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Five local players on Lemming's Top 100

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Five local players on Lemming's Top 100

Five Chicago area products are listed among the Top 100 players in the nation in the class of 2014, according to recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network. But none of them ranks among the top 75, an indication that this year's juniors rank a step behind the class of 2013.

The five are Plainfield South linebacker Clifton Garrett (76), Bolingbrook cornerback Parrker Westphal (86), Marist tight end Nic Weishar (94), De La Salle offensive tackle Jamarco Jones (96) and Crete-Monee linebacker Nyles Morgan (100).

It is interesting to note that Westphal, while consistently rated among the top five prospects in Illinois in the class of 2014, was named to the Joliet Herald-News' All-Area second defensive team. To date, he has accumulated 14 scholarship offers.

"At this time, I have interviewed in person one-third of the nation's top prospects and watched film on about 80 percent of the nation's top 2,000 prospects," Lemming said, explaining how he annually travels from coast-to-coast to make his evaluations.

"This top 100 will be changed in a couple of months after I have seen all of the nation's top prospects in person. So far, 19 players have earned five stars with more coming."

Garrett has nine scholarship offers -- from Illinois, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State and Ole Miss.

Weishar, the nation's No. 2 tight end according to Lemming, has 12 offers -- from Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Boston College.

As a sophomore, Weishar caught 73 passes for 1,149 yards and 15 touchdowns. As a junior, the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder caught 89 for 1,034 yards and five touchdowns. He has a 5.37 grade-point average on a 5.0 scale.

He was the only one of the five players who made Lemming's Top 100 to earn a spot on the Chicago Sun-Times' 24-member All-Area squad.

Westphal, a standout on Bolingbrook's Class 8A state championship team in 2011, has offers from Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Nebraska, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, West Virginia, Purdue, Ole Miss and Cincinnati.

Jones has accumulated more offers (15) than any other local prospect -- Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue, Toledo, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.

Morgan, the defensive standout on Crete-Monee's unbeaten 2012 Class 6A state championship team, is a rapidly rising star. He has offers from Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UCLA, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Purdue, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.

"I don't base my evaluations on the number of scholarship offers a player receives. And I don't take into account what a player does or doesn't do at a combine," Lemming said. "I think it is more important to judge a player's skills on the basis of his performance, in person or on film. And I like to interview each player to get a sense of his passion and love for the game."

Other juniors in the city and suburbs who are attracting considerable interest from colleges and could earn a spot in the top 100 before the end of the 2013 season are Glenbard North running backdefensive back Justin Jackson, Richards running backathlete Tommy Mister, Mount Carmel defensive tackle Enoch Smith Jr., Stevenson defensive back Matt Morrissey and Hinsdale Central center Brian Allen.

Nation's Top 100 In Class of 2014

(According to recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network)

No. Name, Hometown Pos. Ht. Wt.

1. Leonard Fournette, New Orleans, La. RB 6-1 225
2. Raekwon McMillan, Hinesville, Ga. LB 6-3 240
3. Tony Brown, Beaumont, Tex. DB 6-1 185
4. Marlon Humphrey, Hoover, Ala. DB 6-0 170
5. Jabril Peppers, Paramus, N.J. DB 6-0 190
6. Quin Blanding, Virginia Beach, Va. DB 6-2 200
7. Cameron Robinson, West Monroe, La. OL 6-6 300
8. Kain Daub, Jacksonville, Fla. LB 6-3 200
9. Gerald Willis, New Orleans, La. DL 6-3 265
10. Andrew Brown, Chesapeake, Va. DL 6-4 290
11. Hoza Scott, La Porte, Tex. LB 6-2 205
12. Da'Shawn Hand, Woodbridge, Va. DL 6-4 260
13. Drake Harris, Grand Rapids, Mich. WR 6-4 180
14. Kevin Crosby, Bamberg, S.C. LB 6-1 225
15. Deondre Clark, Oklahoma City, Okla. DL 6-5 235
16. Tre Williams, Mobile, Ala. LB 6-2 220
17. Bo Scarbrough, Tuscaloosa, Ala. RB 6-2 220
18. Braden Smith, Olathe, Kan. OL 6-6 275
19. Sony Michel, Plantation, Fla. RB 5-11 185
20. Devon Thomas, Broken Arrow, Okla. RB 5-11 210
21. Orlando Brown, Duluth, Ga. OL 6-9 360
22. Todd Kelly, Knoxville, Tenn. DB 6-1 190
23. Damian Prince, Forestville, Md. OL 6-7 310
24. Tyler Luatua, La Mirada, Calif. ATH 6-4 230
25. DeShaun Watson, Gainesville, Ga. QB 6-4 200
26. Jeb Blazevich, Charlotte, N.C. TE 6-5 240
27. Denzel Ware, Crestview, Fla. DL 6-2 220
28. Khairi Clark, Hollywood, Fla. DL 6-3 310
29. Jerrod Heard, Denton, Tex. QB 6-2 180
30. Nathan Starks, Las Vegas, Nev. RB 5-11 200
31. Nick Watkins, Dallas, Tex. DB 6-1 180
32. Jordan Poland, La Jolla, Calif. OL 6-8 330
33. Vincent Jackson, Tampa, Fla. LB 6-2 230
34. Mason Cole, Tarpon Springs, Fla. OL 6-5 280
35. Speedy Noil, New Orleans, La. WR 5-10 180
36. Andrew Williams, McDonough, Ga. DL 6-4 250
37. Justice Hansen, Edmond, Okla. QB 6-4 200
38. Edward Paris, Mansfield, Tex. DB 6-2 190
39. Racean Thomas, Oxford, Ala. RB 5-11 190
40. Michiah Quick, Fresno, Calif. DB 6-0 170
41. Nick Harvey, Lancaster, Tex. DB 5-11 180
42. Kyle Allen, Scottsdale, Ariz. QB 6-2 200
43. Marshon Lattimore, Cleveland, Ohio DB 5-11 180
44. Donnell Stanley, Latta, S.C. OL 6-3 305
45. Demarcus Christmas, Bradenton, Fla. DL 6-3 280
46. Dalvin Cook, Miami, Fla. RB 5-11 195
47. Jalen Tabor, Washington, D.C. DB 6-0 180
48. Bryson Allen-Williams, Ellenwood, Ga. DE 6-3 235
49. Cameron Hampton, Dallas, Tex. LB 6-2 210
50. Andy Bauer, St. Louis, Mo. OL 6-5 300
51. Laurence Jones, Monroe, La. LB 6-2 215
52. Malik McDowell, Detroit, Mich. DL 6-6 290
53. Cameron Denson, Tucson, Ariz. WR 6-1 175
54. E.J. Moss, Ashville, Ala. LB 6-4 220
55. Thaddeus Snodgrass, Springfield, Ohio WR 6-1 185
56. Demetrius Knox, Fort Worth, Tex. OL 6-5 300
57. Mark Andrews, Scottsdale, Ariz. WR 6-6 225
58. Steven Parker, Jenks, Okla. DB 6-2 185
59. Montae Nicholson, Monroeville, Pa. DB 6-3 200
60. Jay Hayes, Brooklyn, N.Y. OL 6-5 270
61. Josh Malone, Gallatin, Tenn. WR 6-3 188
62. Ronnie Clark, Calera, Ala. DB 6-3 212
63. Keller Chyrst, Palo Alto, Calif. QB 6-3 210
64. K.C. McDermott, Wellington, Fla. OL 6-6 285
65. Casey Tucker, Chandler, Ariz. OL 6-5 270
66. Caleb Henderson, Alexandria, Va. QB 6-4 215
67. Shaun Dion Hamilton, Montgomery, Ala. LB 6-2 225
68. David Cornell, Jones, Okla. QB 6-5 220
69. Will Grier, Davidson, N.C. QB 6-3 180
70. Nifae Lealao, Sacramento, Calif. DE 6-5 270
71, Jonathan Hilliman, Jersey City, N.J. RB 6-0 205
72. Artavis Scott, Tarpon Springs, Fla. WR 5-11 180
73. Lorenzo Fetherston, Greensboro, N.C. DE 6-7 215
74. Mike Ferns, St. Clairsville, Ohio LB 6-3 235
75. Roderick Johnson, Florissant, Mo. OL 6-6 320
76. Clifton Garrett, Plainfield South, Ill. LB 6-2 220
77. Adoree Jackson, Gardena, Calif. DB 5-9 170
78. Travonte Valentine, Palm Bay, Fla. DL 6-3 280
79. Jalen Hurd, Hendersonville, Tenn. RB 6-3 210
80. Bentley Spain, Charlotte, N.C. OL 6-5 285
81. Demarre Kitt, Tyrone, Ga. WR 6-1 200
82. Alex Bars, Nashville, Tenn. OL 6-6 275
83. Johnathan Lloyd, Graham, N.C. ATH 5-11 175
84. Ross Pierschbacher, Cedar Falls, Iowa OL 6-4 275
85. Josh Frazier, Springdale, Ark. DL 6-4 330
86. Parrker Westphal, Bolingbrook, Ill. DB 6-1 185
87. Dante Booker, Akron, Ohio LB 6-3 212
88. Solomon Thomas, Coppell, Tex. DL 6-3 265
89. Budda Baker, Bellevue, Wash. DB 5-10 175
90. Bryan Mone, Salt Lake City, Utah DL 6-3 284
91. Jamoral Graham, Decatur, Miss. ATH 5-11 175
92. Andrew Trumbetti, Demarest, N.J. DL 6-5 250
93. Melvin Keihn, Baltimore, Md. LB 6-2 220
94. Nic Weishar, Chicago (Marist), Ill. TE 6-5 215
95. Bijhon Jackson, El Dorado, Ark. DL 6-2 320
96. Jamarco Jones, Chicago (De La Salle), Ill. OL 6-5 285
97. Jalyn Holmes, Norfolk, Va. DL 6-5 230
98. Jacory Washington, Westlake, La. TE 6-5 215
99. Derrell Scott, Havelock, N.C. RB 5-11 175
100. Nyles Morgan, Crete-Monee, Ill. LB 6-2 220

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis is joined by Scott Powers of The Athletic to discuss Stan Bowman's comments following the Marian Hossa trade and debate whether they're finished making moves this summer.

They also provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks' top prospects and which players have caught their attention as development camp winds down.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Brandon Morrow and the state of the Cubs bullpen ahead of the trade deadline

Brandon Morrow and the state of the Cubs bullpen ahead of the trade deadline

Brandon Morrow is getting an extended All-Star Break.

For the second time in the last month, the Cubs closer is heading to the disabled list to get another break, this time with inflammation in his right biceps.

That leaves the Cubs without their best relief pitcher — a guy with a 1.47 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 22 saves in 24 chances — for the next week as the team hits the ground running in the second half with 12 games in 11 days against the Cardinals and Diamondbacks.

"It's been bothering him a bit, but we thought it was manageable," Joe Maddon said before the Cubs kicked off play Thursday evening. "But now it's not [manageable], so just have to take a little bit of a break. 

"We don't anticipate him being gone for a long time, but it seems to be prudent to go this course right now."

Maddon pointed to a bit lower velocity Morrow had in San Diego Sunday and believes now is "the right time to back off for the latter part of the season."

The Cubs do have Carl Edwards Jr. back from the paternity list and the 26-year-old flamethrower already got a "break" of his own earlier this season when he missed about 5 weeks with a shoulder issue.

The word "break" is key here because that's how Maddon and the Cubs characterize these little stints on the disabled list.

After all, they are "breaks," even if they're not built into a season like the All-Star Break.

The Cubs want both Morrow and Edwards to be healthy and dynamic in late September and throughout the postseason in October. They've been uber-cautious about the two pitchers throughout their respective Cubs careers and a stint on the disabled list serves to save bullets and wear and tear on their right arms in the dog days of the season.

After all, Morrow has already appeared in 35 games this season, which he's only done once since 2008 — last year, when he pitched in 45 games. Morrow has a long history of arm issues, so the Cubs have given him plenty of slack as they try to keep him healthy for the most important stretch of the season.

But that's also why the Cubs are looking to add some reinforcements to the bullpen before the trade deadline. They were linked to Brad Hand before the lefty was traded to the Cleveland Indians Thursday and they've also been linked to Orioles closer Zach Britton.

If Britton's healthy, he could serve as a perfect fit for the Cubs as a rental with closing experience and a guy from the left side to help fill both needs in the Chicago bullpen.

The Cubs currently have Justin Wilson, Randy Rosario and Brian Duensing as left-handed options in the bullpen, but all are at varying levels of confidence at the moment.

Wilson still has some issues with control, but otherwise has been very good of late. Rosario is a rookie and his outlying numbers indicate his 1.95 ERA is a bit of a mirage. Duensing just recently returned from the DL himself and currently boasts a 6.59 ERA and 1.83 WHIP on the season.

Then there's Mike Montgomery, who right now has a stranglehold on a spot in the Cubs rotation while Yu Darvish gets healthy. There is currently no update on Darvish, which means Montgomery won't be moving back to the bullpen anytime soon.

With less than 2 weeks left until the trade deadline, Maddon would be all for adding another arm or two to his pitching staff.

"Sure. All of the pitching, they're definitely going to want to look at it," Maddon said. "Our numbers are among the best in the NL both overall and as a bullpen and then even into the starters.

"But you're always looking to make it better. That's what GMs do. We'll see how it all plays out. We're hoping the [Morrow] thing is a shorter situation, which we believe it will be."