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.