Preps Talk

COD head football coach Foster fights for junior college ball

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COD head football coach Foster fights for junior college ball

Junior college football, especially here in the state of Illinois, has been in a steady state of decline over the past several years.

No one knows this better than Matt Foster, the College of DuPage head football coach. Foster, a teacher at Wheaton North and former head football coach of the Falcons varsity program, decided a few years ago that keeping the opportunity of playing at the junior college level was to become Foster's new coaching passion.

"This is my mission," Foster said while talking about why he decided to jump back into the junior college level after successful coaching stops at both the high school and college level. "This is where my heart is and that goes for my entire coaching staff here at COD. I know that we can be a real game changer for kids and that's what motivates everyone here."

One of the prime examples of Matt Foster and his staff's mission is former Minooka -- and now Texas Tech Class of 2015 signee -- Paul Stawarz (6-foot-5, 280 pounds). Offensive tackle Stawarz, who was a late academic qualifier in his senior year at Minooka, decided to buy into Foster's mission and message.

"I can never thank the coaches at COD enough," Stawarz said. "I was a kid coming out of high school who just didn't take things too seriously. I was overweight in high school, never really worked too hard and that also went for the classroom.

"I was that kid that Coach Foster talks about all the time who took advantage of a second chance with the College of DuPage. I just decided to stop playing around because Juco ball was no joke. It was the eye opener that I needed and I just woke up and decided to do something positive with my opportunity."

[MORE PREPS: More offers on the way for Jones?]

The College of DuPage remains the only junior college in Illinois to offer football. The Chaparrals play a full season of games against other junior college teams from Iowa and Ohio as well as games against various NCAA D-3 schools.

"The travel really hasn't been too bad at all for us, and we also get to play against some great competition," Foster said. "Our goal is to win as many games as possible, but I have a staff in place (which includes former head coaches in Lake Park's Andy Livingston and Simeon's Jesse Chick) that also can see the bigger picture. It's all about putting the finishing touches on kids who have a chance to move on to the next level."

Yet the Chapparal coaches have also discovered that its mission goes well beyond the football field.

"Our mission also has to do with much more than just football. We have kids every year who have two years to figure it all out. Some move on and play football after they leave us but we also have guys who just find themselves and find a path and a new direction in life. If we can't offer those kids these opportunities, then where do they go? That's why I'm here and that's why my staff is also here at the College of DuPage. We believe in keeping those opportunities available for kids."

Chicago native Will Bynum to return to the BIG3 league

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USA TODAY

Chicago native Will Bynum to return to the BIG3 league

Chicago native Will Bynum is making a return to the Big 3 basketball league. Last year the 6-foot guard served as a co-captain for the team "Bivouac," and instantly became a fan-favorite as one of the most exciting players in the three-on-three league, where he set the single-game scoring record.

His BIG3 squad — coached by 1978 Bulls No. 9 overall pick Reggie Theus — went 4-4 last season and missed a playoff spot due to point differential. Bynum, who averaged 15.9 points per 36 minutes over an eight-year NBA career, showcased perhaps the best handles of anyone in the BIG3 and certainly broke out the best "Shammgod," hesitation dribble in the league's brief history. During his time in the BIG3, Bynum has shown off the same type of flashy playmaking and scoring prowess that made him a local legend at Crane High School.

Bynum's Bivouac squad is comprised of himself, 13-year NBA veteran Josh Smith and 10-year NBA veteran Marreese Speights. Smith was on the team last season, while Speights will be making his BIG3 debut. The 2020 BIG3 season kicks off on June 2020 in Memphis, Tenn. and they make their first stop in Chicago at the United Center on Aug. 15. 

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Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

Bolingbrook has been a must stop for years for college coaches and recruiters, and the Raiders and head coach John Ivlow continue to develop high level talent in high demand. 

Bolingbrook already has seen Class of 20121 safety Justin Walters commit to Notre Dame earlier this month, and the Raiders also have more names emerging this winter. 

Bolingbrook (Ill.) junior three-star ranked outside linebacker recruit Tyler McLaurin (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) has continued to add more scholarship offers despite being in the middle of a recruiting dead period. 

"I've been able to add some recent scholarship offers," McLaurin said. "My latest offers come from Boston College, Missouri, Texas Tech and Virginia."

McLaurin is also starting to look harder at his upcoming spring visit plans but is also hoping to delay his visits because of basketball.

"I know that I'm going to visit Iowa State and also Nebraska this spring. I also want to get out to visit more schools, but it all depends on my basketball schedule. We are having a great season so far (26-5) and we are aiming for a deep state playoff run. I'm sure I'll try to fit a few more visits later this spring but again it all depends on my schedule and the state playoffs."

Does McLaurin have a time frame just yet for making a college decision?

"I'm hoping to make some official visits towards the end of May or early June. Ideally I would be making a college decision by the end of July, but that's still a ways away. Hopefully the timing will all work out but I also don't want to rush anything just to make a decision near a set date."

Tyler McLaurin is currently holding 14 FBS level scholarship offers this winter. 

Bolingbrook junior DB Malik Rainey (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) was able to add his first ACC offer earlier this week when the University of Virginia extended him a scholarship offer.

"The offer from Virginia was sort of a surprise," Rainey said. "My head coach (John Ivlow) shared my video with one of the coaches at Virginia. I was then asked to call back the coaches at Virginia and that's when they offered me."

Rainey, who is playing 7on7 this winter and spring for Boom Midwest has also been drawing increased recruiting attention this winter.

"I have offers now from Virginia and Kent State. I've also been in contact with the coaches from Texas Tech, Kansas State, Nebraska, Miami of Ohio along with several other MAC schools."

Does Rainey have any upcoming spring visit plans?

"I have three visits I'm looking to make this spring. I want to get out to visit Kansas State, Virginia and also Kent State. When I visit a school I'm looking to just get to know the coaches better and I'm also looking for a school; where I feel comfortable and at home."

Chicago (Ill.) Simeon three-star ranked offensive tackle Cameron James (6-foot-8, 280 pounds) has continued to draw plenty of scholarship offers and recruiting attention this winter. James checks in and lays out his upcoming spring college visit plans and more here.
"My latest offer is from Michigan State," James said. "It's a big offer for sure. They are always strong upfront and they always have a great defense. I also like the Michigan State offense as well."
James also filled us in on his upcoming spring unofficial visit plans.

"I'm going to make some visits next month (March). I'm going to go back to Purdue for a spring practice. I'm also looking at visiting both Minnesota and Missouri in March. Those are the only visits I have planned for now."

James has 17 FBS level scholarship offers so far this winter. 

Oak Park (Ill.) Fenwick sophomore dual quarterback prospect Kaden Cobb (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) is getting ready for what he hopes is a big 2020 junior season. Cobb is also planning on having a very busy upcoming spring recruiting period and recaps his latest recruiting news and more here.

"I've been in touch with several college coaches this winter and a lot of them want me to come out and make a spring visit. I'm already set to go back to Iowa on March 1st. l'm also set to visit Indiana on March 7th and then visit Michigan State on March 8th. I'm also going to visit Michigan sometime in either late March or early April. Missouri has also been in touch and I'm hoping to visit them sometime this spring."

Cobb is excited about the growing list of college coaches expected to visit his school this spring.

"It seems like a lot of the college coaches will be in school this spring and they all want to see me throw. I know that so far we are expecting coaches from Notre Dame, Michigan, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern."