Edwardsville

Five teams you can't overlook come IHSA playoff time

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Five teams you can't overlook come IHSA playoff time

With the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show just days away, here are five teams that you need to keep in mind when the brackets are announced. They could cause big matchup problems once the postseason begins. You can catch show live this Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago+ with live streaming at nbcsportschicago.com/IHSAPairingShow and via the NBC Sports app.

Class 8A

Edwardsville: The Tigers (5-3) got off to a rough start and lost their first three games, including an opening week stunner, 53-49, to Naperville North. It was a game that the Tigers led 42-0 in the second quarter. However, coach Matt Martin and company are riding high with a five-game winning streak. They feature an explosive offense led by junior QB Kendall Abdur-Rahman and a deep group of backs. Keep an eye on freshman RB Justin Johnson. 

Naperville North: The afforementioned Huskies (5-3) have lost two of their last three games but don't be fooled. Naperville North can trade offensive punches with everyone in the 8A field behind QB Drake Davis, WR Nick Calcagno and a deep group of receivers. Senior LB Ryan Marrano leads the Huskie defense. The team has marquee wins over Edwardsville, Wheaton North, Lake Park and Naperville Central.

Class 7A

Mount Carmel: The Caravan (5-3) will wind up starting the state playoffs on the road.  And trust me: every opponent will not be excited to see this tradition-heavy program come to town. Mount Carmel will look towards its running game with QB Alek Thomas (a TCU baseball and football commit) along with a big offensive line led by senior Jeremy Cooper (Cincinnati). 

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week 9 Power Rankings]

Class 6A

Providence Catholic: The Celtics (5-3) are coming off a tough Week 8 loss to Loyola. Don't let the three losses fool you. The combined record of the three teams Providence lost to is 22-3. Keep an eye on senior RB Deshon Gavin (WIU commit), a big and physical offensive line and a strong group on defense. Providence has won five of its last six games.

Class 5A

Rochelle: It is the last season for Hubs' veteran head coach Kevin Crandall. Rochelle (5-3) will look to run the football early and often. They also have a fast, physical defensive unit. Rochelle's three losses this season come to the likes of Sterling (8-0), Morris (7-1) and Johnsburg (8-0) and this team will be a tough out for every opponent in 5A. Rochelle is 157-95 under Crandall, including three 12-win seasons.

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 15 New Trier

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 15 New Trier

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. Starting Jul. 31, we'll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: New Trier

Head coach: Brian Doll

Assistant coaches: Jason Dane (defensive coordinator), Mike Napoleon (special teams coordinator), Bill Morrison, Tom Hessling, Bob Spagnoli, Bob Bollweg, Mike Harrison, Pete Collins , Joe Chiodo

How they fared in 2016: 10-1 (9-0 Southwest Prairie Conference), made the Class 8A state playoff field, beat Joliet West then lost to Edwardsville.

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 16 Oswego]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 vs. York

Sept. 1 @ Warren Township

Sept. 8 vs. Barrington

Sept. 16 @ Conant

Sept. 22 vs. Niles West

Sept. 28 @ Evanston

Oct. 7 vs. Niles North

Oct. 13 vs. Maine South

Oct. 20 @ Glenbrook South

Biggest storyline: Can the Trevians win back- to-back Central Suburban South titles and also make a deep run in 8A?

Names to watch this season: senior TE Brian Kaiser, junior TE/DE Duke Olges

Biggest holes to fill: New Trier will need to replace starters from a season ago at key spots, including quarterback and linebacker.

EDGY's early take: New Trier was able to finally beat rival Maine South last season, snapping the Hawks' 77-game winning streak, along with winning the Central Suburban South conference crown. With an offense featuring seven returning starters, plus talent up and down the roster, look for the Trevians to again be a real challenger in the conference and Class 8A this season.

Southern Illinois in-state recruiting class recap

Southern Illinois in-state recruiting class recap

EDGY's Salukis Grade: C+

Southern Illinois fared pretty well in Nick Hill's second recruiting class. The Salukis, no question, made the Southern Illinois area a top priority in this recruiting class, and have been strong in keeping kids within their own footprint. Southern Illinois was able to add seven in-state recruits to their 27-member signing class, along with two post-secondary level players who also call Illinois home. The position emphasis for Hill was upfront on both sides of the football. The Salukis inked eight defensive linemen and five offensive linemen, and also added depth to several spots.

Headliner of the in-state class? 

I really like a handful of players here, but both Edwardsville kids in offensive lineman Lucas Davis (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) and defensive lineman Tate Rujawitz (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) stand out from a very strong overall in-state class. Davis will need to add a bit more size and strength, but has a chance to become a long-term answer on the Salukis offensive line. Rujawitz played offensive line then converted over to defensive line last season. Southern Illinois has struggled at times up front on defense, and Rujawitz has the overall game to become a strong addition.

[RELATED: Northern Illinois in-state recruiting class recap]

The one who got away?

Leyden defensive back Jalen Moore (5-foot-10, 155 pounds). Moore, a speedster who also plays wide receiver, was verbally committed to Southern Illinois, but didn't clear admissions. Currently, Moore is verbally committed to NAIA St. Francis in Joliet.

Final thoughts on the Salukis recruiting efforts:

One of the better in-state hires over the past few years has been former Saluki standout Hill as the Southern Illinois head coach. The 31-year-old Hill was an immediate hit with the area fans and alumni, and was able to show some real positives and progress in his first season. Most importantly, the Southern Illinois community has once again become excited for football. 

No question, the Southern Illinois football program is in good hands and also trending up. The Class of 2017 undoubtedly adds some much-needed depth and is also a nice compliment to strong back-to-back recruiting classes for the Salukis.