Preps Talk

2016 National Signing Day: Recruiting tracker


2016 National Signing Day: Recruiting tracker

Stay tuned to Comcast SportsNet and on Wednesday as 2016 National Signing Day bears down on the preps market. Find out where the top recruits in the area will choose to play at the next level and discover new talent from around the country heading to local college programs like Notre Dame, Northwestern, Illinois, Northern Illinois and many more.

Follow along with the tracker all day and get yourself primed with Edgy Tim's preview content:

Class of 2016: Top 50 high school football players in Illinois

EDGY: Breaking down the class of 2016 for National Signing Day

Edgy Tim will also appear in a special National Signing Day segment on SportsTalk Live at 5 p.m.

3:15 p.m. Northern Illinois announced 21 commitments today, including 10 players who will stay in the state of Illinois. The top in-state prospects include Oswego offensive lineman Austin Warner and Loyola Academy defensive tackle Ben LeRoy. Both players made Edgy Tim's top 50 players in the state of Illinois, as they come in at No. 41 and No. 43, respectively. Other area standouts in the class include Oak Park-River Forest tailback Antonio Cannon, Maine South wide receiver Ryan Gibbons, Glenbard East wide receiver Karon Keyes, McHenry linebacker Corey Lersch and Mount Carmel quarterback Anthony Thompson. Overall, the Huskies signed players from nine different states, including five commitments from the state of Florida.

3:00 p.m. Illinois has received signatures from 25 new recruits today. The Illini didn't reel in a lot of star talent from a local perspective, but the group features eight three-star prospects to build around. The top in-state recruits are offensive lineman Kurt Gavin out of Lincoln-Way East and East St. Louis defensive back Stanley Green. Edgy Tim rates Gavin and Green as the No. 35 and No. 36 players, respectively, in the Illinois Class of 2016. CSN's Big Ten expert, Vinnie Duber, has more on the Illinois recruiting efforts.

2:45 p.m. Notre Dame has announced 23 signees today as the Irish have recruited well despite some changes on the coaching staff. CSN's Notre Dame expert, JJ Stankevitz, has more on a recruiting class that many consider to be among the top 15 in the country. The Irish also threw a retirement party for their fax machine, as the program is going digital with their Signing Day signatures going forward.

2:00 p.m. Ole Miss is vying for the No. 1 overall recruiting class and it includes a player from the Land of Lincoln. Nashville offensive lineman Royce Newman has signed with the Rebels. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Newman is a three-star prospect and Edgy Tim has him as the No. 16 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016. Ole Miss has been successful with offensive linemen from Illinois before. Ole Miss offensive tackle Fahn Cooper, a starter the last two seasons, is a graduate of Crystal Lake South.

1:30 p.m. CSN's own Edgy Tim stopped by the Signing Day ceremonies at Phillips, where the state champions in Class 4A have some talented players moving on to the college ranks. Among the notable Wildcats signing today include defensive tackle Amir Watts (Pittsburgh), linebacker Amani Jones (Iowa) and wide receiver Quayvon Skanes (UConn). All three players are among Edgy Tim's top 32 prospects in the state.

1:00 p.m. More reason to celebrate if you're a Michigan State fan as Fremd defensive back Kenney Lyke is officially a Spartan. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Lyke gives Michigan State another standout defensive player from the area, joining the star-studded group of defensive linemen going to East Lansing. Lyke is a three-star prospect and Edgy Tim has him as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016.

12:30 p.m. Penn State has the signature of Lake Forest Academy defensive end Daniel Joseph. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Joseph gives the Nittany Lions the No. 15 overall prospect from the state of Illinois. Joseph is regarded as a three-star prospect on Rivals.

12:00 p.m. North Carolina came into Illinois and nabbed a tight end as Carmel's Noah Turner is a Tar Heel. The 6-foot-3, 237-pound Turner is a three-star prospect and the No. 14 overall prospect in the state, according to Edgy Tim. Turner joins Carmel teammate Sean Foster (Iowa State) as Corsairs heading to Power 5 conferences.

11:45 a.m. The state's top tight end prospect, Albert Okwuegbunam, has signed with Missouri. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior from Sacred Heart Griffin is considered a three-star prospect by Rivals and Edgy Tim rates him as the No. 11 overall prospect in the state.

11:30 a.m. Edgy Tim catches up with Erik Swenson Wednesday morning as the Downers Grove South offensive tackle signed his letter of intent to Oklahoma:

11:25 a.m. After a monster senior season, Glenbard West running back Sam Brodner has signed with Wisconsin. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Brodner is a three-star prospect and regarded as the No. 17 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016, according to Edgy Tim.

11:10 a.m. Each member of Edgy Tim's top 10 in the Illinois Class of 2016 is officially signed as Nebraska announced the addition of Lincoln-Way West offensive lineman Bryan Brokop. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Brokop is a three-star prospect and Edgy Tim rates him as the No. 9 overall prospect in the state. 

11:00 a.m. Besides Michigan State, not many schools had a better year recruiting Illinois than the Iowa Hawkeyes. More signees from Illinois were announced by the Hawkeyes as Sycamore linebacker Nick Niemann is official. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Niemann is considered a three-star prospect by Rivals and Edgy Tim has Niemann as the No. 18 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016. Niemann is one of five members of Edgy Tim's top 50 in the Class of 2016 that is signing with Iowa today.

10:50 a.m. Bolingbrook linebacker Tuf Borland is already enrolled early at Ohio State but the Buckeyes still announced his signing today. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Borland is regarded as a three-star prospect and Edgy Tim had Borland as the No. 5 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016. 

10:30 a.m. The Sparty Party continues in the area as Lake Park defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk has signed to Michigan State. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Panasiuk joins Hinsdale South's Josh King and Evanston's Naquan Jones to form a talented area trio of defensive linemen headed to East Lansing. Panasiuk is regarded as a four-star prospect and the No. 21 overall defensive tackle in the nation. Edgy Tim has Panasiuk as the No. 2 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016, meaning Michigan State has signed three of the top four players from the state this year.

10:20 a.m. Notre Dame added another local star to its recruiting efforts as Nazareth Academy's Julian Love has signed with the Irish. The four-star Love is a 5-foot-11, 175-pound defensive back and Edgy Tim rates him as the No. 6 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016. Love is one of many potential impact players to sign with Notre Dame today and CSN's JJ Stankevitz has more on five-star Notre Dame signee Daelin Hayes, an early enrollee who could make an immediate impact with the Irish's pass rush

10:05 a.m. Michigan State is staying busy recruiting the Chicagoland area this morning as Evanston defensive tackle Naquan Jones is officially signed as a Spartan. The 6-foot-4, 286-pound Jones is considered a four-star prospect and Edgy Tim considers Jones as the No. 4 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016. Jones joins Hinsdale South's Josh King and Lake Park's Mike Panasiuk as talented area defensive lineman that are signing with Michigan State today. Coming off of an appearance in the College Football Playoff, the Spartans landed three of Edgy Tim's top four prospects from Illinois.

9:45 a.m. It's been a busy morning for Chicago's Big Ten team as Northwestern announced 22 signees, including two area stars. Locally, the Wildcats received signatures from Libertyville's Riley Lees and Loyola Academy's Eric Eschoo. As a quarterback at Libertyville, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Lees helped lead the Wildcats to the Class 7A state championship game. At Northwestern, Lees is expected to begin his career as a wide receiver. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Eschoo helped Loyola Academy capture the Class 8A state championship this past year and caught six touchdown passes during his senior season. Both Eschoo and Lees are considered three-star prospects, according to Rivals. CSN's Big Ten guru Vinnie Duber has more on Northwestern's recruiting class here.

9:35 a.m. The state's top prospect in football, Josh King, has officially signed with Michigan State. The Hinsdale South star defensive end is a four-star prospect and regarded as the No. 55 overall prospect in the country, according to Rivals. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound King is also considered the No. 6 overall defensive end in the national class.

9:30 a.m. Iowa State struck again in Illinois with the signing of Mount Carmel long snapper Steve Wirtel. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Wirtel joins Carmel offensive lineman Sean Foster as local players headed to the Cyclones.

9:20 a.m. Four-star offensive lineman Sean Foster is officially an Iowa State Cyclone. The 6-foot-8, 285-pound senior from Carmel is considered the No. 8 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016 by Edgy Tim.

9:10 a.m. Crystal Lake Central senior Romeo McKnight tore his ACL this season, but thankfully, his best days are ahead of him and he's headed to Iowa. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive lineman is considered a three-star prospect by Rivals and Edgy Tim has McKnight as the No. 31 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016. McKnight was also an IHSA state champion in wrestling as a junior in the 220-pound weight division. 

9:05 a.m. After demolishing opposing defenses on the ground this season, Niles North senior running back Barrington Wade has signed to Iowa. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Wade is considered a three-star prospect on Rivals and Edgy Tim has Wade as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016. 

9:00 a.m. Long snappers need love too. Loyola Academy senior John Shannon is regarded as one of the best long snappers in the country and the 6-foot-2 senior has signed to Notre Dame. Be sure to follow CSN's JJ Stankevitz for more Notre Dame National Signing Day coverage.

8:55 a.m. Naperville Central athlete Emmanuel Rugamba has signed with Iowa this morning. The 6-foot-0, 172-pound Rugamba is listed as a three-star prospect on Rivals and Edgy Tim rates him as the No. 10 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016.

8:50 a.m. After helping Phillips win a state championship, four-star defensive tackle Amir Watts is officially signed with Pitt. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Watts is regarded as Edgy Tim's No. 7 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016.

8:45 a.m. If you watched "The Drive" on High School Lites this fall then you're surely familiar with Homewood-Flossmoor's Kendric Pryor. The 6-foot-1 wide receiver/cornerback is officially a Wisconsin Badger after signing this morning. Edgy Tim rates Pryor as the No. 24 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016 and he's considered a three-star prospect on Rivals. 

8:15 a.m. Four-star offensive lineman Erik Swenson is officially an Oklahoma Sooner. The Downers Grove South senior is regarded as Edgy Tim's No. 3 overall prospect in the Illinois Class of 2016 and the 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman gives head coach Bob Stoops a solid addition.

High School Lites Preview: Week 9

NBC Sports Chicago

High School Lites Preview: Week 9

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 9 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Can Perspectives beat Solorio and get a shot at the state playoff field? Can Bolingbrook upset the Big Cobalt Blue Machine at Lincoln-Way East? Can Marist post a perfect ESCC season and beat Benet Academy in Lisle? Can Wheaton North upset Batavia and sneak into the state playoffs with a win? And who wins the CCL Blue championship game? Brother Rice? Montini?

Solorio vs. Perspectives, 3:45 p.m. at Stagg Stadium

EDGY's Take: Both Solorio (5-3, 2-2) and Perspectives (4-4, 0-4) are in must-win mode. They are both seeking a Week 9 win. Solorio is in with a win. Should Perspectives win, both teams will then await their state playoff fate on Saturday night when the IHSA pairings are released. Solorio head coach Bill Ziemba has playmakers in NIU commit WR/DB Messian Travis and with QB Tyrell Williams. Will the Sun Warriors be ready for an equally-hungry Perspectives team? The Warriors, with head coach Terry Jones at the helm, also have talent this season. It includes senior OL/DL Dominic Moore (6-foot-7, 290 pounds). He is one of the state's top uncommitted names. Can the Perspectives defense slow down and contain Solorio's skills department and overall big play ability?

EDGY's Pick: Solorio 28 Perspectives 16 

Dundee-Crown at Huntley, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Dundee-Crown (4-4, 3-4) is looking for their first playoff berth since 2013. A win by the Chargers would get them, at least, in the postseason conversation. Head coach Michael Steinhaus has a strong passing attack this fall led by under-the-radar QB Joshua Raby. TE/DE Justin Prusko is a name to watch as well. Huntley (5-3, 5-2) head coach Matt Zimolzak has also gotten a big season from his quarterback. Chris Raffin and the Red Raiders have several weapons on offense including WR Connor Fitzgerald. Can the Huntley defense get a consistent pass rush against the Dundee-Crown line? Can Dundee-Crown keep their offense on the field and win in a shootout?

EDGY's Pick: Huntley 34 Dundee-Crown 24

Lisle at Coal City, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lisle (8-0, 4-0) is having a terrific season under Hall of Fame head coach Paul Parpet. They are conference champs for the first time since 1981. Coach Parpet will rely on a very productive offense led by QB Jay McGrath and top receiver Jake Kowal. This is an Interstate Eight crossover against Coal City (7-1, 4-0), who will be going to the postseason for the eighth year in a row. Head coach Dan Hutchings has a balanced offensive attack led by junior QB Payton Hutchings, RB Connor Skubc and RB Dan Jezic. On defense, the Coalers defense have allowed just 42 points on the season. Can the Lisle offense consistently move the chains against the Coal City defense?

EDGY's Pick: Coal City 31 Lisle 27

Payton vs Kenwood, 7:15 p.m. at Gately Stadium

EDGY's Take: Payton (8-0, 4-0) and Kenwood (8-0, 4-0) are playing for the Chicago Public League Illini Prairie State conference title. Head coach George Klupchak has his Grizzles rolling behind QB Sage Shindler and RB Damien Goodman. The Payton defense has also been strong all season. Kenwood and head coach Sinque Turner has also an All-State caliber playmaker in senior WR/DB Mark Aitken (NIU). He is joined by a ton of speed on both sides of the football. Last possession wins?
EDGY's Pick: Kenwood 35 Payton 21

(16) Bolingbrook at (1) Lincoln-Way East, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East (8-0, 6-0) hasn't lost a regular season game since September 9, 2016. The 2018 Griffins are --once again-- stacked on both sides of the football. Keep an eye on QB Jack Baltz (Illinois State), RB Devon Williams, WR Jackson Ritter and WR Matt Judd. Bolingbrook (7-1, 5-1) have won four straight after a Week 4 loss to H-F. The Raiders, under head coach John Ivlow, have talent in the backfield with senior RB Anthony Williams Jr. (Michigan State) along with senior RB Quentin Pringle (Eastern Kentucky). The Bolingbrook defense has allowed just 80 points in 2018. Can Bolingbrook run the football consistently against the Lincoln-Way East defense?

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 28 Bolingbrook 20

(4) Marist at Benet, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Marist (7-1, 6-0) has won the East Suburban Catholic Conference. They are looking to finish with a win and earn a high seed in Class 8A. Marist head coach Ron Dawczak has received a huge season from senior QB Mike Markett. He has several weapons including WR Billy Skalitzky and WR Jadon Thompson. The Redhawks defense has been a strength as well. Keep an eye on senior S Kendric Nowling (Easter Michigan). Benet Academy (6-2, 4-2) and head coach Pat New will look towards QB Collin Gillespie and RB Ben Hickey as the keys on offense. The Redwings defense is also a strength. Watch for DL Jacob Snell and DE Jack Benish to make plays. Can the Benet defense limit the amount of Marist offensive touches? 

EDGY's Pick: Marist 34 Benet Academy 21

(2) Batavia at Wheaton North, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Batavia (8-0, 6-0) has locked up the DuKane Conference title, but they still have plenty to play for here including a high seed in the 7A playoff field. That, and a perfect 9-0 regular season, of course. Batavia last earned such a mark in 2015. The Bulldogs and head coach Dennis Piron will rely on a balanced offense with QB Jack Meyers and RB Art Taylor. The defense is anchored by LB Michael Jansey (Northwestern) and LB Luke Weerts (North Dakota State). Wheaton North (4-4, 3-3) and head coach Joe Wardynski are in must-win mode. The Falcons will look to the offense to be a catalyst. The unit is led by RB Antowon Tolbert and QB Nathan Love. On defense, the Falcons will need to slow down a very balanced Batavia offense. Can Wheaton North's defense force Batavia into turnovers? 

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 41 Wheaton North 20

(3) Brother Rice at (17) Montini, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: The Chicago Catholic Blue conference championship game features Brother Rice (8-0, 3-0) taking on Montini Catholic (8-0, 3-0). Crusaders head coach Brian Badke features an offense led by QB John Bean, RB Jessi Plunkett and WR Dylan Summers. They have big and physical offensive line as well. On the other side of the ball, Rice's defense has allowed just 52 points all season. Montini Catholic and second year head coach Mike Bukovsky feature a two quarterback system. Deontay Brown and Robert Brazziel have shared the position quite well. RB Nick Fedanzo (Illinois) and WR Nate Muersch are names to watch. The Montini defense has also been strong this season, allowing just 46 points in eight games. Can the Montini defense slow down the Crusaders running game? Can the Rice defense limit the Broncos' multiple offensive weapons?

EDGY's Pick: Brother Rice 21 Montini Catholic 14

Viewers' Choice Game 

Schaumburg at Fremd, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Both Schaumburg (4-4, 1-3) and Fremd (4-4, 3-1) are playing for their IHSA playoff lives. Head coach Lou Sponsel and the Vikings got out of the gates slow (0-3 record) but the Vikings found a spark behind RB-converted-to-QB Nick Rattin. That, along with a big and physical offensive and defensive lines could help reverse a 1-8 season quite nicely should Fremd win. Schaumburg, under head coach Mark Stilling, will be trying to get the Saxons on track. They have dropped three of their last four games. The Saxons have lots of speed and big play potential with senior WR/DB Heze Trotter along with sophomore RB Michael DiGioia. Can the Fremd defense limit the big play ability of Schaumburg?

EDGY's Pick: Fremd 24 Schaumburg 17

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

With the upcoming IHSA football playoff pairings announcement on Saturday night, here are some teams with modest win-loss records who opponents probably wouldn’t want to see in the early rounds of the postseason.

Loyola Academy (5-3): The Ramblers have struggled this season. But head coach John Holocek has, once again, led his team to the state playoff field. So what gives? Loyola has been inconsistent on offense and has turned the football over way too often. The team has also been dealing with various injuries. But the defense (minus a 35-3 loss to Brother Rice) has generally played well this season. If the Ramblers can clean up the turnovers and find a way to get their offense back in a rhythm, this team can undoubtedly surprise some teams along the way in Class 8A. 

Neuqua Valley (5-3): The Wildcats and head coach Bill Ellinghaus have dropped three tight games this season including a last possession, 21-14 decision to DuPage Valley Conference champion Naperville Central two weeks ago. If the Wildcats can continue to get steady production from a balanced offense, led by RB Will Cheviliar and QB John Gronowski, the defense is capable of keeping Neuqua Valley in every game this postseason.

Aurora Christian (5-3): Coach Dave Beebe’s Eagles have lost to three playoff-bound teams this season with a combined 21-3 record (IC Prep, St. Francis and Bishop McNamara). They have a potent spread-passing attack led by sophomore QB Ethan Hampton. Aurora Christian is also slated to wind up in the Class 1A bracket on pairings night. Their dynamic offense and passing game in general could be a tough matchup for opponents in, what usually is, Class 1A North bracket with teams that generally run the ball.

Barrington (5-3): The Broncos, under head coach Joe Sanchez, have also been dealing with a rash of mid-season injuries; that said, it looks like Barrington is getting healthy at the right time. Junior QB Tommy Fitzpatrick is back from injury and is a key catalyst for any Barrington postseason run. Fitzpatrick has weapons in junior WR EJ Darlington and senior RB Michael Curran. 

Lake Zurich (5-3): The Bears made a starting quarterback change last week as Jack Moses took the reins. He promptly led the Bears to a 42-0 win over Mundelein. If the Bears can limit turnovers and continue to get strong production from their offense, the L-Z defense is more than capable of making life very difficult for any higher seeds that they could draw in the 7A state playoff field. 

Edwardsville (5-3): The Tigers hit a rough patch starting the season with a 1-3 record. But they currently boast a four-game winnings streak heading into Friday night’s tilt at Collinsville. Edwardsville is led by senior QB Kendall Abdur Rahman (Notre Dame) and is a gamebreaker every time he touches the football. Sophomore RB Justin Johnson (and the team in general) possesses a ton of speed. There are athletes and playmakers on both sides of the football. 

Here are some more lower seeds who could wreak havoc:

Providence Catholic (5-3): If the Celtics can get their running game going, beware. 

Raby (5-3): The Raiders could be a handful in 4A.

St. Charles East (4-4): The Saints’ power-option game is always tough to defend. 

Joliet Catholic (4-4): IF the Hilltoppers can beat Notre Dame on Friday, they could be a very tough out in 5A.

Crystal Lake South (5-3): A huge offensive line leads the way for the Gators. 

Zion-Benton (4-4): The Zee-Bees can put as much talent on the field than most of their opponents. 

Lemont (4-4): Needs a win Friday over rival Oak Forest. If the offense can keep the chains moving, the Indians’ defense can do the rest. 

Crete-Monee (5-3): They are the Southland conference champs. Their first two losses in 2018? Lincoln-Way East (8-0) and Brother Rice (8-0).

Thornton (4-4): The Wildcats will need to upset Lincoln Way Central Friday. Thornton always has talent.