Preps Talk

Recruiting News and Notes: Luke Ford commits to Arkansas

Recruiting News and Notes: Luke Ford commits to Arkansas

Luke Ford (TE), Carterville

Carterville High School three-star ranked junior tight end Luke Ford (6-foot-7, 250 pounds) ended his recruiting process on Monday. Ford, who was drawing national recruiting interest and scholarship offers this winter, made an unofficial visit to Arkansas this past weekend and gave Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema his verbal commitment.

"I'm pumped right now, if you can't tell," Ford told HogSports.com's Danny Ford on Monday. "I am pumped. This is awesome, I'm so excited. I'm happy to shut down the recruitment and just focus on school and sports now. I'm committed. I loved everything about Arkansas that I saw. I just don't know what to say, I'm pumped."

Gavin McCabe (DT), Marist

Marist junior three-star ranked defensive tackle recruit Gavin McCabe (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) has 24 scholarship offers this winter and remains on multiple recruiting radars.

"I have 24 offers so far," McCabe said. "It's been fun but in all honesty it's also been sort of crazy."

McCabe will remain busy this spring by making multiple unofficial visits.

"I've been able to visit Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State and Miami (OH) so far and I also went to games at Michigan State, Kansas State and Iowa State," McCabe said. "I'm looking to make a trip out East soon and visit schools such as Boston College, Syracuse, Rutgers, Virginia and North Carolina. I also want to head down South and see Arkansas and Kansas. I know that I'll also head back to visit schools like Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Iowa and Wisconsin. I also want to get all of these visits in by the end of spring recruiting."

Samson Evans (ATH), Prairie Ridge

While Prairie Ridge three-star ranked athlete Samson Evans (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) was hoping to have a handful of scholarship offers at this stage of his recruiting process, he admits to being pleasantly surprised by his success on the recruiting trail so far this winter.

"I have 11 offers now and I had no idea I would have so many offers at this point a year ago," Evans said. "I also just didn't expect to have as many quality offers as I have right now. I was hoping to maybe build up to some bigger Power 5 offers so it's been a great surprise."

Evans also shared his gameplan in regards to his recruiting process.

"I have a top schools list in my head but I won't be releasing any top schools list," Evans said. "I would like to be done with recruiting before the start of the season. I might decide then or I might decide at the end of spring or maybe even earlier. It all just depends when I feel ready and comfortable in making my decision. Once I'm 100 percent comfortable with a school then I'll make my choice."

Does Evans get any recruiting pitches from teammate and good friend Jeff Jenkins, who recently committed to Iowa?

"Jeff and I have lunch together every day and he makes sure to let me know where he stands with Iowa and that he wants me to commit to them," Evans said. "It's not over the top all the time, but he always seems to be wearing Hawkeyes gear a lot when ever we hang out."

Dashaun Mallory (DT), Bolingbrook

Bolingbrook junior defensive tackle Dashaun Mallory (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) is starting to see his recruiting stock take off over the past month. Mallory, who has early offers so far from Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Iowa State, NIU, Toledo and Wyoming, also made a recent visit to Michigan State.

"I was able to visit Michigan State a few weeks ago and it was awesome," Mallory said. "I really enjoyed myself at Michigan State and it was an amazing experience. The coaches at Michigan State said they love my game and want to get me back on campus. They want me to keep working hard and also stay in touch."

Mallory has also been in touch this month with coaches from Arkansas, Penn State, Michigan, Louisville, Kansas State, North Dakota State and Western Michigan.

The latest AP preps boys and girls basketball poll

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The latest AP preps boys and girls basketball poll

Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school basketball teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:

BOYS BASKETBALL

Class 4A

Others receiving votes: New Trier 13, Bloomington 12, Oak Park-River Forest 12, Normal West 10, Evanston 5, Fenwick 5, Lincoln Park 4, Maine South 3, Rockford Jefferson 3, Quincy 3, Loyola 1.

Class 3A

Others receiving votes: Lincoln 7, St. Rita 4, Benton 3, Burlington Central 2, Murphysboro 2, Morton 1.

Class 2A

Others receiving votes: Teutopolis 18, St. Joseph-Ogden 16, Bloomington Central Catholic 15, Corliss 14, Chicago Uplift 5, Trenton Wesclin 2, Deer Creek-Mackinaw 1, Quincy Notre Dame 1.

Class 1A

Others receiving votes: New Berlin 16, Cairo 10, Okawville 5, Bushnell (B-Prairie City) 5, Newark 4, Nokomis 2, Decatur Lutheran (LSA) 1, Cissna Park 1.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Class 4A

Others receiving votes: Springfield 9, Marist 8, Whitney Young 2, Bolingbrook 1, Bradley-Bourbonnais 1, Chatham Glenwood 1, Naperville Central 1, Normal West 1.

Class 3A

Others receiving votes: Burlington Central 8, Bishop McNamara 4, Breese Central 3, Sycamore 1

Class 2A

Others receiving votes: Chicago Marshall 15, Harvest Christian Academy 11, Williamsville 9, Tuscola 3, Nashville 3, Knoxville 1, Harlan 1, Hall 1, Auburn 1, Pana  1.

Class 1A

Others receiving votes: Okawville 6, East Dubuque 6, Colfax Ridgeview 5.

Colleges now focusing on underclassmen in always-shifting recruiting calendar

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Colleges now focusing on underclassmen in always-shifting recruiting calendar

Every year around this time college football recruiting comes out of its post-holiday hibernation, otherwise known as the dead period, and fires up again. The NCAA-mandated dead period came to an end Monday morning, and high schools across the state saw an influx of college coaches in their buildings on Tuesday.

Yet unlike other years, this recruiting period took on a new significance.

"College coaches at this time of the year are usually babysitting its verbally committed seniors and making sure that they are all set to sign in February," Phillips head coach Troy McAllister said. "Now with the early signing period in December, most of the FBS and FCS schools are all done recruiting the 2018 kids and are now going all in on underclassmen."

McAllister reported eight colleges — Dartmouth, Iowa State, Purdue, Penn State, Morgan State, Syracuse, South Dakota State and West Virginia — came though his school on Tuesday and saw more than a few Wildcat underclassmen land verbal scholarship offers.

"I had a junior (defensive back Fabian McCray), a sophomore (defensive back Ronald Pledger) and even a freshman (defensive tackle Dominick Bass) pick up scholarship offers yesterday," he said. "We are expecting more and more coaches to come into school this week. A few of the coaches came into check on the seniors but even they are starting to work on the next class. This has always been a busy time of the year with recruiting, but now college coaches want to move ahead and get after the younger kids earlier than ever."

"We've had several college coaches in school so far," Bolingbrook head coach John Ivlow said. "And none of them have talked about any of the seniors. Zero. The game plan for them was to finish up the seniors in December and focus this month completely on the next class and that's exactly how it's gone."

Ivlow also feels that with the implementation of the early signing period, seniors now more than ever need to make a much quicker college decision or get left with far more limited college options.

"Kids who waited on the bigger level schools to offer them are still waiting, and it doesn't look promising. Kids are going to need to make a decision earlier and earlier otherwise they stand to lose out on some good college offers and options."