Jeff Jenkins

Edgy Tim's Preseason All-State Football Team

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Edgy Tim's Preseason All-State Football Team

With the kickoff of the 2017 IHSA football season upon us, it is time to take a look at my preseason All-State team. Here are the players to keep an eye on as the year unfolds: 

QB Quincy Patterson, Solorio (6-foot-3, 225 pounds): Va Tech commit. Elite 11 player is in line for a huge 2017 season.

RB Fotis Kokosioulis, Maine South (5-foot-8, 170 pounds): NIU commit. Runs with speed, quickness and power.

RB Geno Hess, Peoria (5-foot-9, 185 pounds): Southeast Missouri commit. Highly productive back in the Lions offense.

RB Jarrell Anderson, East St. Louis (5-foot-9, 180 pounds): Undecided. Huge threat is back again for the 7A state champs.

TE Luke Ford, Carterville (6-foot-7, 247 pounds): Undecided. Small school kid has Power 5 offers from across the country.

OL Trevor Keegan, Crystal Lake South (6-foot-5, 290 pounds): Undecided. Junior is already highly sought-after this fall. 

OL Jordyn Slaughter, Belleville Althoff (6-foot-6, 290 pounds): Illinois commit. Great work ethic and has an NFL-sized frame.

OL Jeff Jenkins, Prairie Ridge (6-foot-4, 275 pounds): Iowa commit. Big, strong and a very athletic leader for the Wolves.

OL Bryce Effner, Metea Valley (6-foot-5, 286 pounds): Penn State commit. One of the Midwest's top senior linemen.

OL Nick Marozas, Brother Rice (6-foot-5, 275 pounds): Indiana commit. CCL mauler also a leader on and off the field.

WR Micah Jones, Warren Township (6-foot-5, 205 pounds): Notre Dame commit. Has all the tools. An impressive kid as well.

WR Charles Robinson, Waubonsie Valley (6-foot-4, 220 pounds): NIU commit. Huge, recent steal for the Huskies 2018 class. 

ATH Samson Evans, Prairie Ridge (6-foot-1, 190 pounds): Iowa commit. Humble kid and a very impressive athlete.

K John Richardson, Brother Rice (5-foot-10, 170 pounds): NIU commit. Possesses one of the state's best legs.

KR/PR Justin Hall, Homewood-Flossmoor (5-foot-10, 180 pounds): NIU commit. Versatile multi-positional player. 

[MORE: CSN Preps Power Rankings: Prairie Ridge at #1]

DL Devin O'Rourke, Lincoln-Way East (6-foot-6, 230 pounds): Northwestern commit. Great length/size and huge upside.

DL Noah Shannon, Oswego (6-foot-2, 290 pounds): Iowa commit. Strong, quick and a very physical two-way starter.

DL Isaiah Lee, Nazareth Academy (6-foot-2, 280 pounds): Iowa State commit. Impressive non-stop grinder. 

DL Dashaun Mallory, Bolingbrook (6-foot-3, 272 pounds): Undecided. Quite simply, he just plays at a higher level.

DL Elijah Teague, Marist (6-foot-3, 292 pounds): Minnesota commit. Great mix of speed and power. He will fit in well at Minny.

LB Jack Sanborn, Lake Zurich (6-foot-2, 215 pounds): Wisconsin commit.  Two year All-State player. 

LB Jaylan Alexander, Hoffman Estates (6-foot-1, 225 pounds): Purdue commit. Leader for the Hawks also plays multi-positions.

DB Tyrik Henderson, Glenbard North (5-foot-10, 170 pounds): Minnesota commit. Hard-nosed player and a high level competitor.

DB Clayton Isbell, St. Charles East (6-foot-3, 200 pounds): Undecided. Talented athlete will play on both sides of the football this season.

DB Cameron Mitchell, Bolingbrook (5-foot-10, 175 pounds): Undecided. Class of 2019 standout is already drawing offers. 

DB Sebastian Castro, Richards (6-foot-1, 198 pounds): Undecided. Junior impact performer for one of the state's top programs.

P Caleb Griffin, Danville (6-foot-3, 185 pounds): Undecided. Exceptional leg strength can kick and punt equally well. 

ATH Joe Bonds, DeLaSalle (6-foot-3, 205 pounds): Western Michigan commit. Could play LB/DE at the college level. 

Prairie Ridge Goes For A Drive This Season

Prairie Ridge Goes For A Drive This Season

You might be wondering why Prairie Ridge was selected as CSN Chicago's 2017 "Drive" team. A better question: "Why wouldn't they be selected?"

Let's start with their defending state champion status. This is a Wolves team that ran roughshod over the Fox Valley Conference last season en route to a perfect 14-0 record and a Class 6A state title.  In that time, they averaged just over 50 points per game. Their defense held eight of their opponents to a touchdown or less--including three consecutive shutouts.

This much is certain: the entire Fox Valley Conference will be bringing its A-plus game against Prairie Ridge week in and week out this fall.

Can the Wolves get back to the state title game and repeat as 6A champs? Better yet, before anyone can even think of a repeat, can Prairie Ridge escape the first two weeks of the regular season? Cary-Grove and Huntley are solid programs. And they're revenge-minded.

This Prairie Ridge program, featuring head coach Chris Schremp, still believes in running the football early and often. They play a fast and very physical defense. Does any team in Illinois feature an explosive, double-wing option attack offense that also happens to be one of the highest scoring units in the state? You generally don't place double-wing option and high scoring, explosive offense in the same sentence. Then again, most teams aren't Prairie Ridge.

And then there are the personalities. 

At what point of his pregame ritual does mild-mannered, All-State QB Samson Evans change into his Superman costume? If any one player personifies the 2017 version of Superman, it would be Samson Evans. 

Evans, who is already verbally committed to Iowa, seems to be about as level-headed and low-key as any kid you'll meet. But once the game starts, Evans becomes a very dangerous young man when the football is in his hands. 

How unassuming does Evans come off to the analysts? One national recruiting expert told me this after seeing Evans in person for the first time this winter: "He (Evans) looks more like the kid at Jewel who bagged my groceries," right before seeing Evans fire off yet another impressive 40 yard dash.

Does senior offensive tackle Jeff Jenkins (Iowa) wear anything else these days besides Iowa gear? These are the pressing questions we need to have answered this fall on "Drive."

Also, are we finally seeing the Fox Valley Conference get its due via Drive? 

Long gone are the olden days of the Fox Valley Conference when McHenry of the 1990s and early 2000s would post weekly 40-point running clock blowout wins week in and week out. Cary-Grove is still Cary-Grove. The Trojans want to just pound the football and all opposing teams. Huntley, who continues to inch closer and closer to becoming an 8A power, would like nothing better than to beat the Wolves.

The new Fox Valley continues to be one of the most competitive conferences-- and it also feeds three separate classes come state playoff time (8A thru 6A). 

But the best part about Prairie Ridge football and the FVC is still about the traditions, namely Friday night football. It's part of the area's fabric. The schools are big enough to compete with any conference regardless of size. And yet, they're still small enough to not lose that all-important local community connection that only high school football provides. 

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.