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

10 Days to Kickoff: Mount Carmel

10 Days to Kickoff: Mount Carmel

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 @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Mount Carmel

Head coach: Jordan Lynch

How they fared in 2018: 11-2 (4-0 CCL Green Conference). Mount Carmel made the Class 7A state playoff field and defeated T.F. South, Lake Zurich and East St. Louis. They advanced to the semifinal round where they lost St. Charles North.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Calumet New Tech (Indiana) 
Sept. 6 @ Maine South
Sept. 13 vs Montini 
Sept. 20 vs Loyola
Sept. 27 @ Marmion Academy
Oct. 4 @ Marist
Oct. 11 vs De La Salle
Oct. 18 @ St. Viator
Oct. 25 vs Brother Rice

[MORE: 14 Days to Kickoff - Montini] 

Biggest storyline: The new field. So long, Gately Stadium. Hello, Barda-Dowling Stadium at Carey Field. Can the Caravan continue their winning tradition with the first full season on campus at their new facility?

Names to watch this season: OL Jalen Grant (Sr.) and RB/LB Kenenna Odeluga (Jr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Caravan will need to replace several graduated starters on both sides of the football this summer including nine starters on offense. 

EDGY's Early Take: The changes to Mount Carmel football have been extensive. In just a few shorts years, the Caravan went from (1) playing under Hall of Fame head coach Frank Lenti, (2) with all of their home games at Gately Stadium and (3) participating in the historical Chicago Catholic League. Now? Second-year head coach Jordan Lynch will lead the Caravan into the newly-realigned CCL/ESCC Blue conference while playing on true home field turf at Barda-Dowling Stadium at Carey Field. The Caravan will feature several new starters but the talent level will remain very high. The stacked underclassmen group is worth noting. Keep an eye on senior OG Jalen Grant. But also, RB/LB Kenenna Odeluga, QB Justin Lynch and ATH Benjamin Perry --all juniors-- are just a few of the many underclassmen to watch this fall. This team will be a bit inexperienced on, but they also have the makings of a team that will get better each week in 2019. 
 

11 Days to Kickoff: Lake Zurich

11 Days to Kickoff: Lake Zurich

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 @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Lake Zurich

Head coach: Ron Planz

How they fared in 2018: 7-4 (5-2 North Suburban Conference). Lake Zurich made the Class 7A state playoff field and defeated DeKalb in the opening round. They lost to Mount Carmel in second round action.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ Fremd
Sept. 6 vs Marist
Sept. 13 @ Zion-Benton
Sept. 20 @ Lake Forest
Sept. 27 vs Stevenson
Oct. 4 vs Libertyville
Oct. 11 vs Warren Township
Oct. 18 vs Mundelein
Oct. 25 vs Waukegan

[MORE: 95 Days to Kickoff - Fremd

Biggest storyline: New head coach Ron Planz. Can the Bears make the adjustment to their new head coach and keep up their winning ways in 2019?

Names to watch this season: QB/DB Jack Moses (Sr.), LB Bryan Sanborn (Jr.), TE Hunter Welcing (Sr., Northwestern)

Biggest holes to fill: In the trenches. The Bears will need to reload on both the offensive and defensive lines.
 
EDGY's Early Take: The Bears have a new leader in former Elmhurst College head coach Ron Planz, who originally took the head coaching position at Larkin then took the job at Lake Zurich after Luke Mertens surprisingly stepped down late this spring. LZ welcomes back some key names from a season ago including senior QB Jack Moses, senior TE Hunter Welcing (Northwestern) along with Power Five recruit in junior LB Bryan Sanborn. The Bears schedule is certainly no gimme. Early nonconference tests against Fremd and Marist will great tests right out of the gate. Getting five straight home games to close the regular season is a big plus. This team is hungry to get back into the playoffs and make some noise later this fall.