Cary-Grove

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."

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 22 Huntley

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 22 Huntley

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25., we unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings.

School: Huntley

Head coach: Mark Zimolzak

Assistant coaches: Mike Slattery - OC/Quarterbacks, Mike Naymola - Receivers, Joel Bosman - Assist. Receivers, Craig Kastning - Running Backs, Chris Babyar - Offensive Line, Zack Borring - Assist. Receivers, Cliff Pawlak - Defensive Backs, Paul Reinke - Linebackers, Ben Salomon - Defensive Line, Keith Mooney - Assist. Defensive Line, Gary Swanson - Strength Coach, Will Benson - Scout Teams Coordinator, Mike Doty - Assist. Offensive Line, Doug Millsaps - Assist. Quarterbacks.

How they fared in 2016: 8-4 (8-2 Fox Valley Conference), made the Class 8A state playoff field, defeated Stevenson and Fremd before losing to Loyola in the quarterfinal round.

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 23 Cary-Grove]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 @ Jacobs

Sept. 1 vs. Prairie Ridge

Sept. 9 @ Dundee-Crown

Sept. 15 vs. Hampshire

Sept. 23 vs. Cary-Grove

Sept. 28 @ West Aurora

Oct. 5 vs. Crystal Lake Central

Oct. 14 @ Crystal Lake South

Oct. 20 @ McHenry

Biggest storyline: Can the Red Raiders make a deeper run in Class 8A?

Names to watch this season: senior QB Eric Mooney, senior LB Charlie Zornow

Biggest holes to fill: The Red Raiders will need to reload on the offensive line this summer with just one returning starter back in senior Joey Wilson.

EDGY's early take: Huntley made a nice run under Zimolzak in Class 8A last postseason and several key starters return this fall, including All-State quarterback Mooney. The Red Raiders program has continued to make impressive, steady progress on the field. One of these days, sooner rather than later, Huntley will challenge for a Class 8A state title. 

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 23 Cary-Grove

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 23 Cary-Grove

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25., we unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings.

School: Cary-Grove

Head coach: Brad Seaburg

Assistant coaches: Don Sutherland, Mike Walston, Dean Schlueter, Matt Ruhland, Matt Furlong, Mike Manning, Phil Raffaelli, Ryan Passaglia, Ryan Ludwig

How they fared in 2016: 10-2 (7-1 Fox Valley Conference), made the Class 6A state playoff field, defeated Wheeling and Grayslake North then lost to DeKalb in the quarterfinal round. 

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 24 Simeon]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 @ Prairie Ridge

Sept. 1 vs. McHenry

Sept. 9 @ Hampshire

Sept. 15 vs. Jacobs

Sept. 23 @ Huntley

Sept. 28 vs. Dundee-Crown

Oct. 5 vs. Crystal Lake South

Oct. 14 @ South Elgin

Oct. 20 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Trojans win the Fox Valley Conference in 2017?

Names to watch this season: senior QB Quinn Priester, senior FB/DB Max Skol 

Biggest holes to fill: The Trojans will need to replace both the leadership and production loss with the graduation of FB/LB Tyler Pennington (Arkansas).

EDGY's early take: Cary Grove never takes a backseat to anyone, whether in the Fox Valley or in the state playoffs. Priester will run the Trojans option game and has plenty of talent, along with four returning starting offensive linemen. If Cary Grove can replace some key spots, especially on defense (seven returning starters graduated) this team could challenge for a state title in Class 6A in 2017.