State)," McCarthy said. "I got to meet new QB coach (Joel Gordon) and he's awesome. Iowa State's coaching staff really stands out to me along with the overall family environment. Everyone knows everyone at Iowa State and everyone gets along. I love the way they communicate with the team and players. They also do one heck of a job recruiting."

So what has McCarthy been focusing in on this offseason?

"I've been focusing on developing the relationships with my teammates so they know I'm willing to run through a wall for them," he said. "I'm also focusing on getting bigger and stronger and working out five days a week. I'm up to 174 pounds now so it's been working. I've also been working in the film room, developing my mind as a quarterback for varsity football."

Crystal Lake South four-star ranked offensive tackle recruit Trevor Keegan (6-foot-6, 315 pounds) has been more focused on his baseball season so far this spring but Keegan is still paying attention to his football recruiting as well.

"I'm going to visit Notre Dame today (Thursday)," Keegan said. "I think this is the fourth or fifth time I've visited Notre Dame now. I've also been getting some new contact lately from both USC and UCLA."

Keegan, who has offers from multiple Power 5 programs from across the country this spring is also hoping to narrow down his list of favorite schools sometime soon.

"I don't have any top schools list yet," he said. "I'm gonna try to put together a Top 15 schools list sometime soon."

Oak Lawn Richards junior three-star ranked safety Sebastian Castro (6-foot-1, 198 pounds) has been looking harder at his offers and options while making spring campus visits.

"I'm definitely getting a bit more serious with everything," Castro said. "I'm starting to break things down and look harder at the academic side along with the football side on my visits."

Castro, who made a recent return visit to Iowa came away impressed with the Hawkeyes. 

"I made a visit a few weeks ago to Iowa," he said. "I liked it a lot and I've been to Iowa three times so I pretty much know what to expect when I visit them. Iowa is just impressing me more and more. I can just see myself fitting into the culture."

Castro is also schedule to make a third visit to Minnesota this Saturday and hopes to get out to visit Iowa State later this spring.