Preps Talk

Downers Grove South's T.J. Clifford commits to Western Michigan

Downers Grove South's T.J. Clifford commits to Western Michigan

Downers Grove South senior T.J. Clifford felt the love from Western Michigan this week, and the forward announced his commitment to the MAC program via Twitter on Sunday afternoon.

The 6-foot-6 Clifford was a major priority for Western Michigan head coach Steve Hawkins during the first week of the July live evaluation period this week. Clifford helped the Illinois Wolves win the championship in the 17U division of the Chicago Summer Challenge.

Wolves program director Mike Mullins told CSN that Hawkins and assistant coach Larry Farmer watched every one of Clifford's games during the event and made him a major focal point of their 2017 recruiting class.

Clifford gives the Broncos a bouncy and active forward who can score and rebound. If Clifford improves his perimeter jumper, he could be a versatile piece for the Broncos who could play multiple spots on the floor.

Western Michigan has aggressively recruited Chicago the last few years. They pulled in Morgan Park's Jarrin Randall and T.F. South's Brandon Johnson from the Class of 2016.

96 Days to Kickoff: Morris

96 Days to Kickoff: Morris

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: Morris

Head coach: Alan Thorson

Assistant coaches: Greg Larsen, John Courter, Keith Anderson, Justin Zink, Matt Seidel, Danny Hoffman, Derek Johnston, Brandon Valentine, Brian Kasher, Ryan Clauson and Tyler Hartley

How they fared in 2018: 4-5 (0-4 Northern Illinois Big 12 East). Morris failed to qualify for the 2018 IHSA state football playoff field.
 
2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Coal City
Sept. 6 @ Manteno
Sept. 13 vs Rochelle
Sept. 20 @ Plano
Sept. 27 vs Ottawa
Oct. 4 @ Sycamore
Oct. 11 @ LaSalle-Peru
Oct. 18 vs Kaneland
Oct. 25 vs Sandwich

Biggest storyline: The fresh start-- in multiple areas. Can the Redskins bounce back from a disappointing 2018 season? And how will they fare in a new conference?

Names to watch this season: QB/DE Zach Reddinger (Sr.) and OL/DL Braden Engleman (Sr.) 

Biggest holes to fill: The Redskins will need to replace quite a bit of lost offensive production with the graduation loss of QB Mitch Mayberry. 

EDGY's Early Take: It is a rare occurence when Morris football finishes with a losing recond. But I fully expect the Redskins to have a big rebound in 2019. Morris will play in a much more friendly conference --both from an enrollment and local rivalry/travel standpoint-- in the Interstate Eight. The program has been battle tested over the last several seasons in the now-defunct Northern Illinois Big 12 East. 

97 Days to Kickoff: Elmwood Park

97 Days to Kickoff: Elmwood 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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Elmwood Park

Head coach: Dylan Mack

Assistant coaches: Gabe Ostrander, Mario Fiorito, Chad Nardi, Tony Sylvester, Eric Lewis and Dwayne French

How they fared in 2018: 8-3 (4-1 Metro Suburban Red). Elmwood Park made the Class 4A state playoff field and beat Back of the Yards. In the second round, they lost to Evergreen Park.

2019 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 30 vs St. Joseph

Sept. 6 vs Lisle

Sept. 13 @ Ridgewood

Sept. 20 vs St. Edward

Sept. 27 vs Westmont

Oct. 4 @ Christ the King

Oct. 11 vs Guerin Prep

Oct. 18 @ Chicago Christian

Oct. 25 @ Bishop McNamara

Biggest storyline: Last year, the Tigers had their best season on the gridiron since 1985’s 12-1 state semifinal team. What will this team do for an encore? Can they go deeper into the state playoffs?

Names to watch this season: Senior quarterback Mike Stranski and wide receiver Keon Grimes

Biggest holes to fill: The Tigers will need to find some new faces to bolster the defensive line and at the linebacker positions.

EDGY's Early Take: It was a banner year in 2018, as Elmwood Park advanced to the their playoffs in consecutive years for the first time in school history. Coach Dylan Mack’s program has some momentum will have a very good chance to make it three state playoff appearances in a row later this fall.