Queneil Morrison

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."

Phillips defensive tackle Queneil Morrison commits to NIU

Phillips defensive tackle Queneil Morrison commits to NIU

Phillips junior defensive tackle recruit Queneil Morrison (6-foot-2, 300 pounds) gave Northern Illinois University his verbal commitment Saturday afternoon. Morrison, who is in DeKalb attending the Huskies spring game, told head coach Rod Carey his decision.

"I committed to NIU," Morrison said. "I just like NIU and it's a good school and a good program. I also really like the people at NIU and it's feel like a great place fort me."

Morrison, who had offers from Toledo and Bowling Green, was starting to draw increased recruiting looks from several FBS schools this spring.

[RELATED: Preps Recruiting News and Notes - Tuscola's Hunter Woodard headed to Oklahoma State]

Why commit this early to the NIU Huskies?

"I just really like NIU and I also didn't want to lose my opportunity that I have at NIU by waiting too long," Morrison said.

Morrison is now the fourth in-state verbal commitment to the Huskies' 2018 Class, joining Andrew defensive end Mike DeHaan, Plainfield East defensive end Jack Sullivan and Maine South running back Fotis Kokosioulis. Earlier this week, Danville junior offensive tackle Julian Pearl (6-foot-7, 245 pounds), who was the first 2018 commitment for the Huskies, backed out and gave Illinois his commitment after he was offered a scholarship earlier this week.

Recruiting News and Notes: Micah Jones nearing college decision

Recruiting News and Notes: Micah Jones nearing college decision

Micah Jones (WR), Warren Township

Warren Township four-star ranked wide receiver Micah Jones (6-foot-5, 196 pounds) will make his college decision in a press conference at 3 p.m. on Friday at his high school. Jones, who has several Power 5 offers, has named Iowa, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Illinois and Northwestern as his finalists. Jones' last two recent unofficial campus visits came at Notre Dame and Northwestern.

Mount Carmel (ATH), Alek Thomas

Mount Carmel junior athlete Alek Thomas (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) recently gave TCU his verbal commitment to play both football and baseball in college. Thomas, who played running back and quarterback for Hall of Fame head coach Frank Lenti's Caravan last fall, is also one of the top baseball prospects in the Class of 2018. Playing both sports in college was a high priority for Thomas.

"Playing both sports in college has always been my dream,"Thomas said. "TCU offered me that opportunity, but they also offer so much more. TCU has great facilities, great coaches and it's just a really good overall fit for me. They also have a history of having multi-sport athletes so they have experience dealing with it and they are comfortable with the idea. TCU from the football side is looking at me as more of a slot back along with returning kicks and punts."

Queneil Morrison (DT), Phillips

Phillips head coach Troy McAllister has yet another FBS recruit in junior defensive tackle Queneil Morrison (6-foot-2, 300 pounds). 

"I have offers now from NIU, Bowling Green and Toledo," Morrison said. "My first offer was from NIU was awhile ago and it's exciting to hear from new schools."

Morrison plans to make his first unofficial visit to NIU on Saturday.

Scholarship notes

A handful of local Class of 2018 players have added multiple scholarship offers over the past few weeks. Glenbard North defensive back Greg Newsome (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) is quickly approaching 20 verbal offers with his latest offers coming from Vanderbilt and Purdue. Lincoln-Way East defensive end Devin O'Rourke (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) recently added offers from Penn State, Rutgers and Iowa. Marist has three players who have added multiple offers so far this winter in defensive tackle Elijah Teague (6-foot-3, 292 pounds), tight end TJ Ivy (6-foot-5, 217 pounds) and defensive end Gavin McCabe (6-foot-3, 255 pounds). Western Michigan offered all three Redhawks scholarships on Wednesday morning.