Preps Talk

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

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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

62 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln Park

62 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln Park

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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

 

School: Lincoln Park

Head coach: Vince DeFrancesco

Assistant coaches: Steve Karoff, Grant Magnuson, Tyler Clark, Brandon Randolph, Alex Green and Tom Dellota

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (7-0 Chicago Public League Chicago Big Shoulders Conference). Lincoln Park made the Class 7A state football playoff field. The Lions lost to Alton in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ IWT Speer

Sept. 1 vs. Kenwood

Sept. 7 vs. Hubbard

Sept. 14 @ Phillips

Sept. 21 vs. Lane Tech

Sept. 28 vs. Taft

Oct. 5 vs. Westinghouse

Oct. 12 vs. Raby

Oct. 19 vs. Morgan Park

Biggest storyline: The Lions' new conference. Can Lincoln Park keep its winning ways when they start playing in the CPL/Illini Land of Lincoln this fall?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Dane Romberger and DB Jalen Jenkins

Biggest holes to fill: The Lions will need to reload on the offensive side of the football this summer with just three starters back this fall.

EDGY's Early Take: Coach Vince DeFrancesco's Lions have been on a nice roll, getting to the IHSA state playoffs in each of his past three seasons (four straight for the school overall). However, the price for the Lions' success is extremely high. The CPL Illini Land of Lincoln is loaded. The schedule includes the likes of Kenwood, Hubbard, Phillips, Raby and Morgan Park...just to name a few. If the Lions can develop their less experienced offense this summer, all the better for them.

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Shepard

Head coach: John Rone

Assistant coaches: Andrew Porter, Ron Rivera, Chris Lewis, Ryan McGuire and Clint Connelly

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (5-1 South Suburban Red Conference). Shepard made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Astros lost to Marmion Academy in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Leyden

Sept. 1 @ Stagg

Sept 7 vs Hillcrest

Sept. 14 vs Eisenhower

Sept. 21 @ Richards

Sept. 28 @ Oak Lawn

Oct. 5 vs Reavis

Oct. 12 vs Evergreen Park

Oct. 19 @ Argo

Biggest storyline: First-year head coach John Rone. Can the Astros challenge once again for the South Suburban Red conference title under a new head coach?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Chris Harrison and TE/DE Kevin Graham

Biggest holes to fill: The Astros bring back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). Overall depth could also be a concern.  

EDGY's Early Take: Shepard will be led by former Eisenhower assistant Rone, who was able to retain an experienced staff at Shepard. It will help ease the transition from former head coach Dominic Passolano this summer. If the Astros can get off to a good early start they have the overall talent to again make a state playoff appearance in 2018. Can they challenge conference power Richards in the South Suburban Red race?