Glenbard North

5 lower seeds you don't want to see in Round 1 of IHSA playoffs

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5 lower seeds you don't want to see in Round 1 of IHSA playoffs

Here are five lower-seeded teams in Classes 8A thru 4A that shouldn’t be overlooked heading into this weekend's first round of the IHSA state football playoffs.

Class 8A

No. 23 seed Palatine (6-3): First-year head coach Corey Olson had an up-and-down regular season. But don't let the Pirates’ record fool you. Palatine lost to three state playoff teams in Stevenson (14-7 in Week 1), Maine South (17-14 in Week 4) and Barrington (26-24 in Week 6). The combined record of all three opponents was a stout 23-4. Palatine will rely on senior QB DJ Angelaccio, senior WR Johnny O'Shea and senior WR Jack Orlando. The defense is led by senior LB Cortez Hogans (NIU), senior DE Bryant Smith and versatile senior DB Jake Moertl.

Class 7A

No. 29 seed Glenbard North (5-4): Yes, the Panthers struggled at times this season. Yes, they needed to beat Neuqua Valley last Friday just to make the 7A playoff field. That said, when this team is on they can hang with anyone and everyone in their class. The Panthers have gotten a big season from senior RB/LB Jayleen Fitzpatrick, senior QB Lee Rady and a veteran offensive line anchored by senior Jose Vazquez. GBN’s defense is the program’s calling card. Their secondary, featuring senior Tyrik Henderson (Minnesota), is just one of several names to watch on the defense.

Class 6A

No. 13 seed Providence Catholic (5-4): The Celtics also stumbled to the finish line in regular season play, losing their last two games. But Providence, whose four losses came to opponents with a combined 30-6 record (East St. Louis, Missouri’s Vianney Prep, Loyola Academy and Mount Carmel) are undoubtedly playoff tested. Their running game, featuring senior RB De'Shon Gavin (Western Illinois) and their big, experienced offensive line are included in their many strengths. Providence Catholic, who plays mainly 8A/7A level competition most of the regular season, will have an old-school battle in the opening round against Richards (7-2). Should Providence win that game, the Emerald Isle could go on a deep run.

Class 5A

No. 14 seed Marian Central Catholic (5-4): Head coach Mike Maloney's sideline at times resembled more of a MASH unit than a playoff-ready team. The Hurricanes have survived that storm of injuries and could be primed for a nice run in 5A. Marian Central Catholic has gotten some key names back to the lineup including former QB Gavin Scott, who has been moved to running back. The Hurricanes are also battle-tested coming off an East Suburban Catholic Conference schedule.

Class 4A

No. 14 seed Geneseo: The Maple Leafs are one of the state's traditional power football programs. They have struggled at times but were able to upset state-ranked Morris 21-17 to become playoff eligible. Geneseo also played a tough schedule and posted losses to bigger enrollment playoff names Quincy (6-3), Sterling (9-0), Rochelle (6-3) and Kaneland (6-3). Geneseo is a power running offense built for playoff football. Keep an eye on senior RB Drew Rapps and junior RB Zac Olson. 

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 19 Glenbard North

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 19 Glenbard North

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: Glenbard North

Head coach: Ryan Wilkens

How they fared in 2016: 8-3 (6-2 DuPage Valley Conference), made the Class 7A state playoff field, defeated Pekin then lost to East St. Louis in second round action.

Aug. 25 vs. Naperville Central

Sept. 1 @ Waubonsie Valley

Sept. 8 vs. Wheaton South

Sept. 16 @ McCrackin (Paducah, Ky)

Sept. 22 vs. Naperville North

Sept. 28 @ Wheaton North

Oct. 7 @ Lake Park

Oct. 13 vs. Metea Valley

Oct. 20 @ Neuqua Valley

Biggest storyline: Can the Panthers reload in the offensive skills and can the defense live up to the hype?

Names to watch this season:  Senior DB/WR Tyrik Henderson (Minnesota) senior OL Jose Vazquez

Biggest holes to fill: The Panthers will need to find answers in a handful of key spots including QB/RB. 

EDGY's Early Take: The Panthers, who recently saw standout DB Greg Newsome transfer this summer to IMG Academy, have several questions, yet Glenbard North is still a very good and dangerous team to watch in 2017. The Panthers feature four starters back on the offensive line along with one of the state's best defensive secondaries. I also expect several of the Panthers standouts play multiple roles for Glenbard North this season. 

Recruiting News and Notes: Mariano Sori-Marin commits to Minnesota

Recruiting News and Notes: Mariano Sori-Marin commits to Minnesota

Mariano Sori-Marin (OLB), Providence Catholic

Providence Catholic junior outside linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) added a recent offer from Minnesota and gave the Gophers his verbal commitment late last week.

"It's been pretty overwhelming," Sori-Marin said. "Minnesota just offers the best fit for me so I committed. Minnesota also offers strong academics, plus they also play in the Big Ten. After I visited, I knew that Minnesota is a great place to be so I talked it over with my family and I committed."

Sori-Marin, who missed nearly the entire 2016 season after suffering an injury in Week 1, went from largely under the radar to Gophers pledge in a hurry. 

"Both my recruiting coach at Minnesota (Brian Callahan) and the defensive coordinator (Robb Smith) came to watch one of my workouts in person a few weeks ago," Sori-Marin said. "The Minnesota coaches called me a few days later and invited me to come up and make a campus visit. I went to Minnesota last week with my parents for a visit and they offered me before we left campus. We went home and talked it over and gave it a few days to sink in. Minnesota is just a great fit for me and I'm very excited to be committed to the University of Minnesota."

Sori-Marin is now the third Illinois verbal pledge to Minnesota's Class of 2018, joining Glenbard North defensive back Tyrik Henderson and Marist defensive tackle Elijah Teague.

Denver Warren (DT), West Aurora

West Aurora freshman defensive tackle Denver Warren (6-foot-3, 285 pounds) has been highly impressive on the camp circuit. Warren added his first two scholarship offers last weekend from Iowa State and Central Michigan.

"It's awesome to add two offers already," Warren said. "I spoke with the coaches at Iowa State on Saturday and then about a half hour later I also talked to Central Michigan and they also extended me an offer. I'm just really excited and so is my family."

Warren, who played for Aurora Christian last season before transferring to West Aurora, has also started to draw more recruiting attention after adding his first two offers. 

"I've had 5-6 different college coaches start to follow me on Twitter right after I tweeted out my offers," Warren said.

[RELATED: Recruiting news and notes - Fenwick's Mike O'Laughlin headed to West Virginia]

Jaylan Alexander (ILB), Hoffman Estates

Hoffman Estates junior inside linebacker Jaylan Alexander (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) has added several scholarship offers and increased recruiting attention this spring. 

"I have offers so far from NIU, Western Kentucky, Illinois State, Eastern Michigan, Western Illinois, Central Michigan and Bowling Green," Alexander said. "We've also been seeing a lot of college coaches in school this spring. Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Central Michigan, NIU, Illinois, Western Kentucky and a few others have all been in so far. Most of the coaches come and watch our team workouts. Michigan State has also invited me to come and camp with them this summer."

Alexander also is lining up his summer college one-day camp schedule.

"I'm planning to go to the North Central College camp with Minnesota and then the following day when Iowa State is at NCC," Alexander said. "I'm also going to the Northwestern showcase camp and also NIU for a one day camp."

Alec Pierce (WR), Glenbard West

Glenbard West junior wide receiver Alec Pierce (6-foot-3, 191 pounds) has a half dozen scholarship offers, along with several BCS schools paying close attention to him.

"We've seen a lot of coaches in school so far," Pierce said. "Most of the college coaches come into school in the morning to watch our morning workouts. Illinois was in school, along with Minnesota, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Boston College, Northwestern and Wisconsin over the past week. It also seems like the entire Mid-American conference as been in school this spring."

Pierce has scholarship offers from Illinois State, Fordham, Central Michigan, Columbia, South Dakota and Western Illinois.