Western Kentucky

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.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Western Kentucky WR Taywan Taylor

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Western Kentucky WR Taywan Taylor

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky

5'11" | 203 lbs.

2016 stats:

98 receptions, 1,730 yards, 17 TD

Projection:

Third round

Scouting Report:

"Slot-only receiver with the athleticism and separation quickness to win on the NFL level. Benefitted statistically from Western Kentucky's scheme, but that offense benefitted from Taylor's ability to get open and his explosiveness in the open field. High floor with the potential to be an above-average slot receiver in an offense that recognizes his flexibility." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

Bears NFL Draft Preview: OL core in place but looking for edge upgrades

Bears NFL Draft Preview: OL core in place but looking for edge upgrades

CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2017 Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need and what draft day could have in store. Fifth in a series.

Bears pre-draft situation
 
Neither Bobby Massie nor Charles Leno Jr. established themselves as close to dominant edge blockers through the 2016 season. Massie struggled early before settling in over the last half-season; Leno was expected to take a definitive next step but did not. As a result, tackle was an offseason priority, and the Bears made a play for ex-Baltimore Raven Ricky Wagner before he was lured to the Detroit Lions on a five-year deal that set a new standard for right tackles. The Bears then targeted Tom Compton, primarily a backup over five NFL seasons and ostensibly in competition for the role of swing tackle.
 
The interior has been cited as a strength with the axis of Kyle Long and Josh Sitton flanking Cody Whitehair. Long is coming off serious shoulder and ankle injuries, elected not to have shoulder surgery, but is expected back in full to open the season. Sitton earned Pro Bowl alternate status. Whitehair stepped in when Hroniss Grasu tore an ACL in an August practice and missed just two snaps all season.

Projected pre-draft starters
 
LT    Charles Leno
LG    Josh Sitton
C      Cody Whitehair
RG   Kyle Long
RT    Bobby Massie

Reserves

Tom Compton, Cornelius Edison, Hroniss Grasu, Eric Kush, William Poehls, Cyril Richardson.

Bears draft priority: Low
 
The "low" priority for the position stands in relation to need levels at other positions; the Bears need upgrades on the offensive line, most notably at tackle, and GM Ryan Pace has drafted an offensive lineman within the first three rounds in each of his two Bears drafts (Grasu 2015 third round, Whitehair 2016 second round).

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The problem this draft is that it is considered one of the poorest for offensive linemen. Loose evaluations suggest that the draft could go 15 picks or more in the first round before a tackle is selected. Compare that with: Four tackles went in the first 16 picks of the '16 draft. Three went top-13 in 2015, six in the top 24.  The 2014 draft saw four tackles picked in the first 16. Four tackles and two guards were picked among the first 11 of 2013.
 
This year, just finding a little quality depth will be an accomplishment.

Keep an eye on:
 
Forrest Lamp, G/T, Western Kentucky — One of several "top" prospects who may fall out of the first round. Lamp lacks some of the physical traits preferred in tackles but is willing to relocate. "I like to watch Ali Marpet, Cody Whitehair, Zack Martin," Lamp said during the Scouting Combine. "Those guys were all left tackles in school who got bumped inside. Similar to what I've been hearing [for myself], so I watched them all last year."
 
Cameron Lee, G/T, Illinois State — Bears arranged a private session with Lee, who started at both guard and tackle for ISU. The versatility is critical and attractive to teams looking to fill "swing" role inside or outside. Small-school prospect could drop into Bears' range on Day 3.