Preps Talk

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


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

Without question, the defensive line spot was the strength of this signing class as three of the top four spots are help by that position. Michigan State also cleaned up locally as the Spartans landed four Illinois names on the list, including the state's top ranked recruit in Hinsdale South's Josh King.

Illinois and head coach Bill Cubit didn't fare well in state as the Illini lost a handful of committed players including West Aurora's Drake Spears. However, Illinois did have four names in the Top 50 -- but no names in the Top 20.

[MORE: Recruiting - Swenson picks Oklahoma; Stallings flips to Indiana]

How about Northwestern and NIU? Overall, both schools fared well but both also had limited scholarships available. 

Three players remain uncommitted at this point. West Aurora safety Drake Spears Jr. and O'Fallon running back Kentrail Moran both became late decommitments in the Illinois signing class. Spears Jr. added a recent offer from Kansas while Moran made an official visit to Eastern Michigan. Morgan Park senior LB Sean Williams is a strong lean to Northern Iowa and is expected to ink with the Panthers on Wednesday. 

So how does the Class of 2016 shape up overall? What letter grade did I give the class in Illinois? Which schools are winners on Signing Day? Which five players that were not included in my Top 50 rankings could become surprises at the next level? More to come tomorrow.

1. Josh King (DE), Hinsdale South -- Michigan State

2. Mike Panasiuk (DT), Lake Park -- Michigan State

3. Erik Swenson (OT), Downers Grove South -- Oklahoma

4. Naquan Jones (DT), Evanston -- Michigan State

5. Tuf Borland (LB), Bolingbrook -- Ohio State

6. Julian Love (ATH), Nazareth Academy -- Notre Dame

7. Amir Watts (DT), Phillips -- Pittsburgh

8. Bryan Brokop (OG), Lincoln-Way West -- Nebraska

9. Sean Foster (OT), Carmel -- Iowa State

10. Emmanuel Rugamba (WR/DB), Naperville Central -- Iowa

11. Albert Okwuegbunam (TE), Sacred Heart Griffin -- Missouri

12. Desmond Bland (OL), Homewood-Flossmoor -- Arizona Western JC

13. Kenney Lyke (DB), Fremd -- Michigan State

14. Noah Turner (TE), Carmel -- North Carolina

15. Daniel Joseph (DE), Lake Forest Academy -- Penn State

16. Royce Newman (OL), Nashville -- Ole Miss

17. Sam Brodner (RB), Glenbard West -- Wisconsin

18. Nick Niemann (LB), Sycamore -- Iowa

19. Drake Spears (DB), West Aurora -- Undecided

20. Eric Eshoo (TE), Loyola -- Northwestern

21. Riley Lees (ATH), Libertyville --Northwestern

22. Thomas Schaffer (DE), Lake Forest Academy -- Stanford

23. Juwuane Parchman (ATH), Auburn -- Illinois

24. Kendric Pryor (WR), Homewood-Flossmoor -- Wisconsin

25. Matt Little (QB), Evanston -- Western Michigan

26. Barrington Wade (RB), Niles North -- Iowa

27. Kentrail Moran (RB), O'Fallon -- Undecided

28. Justin Witt (OL), Lincoln-Way West -- North Carolina State

29. Trevour Simms (OL), East St. Louis -- Missouri

30. Amani Jones (LB), Phillips -- Iowa

31. Romeo McKnight (DE), Crystal Lake Central -- Iowa

32. Quayvon Skanes (WR), Phillips -- UConn

33. Liam O'Sullivan (OL), Maine South -- Syracuse

34. Steven Frank (QB), Oswego -- Florida Atlantic

35. Travion Banks (DB), Evanston -- Miami of Ohio

36. Kurt Gavin (OL), Lincoln-Way East -- Illinois

37. Stanley Green (DB), East St. Louis -- Illinois

38. Tucker McCann (K), O'Fallon -- Oklahoma

39. Matt Allen (OL), Hinsdale Central -- Michigan State

40. Brett Borske (TE), Neuqua Valley -- Western Michigan

41. Austin Warner (OL), Oswego -- Northern Illinois

42. Jonathon Ward (RB), Bishop McNamara -- Central Michigan

43. Ben Leroy (DT), Loyola -- Northern Illinois

44. Ben Kimpler (DE), Libertyville -- Miami of Ohio

45. Ken Aguirre (DT), Joliet Catholic -- Western Michigan

46. Jahmari Moore (LB), Oak Park-River Forest -- Wyoming

47. Joshua Black(DE), Harlem -- Syracuse

48. Doug Kramer Jr. (OL), Hinsdale Central -- Illinois (greyshirt)

49. Sean Williams (LB), Morgan Park -- Undecided

50. Desmond Chapple (DE), Edwardsville -- Northern Iowa

VOTE: Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

NBC Sports Chicago

VOTE: Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area football fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @NBCSPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m. The show also live streams at High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday. 

Week 9 is “Bubble Week” for many teams fighting to stay on the right side of the postseason bubble. Who moves on? Whose bubble will burst? Will Wauconda advance to the playoffs after finishing 2-7 last year? Or will Grant end their season on a winning note? Schaumburg and Fremd both stand at 4-4. The winner goes to the postseason. The winner stays home for November. Zion-Benton hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2003. A win over Libertyville gets them there. But for the Wildcats, this ‘is’ their playoff game. Who wins in the North Suburban conference? We’ll send our cameras to one of the following:

Grant at Wauconda, 7:15 p.m.

Schaumburg at Fremd, 7:30 p.m.

Libertyville at Zion-Benton, 7:30 p.m.

— Follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @NBCSPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.

Edgy Tim's Preps Power Rankings: Week 9

NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Preps Power Rankings: Week 9

Here are the latest @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings.
1. Lincoln-Way East 8-0 (1)
Last Week: Beat Thornwood, 56-18
This Week: vs Bolingbrook
EDGY's Take: The Griffins get a nice Week 9 test hosting Bolingbrook. Can the Raiders push the Griffins for four quarters?

2. Batavia 8-0 (2)
Last Week: Beat St. Charles North, 27-24
This Week: @ Wheaton North
EDGY's Take: An epic drive late in the game with no timeouts. The Bulldogs pull out the close-call win over St. Charles North.  

3. Brother Rice 8-0 (3)
Last Week: Beat Leo, 48-0
This Week: @ Montini Catholic
EDGY's Take: What were the preseason that the biggest Chicago Catholic League game of the year would be Brother Rice at Montini?

4. Marist 7-1 (4)
Last Week: Beat Marian Central Catholic, 42-6
This Week: @ Benet Academy
EDGY's Take: The Redhawks will get a nice Week 9 on Friday from Benet at Benedictine University. 

5. Mount Carmel 7-1 (5)
Last Week: Beat St. Laurence, 40-0
This Week: vs Fenwick
EDGY's Take: The Caravan have been playing as well as any contenders ranked here.

6. Homewood-Flossmoor 7-1 (6)
Last Week: Beat Andrew, 35-3
This Week: vs Sandburg
EDGY's Take: Head coach Craig Buzea got his 200th career win last Friday over Andrew.

7. Cary-Grove 8-0 (7)
Last Week: Beat Prairie Ridge, 21-14
This Week: vs Naperville Central
EDGY's Take: The Trojans rallied from being down 14-0 and scored 21 unanswered points to defeat their bitter rivals.

8. Simeon 8-0 (8)
Last Week: Beat Taft, 58-7
This Week: @ Curie
EDGY's Take: The big question coming Saturday night-- Will the Wolverines wind up in 8A or 7A? 

9. Nazareth Academy 7-1 (9)
Last Week: Beat Joliet Catholic, 49-20
This Week: vs Marian Catholic
EDGY's Take: The Roadrunners get a nice bounce-back win last Friday over Joliet Catholic.

10. Maine South 7-1 (10)
Last Week: Beat New Trier, 38-21
This Week: vs Niles West
EDGY's Take: The Hawks get another big Central Suburban South win. 

11. Oswego 8-0 (11)
Last Week: Beat Joliet Central, 49-0
This Week: @ Plainfield South
EDGY's Take: The Panthers will take on a very defensive-minded Plainfield South team on Friday.
12. Richards 8-0 (13)
Last Week: Beat Reavis, 51-0
This Week: vs Eisenhower
EDGY's Take: The Bulldogs continue to cruise and are gearing for a high seed in Class 6A.
13. Phillips 6-2 (14)
Last Week: Beat Westinghouse, 46-6
This Week: @ Raby
EDGY's Take: The Wildcats will look to finish strong this week against Raby.

14. Willowbrook 8-0 (15)
Last Week: Beat Proviso East, 40-7
This Week: @ Downers Grove South
EDGY's Take: The Warriors will look to send Downers Grove South (4-4) home for the holidays on Friday.

15. Naperville Central 6-2 (16)
Last Week: Beat Waubonsie Valley, 35-14
This Week: @ Cary-Grove
EDGY's Take: The Redhawks have won six straight games and have the makings of a team that could make some postseason noise. 

16. Bolingbrook 7-1 (17)
Last Week: Beat Thornton, 43-7
This Week: @ Lincoln-Way East
EDGY's Take: The Raiders will look to derail the "Big Cobalt Blue Machine" this Friday in Frankfort. 

17. Montini 8-0 (18)
Last Week: Beat Providence Catholic, 27-3
This Week: vs Brother Rice
EDGY's Take: The Broncos will host Brother Rice on Friday in the biggest game of the year in the Chicago Catholic League.

18. Oak Park-River Forest 6-2 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Glenbard West, 10-7
This Week: vs Lyons Township
EDGY's Take: The Huskies have a top-notch defense and found a way to beat Glenbard West at Duchon Field. It was OPRF's first win there since 1998.

19. Warren Township 7-1 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Stevenson, 21-0
This Week: @ Mundelein
EDGY's Take: The Blue Devils defense came to play. An impressive 21-0 shutout over Stevenson 21-0 last Friday.

20. Glenbard West 6-2 (12)
Last Week: Lost to Oak Park-River Forest, 10-7
This Week: @ Proviso West
EDGY's Take: The Hilltoppers defense is still salty as ever. But can the offense find a few more options besides standout RB Tyquan Cox?

21. Hillcrest 8-0 (22)
Last Week: Beat TF North, 50-6
This Week: vs Bremen
EDGY's Take: The Hawks have made it look easy this regular season. They'll go for a 9-0 sweep later this week in an effort to claim a high seed in 5A.

22. Notre Dame 7-1 (23)
Last Week: Beat Carmel, 21-7
This Week: vs Joliet Catholic
EDGY's Take: The Dons now host JCA and will try to knock out the Hilltoppers from the state playoff field.

23. Hinsdale Central 8-0 (24)
Last Week: Beat Lyons Township, 57-0
This Week: vs Hinsdale South
EDGY's Take: The Red Devils will get challenged this Friday against crosstown rival Hinsdale South (The "Doings Cup" game).

24. Rolling Meadows 8-0 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Hersey, 38-35
This Week: @ Buffalo Grove
EDGY's Take: The Mustangs get a huge win over Hersey. Why do I get the feeling we could see an RM-Hersey rematch in the postseason?
25. St. Charles North 6-2 (21)
Last Week: Lost to Batavia, 27-24
This Week: vs Wheaton South
EDGY's Take: The North Stars drop a last-second loss to Batavia last Friday; they will look to get back on track this week against another tough opponent in Wheaton South.