CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 6 Marist

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 6 Marist

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: Marist

Head coach: Ron Dawczak

How they fared in 2016: 8-2 (7-0 East Suburban Catholic Conference), made the Class 8A state playoff field and lost to New Trier in opening-round action.

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 7 Lake Zurich]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 vs. Brother Rice

Sept. 1 @ Mishawaka, Indiana

Sept. 8 vs. Carmel

Sept. 15 @ Marian Central Catholic

Sept. 22 @ Marian Catholic

Sept. 28 vs. St. Patrick

Oct. 6 vs. Nazareth Academy

Oct. 13 @ Benet Academy

Oct. 20 vs. Joliet Catholic

Biggest storyline: Can the Redhawks win big with a sudden head coaching change in 2017?

Names to watch this season: senior TE TJ Ivy (West Virginia), senior DL Gavin McCabe (Indiana), senior DT Elijah Teague (Minnesota)

Biggest holes to fill: The Redhawks will need to reload at a few key spots this summer, including quarterback.

EDGY's early take: While any sudden head coaching change can be an issue, having longtime assistant coach Dawczak take over for Pat Dunne should be a smooth transition. The Redhawks have a ton of talent back in 2017, and remain one of the better offenses in Chicagoland. The schedule is never easy for the Redhawks, including its annual rivalry game in Week 1 hosting Brother Rice, but this team looks to have the makings of being capable of a big run this fall. 

Self Confidence 101: Bears sending Kevin White back to college

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AP

Self Confidence 101: Bears sending Kevin White back to college

If Bears fans had the opportunity to talk with Bears wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, they'd walk away loving their chances of this group making an unexpected impact. Here's some of what Azzanni shared Monday after practice in Bourbonnais:

On the development of Kevin White after two injury-plagued seasons: 

"We talk about a golf shot every day. Like, 'what keeps you coming back to practice? What was that one golf shot that you remember that got you excited, that makes you want to come back for more?' So every day, we do that in our room. This morning, we watched his West Virgina highlight film again. He forgets about that sometimes, because of the battle he's had the last two years. I'm pleased with him. First day was great, second was OK, and today (Monday) he comes back out and he's buying in. You see flashes of what we want him to be, of what he wants to be. We've just got to block out the noise for him. I can't let him read the papers and the media. I just can't let him because there's going to be some negative in there that gets into his head and he can't let that happen. He's got to be positive and we've got to go in out bunker in there and I've got to tell him how great he is all the time, because he is."

On going back to White's West Virginia tape, circa 2014:

"I wanted him to see how he used to go up and just grab that ball out of the air, and he's starting to do that again. I know he had a drop the other day in one-on-ones the other day. He's a prideful kid, and he lets that beat him up and you cannot do that. You can't let one drop give you another drop. Kobe Bryant takes 60 shots a game. There's a reason. He clears it out, like he didn't even take those first 59. He keeps shooting and that's what Kevin's got to do. He's got to put it away. We've got to be on the positives too. He ran a great route, great release, physical, violent, ran a great route, now he's got to finish it. You've got to also understand there's some good in there too.

"He's a prideful guy. He's got some conscience. He wants to do well for Chicago. For Ryan Pace, for coach (John) Fox, for Dowell (Loggains), all these guys. He wants to do well and I tell him, don't worry about all that. Do well for you. Don't worry about the media and all the people outside. Let's just be the best player you can be.

Cam Meredith: 66 catches in 2016, so 2017?

"The sky's the limit for Cam. He's everything you want in an NFL receiver. He's tall, he's loose, he's got great ball skills, can run. He's smart because he played quarterback, so he gets the game a little bit better maybe than other players at the position. He's still got a lot of work to do and that's what's fun. So every day we're working on some of the little things to help him take his game to the next level, and he's willing. He just had an 'OK' second day, and when I played it for him, he didn't think he did. Then when you press 'play,' he looks at me and he's like, 'you're exactly right, coach.'  He's starting to get what the standards are and he's getting better and I'm excited about him, really excited."

Victor Cruz's encouraging start

"He's been through it all. Great seasons, Super Bowl, injury setbacks, he's seen it all, right? Big market in New York so he's definitely a good sounding board for those guys. As far as the first couple days? He's still learning the offense. But we're asking him to do things he did previously. Some of the routes he's running? That's what he did. It's too late in his career to reinvent a route tree for him. We got him to do the things he does well. A good first three days. I wouldn't say excellent, but good. I think what me and him are vibing together is, you know, I don't really care how long he's played. I'm going to push him like he's a rookie. At first, he was like, `Wow,' but now he appreciates it, I think."

Recruiting News and Notes: Marist's TJ Ivy inching closer to college decision

Recruiting News and Notes: Marist's TJ Ivy inching closer to college decision

JJ McCarthy (QB), Nazareth Academy

Nazareth Academy quarterback JJ McCarthy added his first scholarship offer late last week from the Iowa State Cyclones after putting on an impressive showing at the North Central College satellite camp which had the entire Cyclones staff in attendance. While landing a scholarship after a college camp is common, it's not very common when an incoming high school freshman adds an offer.

McCarthy (5-foot-11, 150 pounds) whose 8th grade Hudl highlight video is approaching 3,400 views was, in all honesty, one of the top overall quarterbacks I observed at the NCC satellite camp. McCarthy has also been impressive on the 7-on-7 circuit this offseason for Midwest Boom. McCarthy, despite his abilities and potential, has yet to step on a high school football field. Drawing such an early offer from the Iowa State is proof positive that the recruiting process is drawing attention, and eventual offers at an alarmingly earlier and earlier rate.

TJ Ivy (TE), Marist

Marist three-star ranked senior tight end TJ Ivy (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) is down to his Top 4 schools and seems to be getting closer to making a college decision.

"I'm still down to my Top 4 schools (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and West Virginia," Ivy said. "I'm planning to get out to make some campus visits next month and then I'll make my college decision."

Ivy has made several visits to Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, but has yet to see West Virginia.

"I've never been to West Virginia," Ivy said. "I'm looking forward to visiting them in person next month. I just want to see how I fit in with West Virginia, see the campus and the surrounding area and just get a better feel for them."

[RELATED: Hoffman Estates linebacker pledges to Purdue]

Phil Saleh (OL), OPRF

Oak Park-River Forest senior offensive linemen Phil Saleh (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) is a two-sport athlete (football/basketball) whose football recruiting stock has climbed this summer.

"I have offers now from Ball State, Indiana State, Western Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Fordham," Selah said. "I went to the Northwestern camp and I'm not sure where else I will camp this summer. I'm juggling both my team football camp and basketball camp. NIU has been pushing me pretty hard to come and camp with them this summer so I might end up at NIU for a camp."

Noah Shannon (DT), Oswego

Oswego senior three-star ranked defensive tackle Noah Shannon (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) has been busy since decommitting from Minnesota last month. Shannon camped with the Gophers at the North Central College satellite camp last week which featured several Minnesota coaches, including head coach PJ Fleck. Shannon also has more camps and visits planned.

"I'm heading out to NIU on Wednesday for a camp that will have Penn State, Arkansas and other schools," Shannon said. "I'm pretty sure I'm done with camps after NIU. I also want to get out to visit Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas later this summer."