Preps Talk

100 Days to Kickoff Countdown

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NBC Sports Chicago

100 Days to Kickoff Countdown

High school football is right around the corner, sports fans.

NBCSportsChicago.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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30. That night also represents the season premiere of High School Lites, 11:00 p.m. on NBCSCH.

In case you missed any of our previews, here is our rundown:

100 – Wed. May 22: Andrew

99 – Thu. May 23: Prospect

98 – Fri. May 24: Plainfield South

97 – Sat. May 25: Elmwood Park

96 – Sun May 26: Morris

95 – Mon. May 27: Fremd

94 – Tue. May 28: Carmel

93 – Wed. May 29: Oswego East

92 – Thu. May 30: Grayslake North

91 – Fri. May 31: Hoffman Estates

90 – Sat. June 1: St. Patrick

89 – Sun. June 2: Woodstock North

88 – Mon. June 3: McHenry

87 – Tue. June 4: T.F. South

86 – Wed. June 5: St. Francis

85 – Thu. June 6: West Chicago

84 – Fri. June 7: Marmion

83 – Sat. June 8: Maine West

82 – Sun. June 9: Taft

81 – Mon. June 10: Oak Lawn

80 – Tue. June 11: T.F. North

79 – Wed. June 12: Hersey

78 – Thu. June 13: Notre Dame

77 – Fri. June 14: Elk Grove

76 – Sat. June 15: Eisenhower

75 – Sun. June 16: St. Ignatius

74 – Mon. June 17: Metea Valley

73 – Tue. June 18: Fenwick

72 – Wed. June 19: West Aurora

71 – Thu. June 20: Crystal Lake Central

70 – Fri. June 21: Johnsburg

69 – Sat. June 22: Bremen

68 – Sun. June 23: St. Laurence

67 – Mon. June 24: Kaneland

66 – Tue. June 25: St. Edward

65 – Wed. June 26: Solorio

64 – Thu. June 27: Geneva

63 – Fri. June 28: Payton

62 – Sat. June 29: Rochester

61 – Sun. June 30: Lane Tech

60 – Mon. July 1: Evanston

59 – Tue. July 2: Bishop McNamara

58 – Wed. July 3: York

57 – Thu. July 4: Aurora Christian

56 – Fri. July 5: Glenbard North

55 – Sat. July 6: Kankakee

54 – Sun. July 7: Wheaton North

53 – Mon. July 8: Naperville North 

52 – Tue. July 9: Thornton

51 – Wed. July 10: Wheaton Warrenville South

50 – Thu. July 11: DeKalb

49 – Fri. July 12: St. Charles East

48 – Sat. July 13: Riverside-Brookfield

47 – Sun. July 14: Chicago Christian

46 – Mon. July 15: Downers Grove North

45 – Tue. July 16: Joliet West

44 – Wed. July 17: Mundelein

43 – Thu. July 18: Shepard

42 – Fri. July 19: Glenbard East

41 – Sat. July 20: Wilmington

40 – Sun. July 21: De La Salle

39 – Mon. July 22: Providence

38 – Tue. July 23: Niles West

37 – Wed. July 24: Willowbrook

36 – Thu. July 25: Coal City

35 – Fri. July 26: Conant

34 – Sat. July 27: Fenton

33 – Sun. July 28: Aurora Central Catholic

32 – Mon. July 29: Lemont

31 – Tue. July 30: Maine East

30 – Wed. July 31: New Trier

29 – Thu. Aug. 1: IC Catholic Prep

28 – Fri. Aug. 2: Crete-Monee

27 – Sat. Aug. 3: Stevenson 

26 – Sun. Aug. 4: St. Rita

25 – Mon. Aug. 5: Richards

24 – Tue. Aug. 6: Joliet Catholic

23 – Wed. Aug. 7: Simeon

22 – Thu. Aug. 8: Oak Park-River Forest

21 – Fri. Aug. 9: Hinsdale Central

20 – Sat. Aug. 10: Neuqua Valley

19 – Sun. Aug. 11: Barrington

18 – Mon. Aug. 12: Oswego

17 – Tue. Aug. 13: Prairie Ridge

16 – Wed. Aug. 14: Minooka

15 – Thu. Aug. 15: Maine South

14 – Fri. Aug. 16: Montini 

13 – Sat. Aug. 17: Phillips

12 – Sun. Aug. 18: Glenbard West

11 – Mon. Aug. 19: Lake Zurich

10 – Tues. Aug. 20: Mount Carmel

9 – Wed. Aug. 21: Brother Rice

8 – Thu. Aug. 22: Warren

7 – Fri. Aug. 23: Homewood-Flossmoor

6 – Sat. Aug. 24: Naperville Central

5 – Sun. Aug. 25: Batavia

4 – Mon. Aug. 26: St. Charles North

3 – Tues. Aug. 27: Lincoln-Way East

2 – Wed. Aug. 28: Nazareth

1 – Thu. Aug. 29: Loyola

 

Coronavirus Impact: How schools are handling football recruiting

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USA Today

Coronavirus Impact: How schools are handling football recruiting

While the coronavirus pandemic has shut down nearly everything sports related, college football recruiting hasn't stopped despite the current NCAA Dead Period, which is currently in place until April 15.

The Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level was actually in a recruiting quiet period up until March 13 when the NCAA decided to switch back to the dead period in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The NCAA Dead Period then eliminated any on-campus or off-campus in-person contact with prospective student-athletes.

So why is football recruiting still ongoing despite being in an NCAA mandated dead period? 

The NCAA Dead Period does permit phone calls and electronic communication between coaches and eligible recruits.  In fact, you could argue that recruiting has seen a bigger boost over the past few weeks with several schools extending more college scholarship offers at this early point of the recruiting calendar.

Why? 

I was able to speak with a dozen different college coaches over the past weekend regarding the impact of the coronavirus. Nearly every college coach I spoke with agreed that the upcoming Spring Evaluation Period, which is set by the NCAA to start on April 15 and end on May 31, will be eliminated by the NCAA because of the ongoing pandemic. The Spring Evaluation Period allows for colleges to have in school evaluation visits along with being allowed to host recruits for both unofficial and official visits. 

With the possibilities of the NCAA eliminating the Spring Evaluation Period, college coaches will be losing an important contact period for seeing potential recruits work out in person and it also gives high school players one less chance to be seen in person by college coaches. 

Without the very real possibility of not having any in-person evaluations this spring, many college coaches have spent this recruiting dead period more focused on its scouting and film study. Several colleges are now extending more early scholarship offers during this dead period than ever before, hoping to at least attract interest and eventually a verbal commitment from the players at the top of its recruiting board. These early offers are also coming from several different levels of college football, including several of the State of Illinois FCS level programs (Illinois State/SIU/EIU/WIU) who have been very active over the past few weeks. 

The summer NCAA Football Quiet Period, which is set to begin on June 1, is one of the busiest times of the year. The summer one day camp circuit features a handful of weeks of on-campus college football camps and is also in potential jeopardy according to the coaches I spoke with.

Those same coaches said that the college one day camps each year draw hundreds of kids in from all over the Midwest, and in some cases draw kids and parents traveling from across the country. The severity of the coronavirus and its severity is much different in spots all over the country, and it will take some time before it truly begins to loosen its grip across the country. The timing of the summer quiet period could potentially be pushed back, but again, that begins to threaten the college football schedules including when schools are allowed to assemble and have team practice. 

So in the meantime? College football recruiting — along with the rest of the world — will continue to operate in uncharted waters as many sit at home and wait for this pandemic to wind down.

Former coach at LaSalle-Peru, Joliet West takes head coaching job at UIC

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USA Today

Former coach at LaSalle-Peru, Joliet West takes head coaching job at UIC

UIC hired its next head coach this week as Luke Yaklich returns home to Illinois to take over the Flames.

There's a lot to like about the 43-year-old Yaklich when it comes to this hire for UIC. A native of Illinois who spent time here as a high school coach at LaSalle-Peru and Joliet West, Yaklich's basketball journey makes him the perfect candidate for UIC at this particular point in time.

Being familiar with the area as a former high school coach and assistant coach at Illinois State will certainly help with recruiting and other facets of the job. But it's Yaklich's ability to take UIC to the next level defensively that makes him the perfect hire.

Yaklich turned into a star assistant coach over the past four seasons. He was often utilized as a defensive coordinator at his various stops. Going from Illinois State, to Michigan, to Texas over the past four seasons, Yaklich was responsible for four consecutive top-25 defenses, according to KenPom.

Although Steve McClain won at least 16 games in each of the past four seasons, the Flames could never reach their ultimate goal of the NCAA tournament. UIC hasn't reached March Madness since 2004. The past four seasons, UIC's best defensive team was only No. 107 in the country. 

McClain's teams had plenty of scoring pop and talent. Getting crucial stops could be difficult for the Flames.

While it may take some time for UIC to jump into the nation's top 50 in defensive efficiency, Yaklich has a successful defensive track record at the mid- and high-major levels.

Illinois State's dominant defense in 2016-17 was No. 19 in the country as the Redbirds just missed the NCAA tournament. Yaklich was then hired away to Michigan. In Ann Arbor, Yaklich helped an offensive-minded program under John Beilein become elite defensively.

The Wolverines advanced to the national title game and Sweet 16 in Yaklich's two seasons. Michigan had the No. 3 defense and No. 2 defense, respectively. 

At Texas, the Longhorns maintained the No. 24 defense in the country this season despite a talent drain that saw freshman center Jaxson Hayes leave for the NBA Draft to be picked in the top ten by the New Orleans Pelicans. 

UIC will need to figure out some other areas if they are to make it back to the NCAA tournament. Yaklich will need to hire a staff familiar with the local recruiting landscape. A sound offensive mind or two wouldn't hurt either.

But the defensive pedigree and player development track record has been there for Yaklich at multiple stops over the past four seasons. Now with a chance to run his own program, Yaklich is an exciting hire for UIC during an offseason in which college basketball's coach carousel isn't seeing a lot of movement.