Preps Talk

Edgy Thoughts: Has time come for a statewide Mr. Football?

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Edgy Thoughts: Has time come for a statewide Mr. Football?

For years, the state of Illinois has awarded a Mr. Basketball winner. Hasn't the time come for a statewide Mr. Football award?

Getting down to just a handful of worthy candidates would be a monumental task, especially taking into account the limited number of games played in football versus basketball.

But being able to look at this with a statewide view (yes, there is life and some pretty strong football candidates outside Chicagoland) and come up with a leader board is very possible.

Small schools candidates? Absolutely. A dominant player and performer is a dominant player and performer at any level. The cream rises to the top no matter the school size, in my book.

So who are some early names for my initial Mr. Football?

We have to take a serious first look at James Robinson, Rockford Lutheran senior running back. Robinson, who is just 647 yards shy of setting a new IHSA career rushing record, has been firing off huge game after huge game. In many cases, Robinson has played just in the first half of games.

[MORE PREPS: High School Lites Preview: Week 5]

How about Rochester senior QB Dan Zeigler? So far, he has led the five-time defending 4A state champion Rochester with throwing for close to 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns? Is anyone as dangerous with the football in his hands this season regardless of class than Phillips senior QB Quayvon Skanes?

Then there is Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin junior QB Tim Brenneisen or senior WR Sam Sergent. Imagine if Sacred Heart-Griffin decided to actually play its starters for a full four quarters one of these days.

Downstate Belleville Althoff senior QB Jordan Augustine has led the Crusaders to a 4-0 record while throwing for nearly 1,400 yards in just four games. Not too shabby.

Closer to Chicagoland you ask?

Would anyone argue with Glenbard West senior running back Sam Brodner as a worthy name? Or say Libertyville's quarterback Riley Lees? What about Joliet Catholic's senior RB Michael Johnson, who has made the most of his senior season so far?

What about the state's top ranked team Homewood-Flossmoor? Could QB Bryce Gray or the Harley-Hampton twins (among several others) emerge as the season progresses and the Vikings begin to play its starters a full four quarters?

Defense? No one can tell me that kids such as Bolingbrook's linebacker Tuf Borland or Phillips linebacker Amani Jones don't deserve serious consideration.

The names and the worthy candidates for Mr. Football are endless. And as far as I'm concerned, it's way overdue to start thinking about a statewide Mr. Football.

35 Days to Kickoff: Oak Forest

35 Days to Kickoff: Oak Forest

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: Oak Forest

Head coach: Brian McDonough

How they fared in 2017: 4-5 (3-3 South Suburban Conference). Oak Forest failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Pekin
Aug. 31 @ Niles Notre Dame
Sept. 7 @ T.F. South
Sept. 14 @ Hillcrest
Sept. 21 @ Eisenhower
Sept. 28 vs T.F. North
Oct. 5 vs Tinley Park
Oct. 12 @ Bremen
Oct. 19 vs Lemont

Biggest storyline: Can the Bengals get back into the IHSA state playoffs this season?

Names to watch this season: LB Anthony Kluk and OL/DL Julian Ramirez

Biggest holes to fill: The Bengals will need to reload on both sides of the football especially on offense with the graduation losses of several starters including QB Tyler Morrison and RB Waitari Wilson.

EDGY's Early Take: It was a rare season for the Bengals in 2017, having missed the IHSA state playoff field for the first time since 1999. Look for Oak Forest to rely on its defense while a newer group on offense develops. The Bengals and veteran head coach Brian McDonough will need to get out to a good early start with a front-loaded regular season schedule. 

36 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard North

36 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard North

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: Glenbard North

Head coach: Ryan Wilkens

Assistant coaches: Rich Smelko, John Cassidy, Bruce Donash, John Pullia, Tom Gudella, Kudret Kamabari and Matt Ng

How they fared in 2017: 5-5 (4-4 DuPage Valley Conference). Glenbard North made the Class 7A state playoff field and lost to Batavia in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Neuqua Valley

Aug. 31 vs Warren Township

Sept. 7 @ St. Charles East

Sept. 14 vs Batavia

Sept. 21 @ Wheaton North

Sept. 28 @ Lake Park

Oct. 5 vs St. Charles North

Oct. 12 vs Wheaton Warrenville South

Oct. 19 @ Geneva

[MORE: 50 Days to Kickoff - Neuqua Valley]

Biggest storyline: The Panthers have a new conference home. Can the Panthers reload and fare well in the DuKane Conference?

Names to watch this season: LB Michael Wellman and FB Jake Wilson

Biggest holes to fill: The Panthers will need several players to step up on offense with just one returning starter back from a season ago-- senior FB Jake Wilson.

EDGY's Early Take: Glenbard North says farewell to the DuPage Valley conference and says hello to all things DuKane. The Panthers will undoubtedly be a younger team in 2018. While some of the star power has graduated, head coach Ryan Wilkins will once again focus on establishing a strong, fast and physical running game. Getting off to a good start against a loaded schedule will be a big key for Glenbard North this season.