Preps Talk

CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 9 Thornton

CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 9 Thornton

School: Thornton

2015-16 record: 25-4, 13-1 in the SouthWest Suburban Red

Postseason results: Lost to Simeon, 88-75, in Class 4A Bloom Sectional finals. 

Players to watch: The return of senior guard Alonzo Verge to the area is one of the season's biggest storylines as he's an instant Player of the Year candidate who can really score. As a sophomore a Willowbrook, Verge put up big scoring performances, averaging 23 points a game and scoring in thrilling ways.

[RELATED: CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings - No. 10 Hillcrest]

Why they're in the Power Rankings: Besides Verge, this Thornton team won 25 games and made a sectional title game in head coach Tai Streets' first season and this team is talented and plays well together. 

Did you know? Thornton is seeking its first sectional title since 2009, which is also the last year they went to Peoria.

Edgy Tim's recruiting News and Notes

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USA Today

Edgy Tim's recruiting News and Notes

Marist junior three-star ranked offensive tackle Pat Coogan (6-foot-5, 295 pounds) added an offer from Notre Dame last week. Since then, Coogan has picked up new offers from Ohio State, Oklahoma and LSU all within a week's time frame. 

"It feels amazing," Coogan said. "I never could have imagined I would get offers from three out of four CFB playoff teams. It's been a wild week."

Coogan admitted that the offer from Notre Dame is special. 

"It's a big one for sure," Coogan said. "It's an offer I wanted for a long time now. I've been a Notre Dame fan my whole life, and when they offered me, it was a surreal moment."

Batavia (IL) junior inside linebacker recruit Matt "Mojo" Weerts (6-foot-2, 217 pounds) added his latest scholarship offer on Monday from the University of Arizona. 

"I'm really excited and pumped about getting an offer from Arizona," Weerts said. "Coach (Evan) DeVan from Arizona recruited my brother when he was coaching at Ball State, so I know him already, and Arizona is a great school and program."

"I know that Arizona plays in the PAC 12 conference, which is one of the top conferences in the nation. I also know that Arizona offers great academics, and I'm just proud to add an offer from the Wildcats. I have family that lives in Phoenix, and I'm hoping that I'll get a chance to visit Arizona later this spring or this summer."

Fremd junior offensive guard recruit Jack Walsh (6-foot-3, 290 pounds) had a good week, too. 

"It was great to get all of those offers over the past week," Walsh said. "I was able to add offers from Missouri State, Illinois State, SIU, EIU and also South Dakota, plus Southeast Missouri State."

Walsh has also drawn increased recruiting attention from several schools.

"Besides the schools who have offered me, I've also been in contact with the coaches from NIU, Ball State, Purdue, Wyoming and also Kent State. The coaches want me to stay in touch with them, and, hopefully, we will be able to get out to make some college visits sometime soon."

Hersey junior offensive guard recruit Ryan Gudaitis (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) recently added his first two scholarship offers when both Illinois State and Southern Illinois decided to extend him a scholarship offer.

"I was able to add my first two offers from Illinois State and Southern Illinois," Gudaitis said. "I was hoping that I would eventually draw some scholarship offers but getting them this early is really a nice surprise."

Gudaitis, who is a three sport athlete at Hersey (football, basketball and baseball), has also seen more recruiting interest early this spring. 

"I've also been hearing from several other schools, including South Dakota, NIU, North Dakota, EIU, plus some of the Minnesota D2 schools like Winona State and Minnesota Duluth. I was able to make a junior day visit to NIU back in February, and that went well, but it was my only visit for now. I was also planning to visit ISU later this spring, but that's been cancelled."

Coronavirus Impact: How schools are handling football recruiting

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USA Today

Coronavirus Impact: How schools are handling football recruiting

While the coronavirus pandemic has shut down nearly everything sports related, college football recruiting hasn't stopped despite the current NCAA Dead Period, which is currently in place until April 15.

The Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level was actually in a recruiting quiet period up until March 13 when the NCAA decided to switch back to the dead period in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The NCAA Dead Period then eliminated any on-campus or off-campus in-person contact with prospective student-athletes.

So why is football recruiting still ongoing despite being in an NCAA mandated dead period? 

The NCAA Dead Period does permit phone calls and electronic communication between coaches and eligible recruits.  In fact, you could argue that recruiting has seen a bigger boost over the past few weeks with several schools extending more college scholarship offers at this early point of the recruiting calendar.

Why? 

I was able to speak with a dozen different college coaches over the past weekend regarding the impact of the coronavirus. Nearly every college coach I spoke with agreed that the upcoming Spring Evaluation Period, which is set by the NCAA to start on April 15 and end on May 31, will be eliminated by the NCAA because of the ongoing pandemic. The Spring Evaluation Period allows for colleges to have in school evaluation visits along with being allowed to host recruits for both unofficial and official visits. 

With the possibilities of the NCAA eliminating the Spring Evaluation Period, college coaches will be losing an important contact period for seeing potential recruits work out in person and it also gives high school players one less chance to be seen in person by college coaches. 

Without the very real possibility of not having any in-person evaluations this spring, many college coaches have spent this recruiting dead period more focused on its scouting and film study. Several colleges are now extending more early scholarship offers during this dead period than ever before, hoping to at least attract interest and eventually a verbal commitment from the players at the top of its recruiting board. These early offers are also coming from several different levels of college football, including several of the State of Illinois FCS level programs (Illinois State/SIU/EIU/WIU) who have been very active over the past few weeks. 

The summer NCAA Football Quiet Period, which is set to begin on June 1, is one of the busiest times of the year. The summer one day camp circuit features a handful of weeks of on-campus college football camps and is also in potential jeopardy according to the coaches I spoke with.

Those same coaches said that the college one day camps each year draw hundreds of kids in from all over the Midwest, and in some cases draw kids and parents traveling from across the country. The severity of the coronavirus and its severity is much different in spots all over the country, and it will take some time before it truly begins to loosen its grip across the country. The timing of the summer quiet period could potentially be pushed back, but again, that begins to threaten the college football schedules including when schools are allowed to assemble and have team practice. 

So in the meantime? College football recruiting — along with the rest of the world — will continue to operate in uncharted waters as many sit at home and wait for this pandemic to wind down.