Preps Talk

EDGY: Five observations from Monday's Showcase

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EDGY: Five observations from Monday's Showcase

Here are five observations from Monday's Edgy Tim's Underclassmen Showcase powered by EFT Football Academy. The event was held at the Canlan Sportplex in Lake Barrington and drew over 400 underclassmen.

1. Homewood-Flossmoor will just reload. Again - Homewood-Flossmoor was well represented at the showcase on Monday and the headliner was sophomore athlete Justin Hall. Hall, who started on defense in 2015 as a defensive back for head coach Craig Buzea played running back and wide receiver on Monday. Hall had some jaw dropping moves and was easily one of the top performers from a very strong group of offensive skills. Junior WR Ty Ritchie was also a top performer all day while junior OL John Michael Schmitz and junior OL Jamezz Kimbrough also showed well.

2. What are parents feeding these kids in the Fox Valley area - The offensive linemen group strong with good sized kids yet some the Class of 2018 and 2019 standout linemen names to watch all hail from the Fox Valley area. Jacobs sophomore OL Jimmy Wormsley and Prairie Ridge sophomore Jeff Jenkins are already known names and both will be heavily recruiting. Also Crystal Lake South freshman offensive tackle Trevor Keegan still has some work to do, yet Keegan already passes the all important eyeball test and looked good in various drills and one on ones.

3. Downstate represented well - Despite the long drive from Central and Southern Illinois, the showcase had very strong representation. East St. Louis sent several kids and junior defensive end Terrez Lagrone along with QB Rey Estes stood out. O'Fallon sophomore QB Christian Perez will be another D1 level name to watch from the Home of the Panthers while Class 4A runner up Belleville Althoff and head coach Ken Turner has some big time names in junior LB Bryson Strong along with junior DE Christian Wills both have strong showings.

4. Sleepers no longer - Several somewhat unknown names emerged on Monday, headlined by Oswego East junior defensive end recruit Elijah James (6-foot-5, 240 pounds). James, who has an early offer from Miami of Ohio started as a defensive tackle for the Wolves in 2015. While James is still learning the defensive end position, he already possesses Division 1 level physical tools and upside. Another name to keep an eye on is Phillips sophomore QB J'Bore Gibbs (6-foot-3, 190 pounds), Gibbs, who saw some limited action in 2015 as a few different positions will be asked to take over the reins of the Wildcats offense in 2016. Gibbs already has great size and athletic ability and could wind up playing several spots if asked at the next level. I was also impressed with DePaul Prep junior QB Jonathon Gladstone who has a big time arm and touch.

5. The Class of 2017 defensive line might not have as many high D1 names as the Class of 2016 - yet from the look of things at Monday's showcase the defensive line will have some good players overall depth. The defensive line group featured several standouts including Phillips DT Chris Elmore and DE Malcolm Fox, Nazareth Academy DT Devonte Dunn plus Brother Rice DT Larry Washington, Hope Academy DT Derrell Grigsby and DeLaSalle DL Soloman Smith are just some names who had strong performances on Monday.

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.