Preps Talk

Recruiting news and notes: Phillips' Jahleel Billingsley with over a dozen offers


Recruiting news and notes: Phillips' Jahleel Billingsley with over a dozen offers

Phillips head coach Troy McAllister once again will have a stable loaded with talent for the 2018 season, and the Wildcats junior tight end Jahleel Billingsley (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) is very quickly becoming one of the most sought after names in the Midwest this winter.

"It's been a pretty good last few weeks for me," Billingsley said. "I added recent offers from West Virginia, Michigan, Iowa and Florida."

Billingsley, who sits now with nearly 20 FBS level scholarship offers at least for now isn't in any hurry to make an early verbal commitment.

"I'm not really focused on a decision. I'm sure I'll eventually decide on a landing spot but that will be down the line. I definitely want to have a decision done before the start of my senior season so I can stay focused on my team and our season."

New Trier 2019 defensive end/tight end recruit Duke Olges (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) also has seen his recruiting stock soar over the past month or so.

"I have nine offers now and they definitely came in pretty quick," Olges said. "My head coach (Brian Doll) said it best, and that is no one wants you until someone wants you. Once I added that first offer it seemed like everyone took notice."

Olges recapped his latest offers along with his growing list of schools showing more interest this winter.

"My latest offer is from Cornell," he said. "I have offers now from Western Michigan, Cornell, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Toledo, Iowa State, NIU and Dartmouth. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz made an in-school visit in January. Iowa seems really interested. Northwestern is also in touch and they are looking at me as more of a defensive tackle. Vanderbilt was interested but my recruiting coach (Jeff Genyk) at Vanderbilt is now at Northwestern so I hope to hear from them again. I'm also in touch with Rutgers, Cincinnati and Duke."

Olges, who made a recent campus visit to Illinois and came away very impressed with head coach Lovie Smith and the Fighting Illini coaching staff, is hoping to make visits soon to Northwestern and Duke.

Nazareth Academy junior safety Jermaine Baker (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) is just one of several Roadrunners who is drawing steady recruiting attention this winter and recently added four new scholarship offers.

"My recruiting has been going well lately for sure," Baker said. "I visited Illinois State on Saturday for a Junior Day visit and they offered me. I have offers now from Illinois State, Yale, Cornell and also South Dakota State."

Baker, who visited Illinois State last weekend and walked away with an offer is also focused on his team and getting ready for his 2018 senior season.

"Our weight room routine has been pretty much the same in a lot of ways," Baker said. "This year it's different and it's much more intense. Everyone on this team is so hungry to get back to state and finish the job. We missed winning a state title by seven seconds and that theme has stayed with everyone this winter."

Joliet Catholic Academy junior offensive tackle recruit Dave Monnot III (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) has been able to add recent scholarship offers and is seeing more and more schools take notice.

"I have offers from NIU, Western Michigan and Toledo," Monnot III said. "I visited Illinois State this past weekend and I've also been in touch with Illinois, Minnesota and Central Michigan."

Monnot III is also hoping to continue making the rounds to visit more schools this winter and spring and is eyeing his next stops to see Illinois, Western Michigan and Toledo.

What to watch for in this weekend's state-title hockey game between Loyola Academy and Stevenson

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What to watch for in this weekend's state-title hockey game between Loyola Academy and Stevenson

A state champion will be crowned Saturday at the United Center, when Loyola Academy Gold plays Stevenson for the Boys Red Division State Championship.

Here are some of the storylines we’re watching ahead of the game.

1. Coaching connection: These two coaches have known each other for more than 20 years. Loyola head coach D.J. LaVarre coached against Stevenson head coach Tom Wood when Wood played youth hockey. LaVarre also knows Tom’s dad, Jim, who is the former head coach at Stevenson. Currently the coach Stevenson’s JV 2 team, Jim won the AHAI high school coach of the year in 2007.

2. Fun rewards for players of the game: At Stevenson, the player of the game is awarded a hard hat. At Loyola, it’s a championship belt.

3. International influence: Stevenson’s goalie, Elias Sandholm, is a transfer student from Sweden and has the highest save percentage in school history, .951. He made the all-state team and the Chicago Showcase team.

4. Next man up: In net for Loyola will most likely be Hugh Brady, a senior who stepped up when Thomas Moran went down with a hip injury. Brady has played 47 games and has a .945 save percentage.

5. A drought will be snapped: Stevenson has never won a state championship. Loyola is looking for its first since 1996.

Puck drop is at 3 p.m., with the girls’ state championship game, Glenbrook vs. New Trier, starting at 11:30 a.m.

One more fun note: Team USA gold medalist and Palos Heights native Kendall Coyne will drop the ceremonial puck prior to both games.

St. Charles North's Peyton Brown, Tyler Nubin ready for their time in the spotlight

St. Charles North's Peyton Brown, Tyler Nubin ready for their time in the spotlight

St. Charles North has been one of the more impressive on the rise IHSA football programs over the past four seasons, and the North Stars feature some big time names along with names to watch for the 2018 season. 

North Stars junior QB Peyton Brown (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) needed to sit and wait his turn last season, but Brown is already drawing serious recruiting attention and traction this early spring from several FBS and FCS schools. Brown is expected to draw plenty of college coaches at his upcoming spring workouts once the spring recruiting evaluation begins in mid April. 

While Peyton Brown is trying to gain more recruiting attention this spring, St. Charles North junior defensive back Tyler Nubin (6-foot-2, 188 pounds) is approaching 20 scholarship offers this early spring with his latest offer coming from Michigan. Nubin has also started to draw national recruiting attention and Nubin will also see his share of Power 5 college coaches in school this spring.

I had a chance to catch up with Peyton Brown and Tyler Nubin at the sixth annual Franklin Middle School Dodgeball Tournament in Wheaton. Proceeds from the event benefited the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Cammy Can, Jack’s Army and Franklin Middle School.