Preps Talk

Cubit, Illini getting in earlier and earlier on in-state recruits

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Cubit, Illini getting in earlier and earlier on in-state recruits

It didn't take long for college football to transition from signing their respective 2016 classes to recruiting the class of 2017.

In fact, the rush to extend early scholarship offers has quickly become an arms race of sorts.

Need proof?

Illinois head coach Bill Cubit and his staff didn't fare well with their recently signed in-state 2016 class, adding only East St. Louis safety Stanley Green and Lincoln-Way East offensive linemen Kurt Gavin.

So the Fighting Illini have made sure to hit the upcoming in-state class hard, extending more than 25 verbal scholarship offers already. Illinois also brought in a huge group of in-state names from the junior class a few weeks ago. The message from the Fighting Illini coaches to the players and parents in attendance?

“When they (Illinois) offered, they told me that this is our state and our team," according to Bolingbrook junior wide receiver Kendall Smith. "The Illinois coaches then told me that I had received a full scholarship to play there. They definitely wanted all of us to know that in-state kids are a big priority to them in this class.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Illini fans!]

Illinois, though, is far from the only school extending (and in some cases, already drawing) verbal commitments from players. All of this just under a year from actually signing a national letter of intent.

Western Michigan already has added three verbal commitments from the Land of Lincoln in East St. Louis QB Reyondous Estes, Bishop McNamara wide receiver Chris Bell and Rockford Lutheran defensive back Marcus Hayes. The Broncos and head coach P.J. Fleck have also extended over 30 verbal scholarship offers to Illinois athletes for the upcoming class.

Other rival Mid-American Conference schools such as Bowling Green, Miami (Ohio), Toledo and Central Michigan have also been working the junior class hard.

So why extend so many early scholarship offers?

Some college coaches attempt to be the "first" scholarship offer for a prospect. Kids and parents alike will talk about colleges "taking a chance" and showing "loyalty.”

For the college coaches, it's pretty much a win-win scenario at this stage of the recruiting process. The most important point to remember is that everything is verbal and doesn't become legal until Feb. 1, 2017, the first day recruits can sign a letter of intent.

Both players and college coaches alike are on the trust system when it comes to college coaches accepting a verbal commitment. In many cases, these same players who give very early verbal commitments with the best of intentions wind up de-committing for various reasons, including coaching changes.

In the meantime, get ready for more breaking news and verbal commitments all year long from a recruiting process that literally never stops.

95 Days to Kickoff: Waubonsie Valley

95 Days to Kickoff: Waubonsie Valley

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: Waubonsie Valley

Head coach: Paul Murphy

Assistant coaches: Ron Griffin, Tom Baumgarnter, Chris Genslinger, Brad Caldwell, Josh Cuttone, Noel Soto, Ryan Voitik, Duane Butts and Ken Anderson

How they fared in 2017: 4-5 (4-4 DuPage Valley Conference). Waubonsie Valley failed to qualify for the IHSA playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Oak Park-River Forest

Aug. 31 vs Libertyville

Sept 7 @ Neuqua Valley

Sept. 14 @ Edwardsville

Sept. 21 vs Naperville North

Sept. 28 vs Neuqua Valley

Oct. 5 vs Prairie Ridge

Oct. 12 @ Naperville Central

Oct. 19 @ Metea Valley

[MORE: 96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs]

Biggest storyline: It's all about the schedule. Can the Warriors survive a challenging lineup --which includes playing Neuqua Valley twice-- and make the playoffs?

Names to watch this season: WR Julian Cain and DL Avante Rogers

Biggest holes to fill: The Warriors will have several new faces on both the offensive and defensive lines in 2018. 

EDGY's Early Take: It's not often that veteran head coach Paul Murphy and his Warriors view the playoffs from home. But that's what happened last year. They were the first Waubonsie team since 2006 to do just that. Look for the Warriors to rely on a strong group of receivers to bounce back this fall. They also feature a good group of underclassmen ready to step up. Also, they will need to get used to life in the newly-realigned DuPage Valley Conference. The 2018 schedule includes two games against big district rival Neuqua Valley and a loaded non-conference slate which includes some heavy hitters. 

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

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: Jacobs

Head coach: Bill Mitz

Assistant coaches: Bubba Smith, Mike Warren, Brian Zimmerman, JM Foote, Ryan Arndt and Bob Mackey

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-3 Fox Valley Conference). Jacobs made the Class 7A playoff field. The Golden Eagles lost to Lincoln-Way West in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 Hampshire 

Aug. 31 @ Huntley 

Sept. 7 Dundee-Crown 

Sept. 14 @ McHenry 

Sept. 21 Neuqua Valley 

Sept. 28 Prairie Ridge 

Oct. 5 @ Cary-Grove 

Oct. 12 Crystal Lake South 

Oct. 19 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Golden Eagles move up in the Fox Valley Conference pecking order in 2018?

Names to watch this season: OT Joacheim Price and OL Nick Zonta

Biggest holes to fill: The Golden Eagles will need to replace its entire starting linebacker group from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Year in and year out, Jacobs is always a factor in the rugged Fox Valley Conference (seven playoff appearances in the last eight years). The Golden Eagles return some starters in several key spots. If the underclassmen group can step up this summer, look for Jacobs to challenge for the FVC conference title and a higher seed in 7A come IHSA playoff time.