Preps Talk

Edgy Tim goes 1-on-1 with East St. Louis QB Tyler Macon

Edgy Tim goes 1-on-1 with East St. Louis QB Tyler Macon

Anyone who has followed East St. Louis High School football program over the years knows that the Flyers under head coach Darren Sunkett will travel anywhere to take on the best possible competition. 

 

That same "take on all comers" mentality doesn't stop in the winter. Several Flyers including standout 2021 QB Tyler Macon (6-foot-0, 180 pounds) packed up cars and headed nearly 300 miles north to take part in the fourth annual EDGYTIM Underclassmen Showcase, powered by EFT Sports Performance at The Max Center in McCook. 

 

Macon, whose latest scholarship offer comes from the Iowa Hawkeyes, checks in and recaps his winter, recruiting news and much more in this latest interview {above}. 

High School Lites Preview: Plenty of girls playoff highlights while boys regular season finishes

High School Lites Preview: Plenty of girls playoff highlights while boys regular season finishes

High School Lites has tons of boys and girls basketball highlights this week. The regular season concludes for boys basketball in Class 3A and 4A. For the rest of the state, the playoffs are in full swing.

We'll check in on the Class 1A and Class 2A girls basketball state semifinals from Redbird Arena while the Class 1A and 2A boys basketball regional finals will also be a focus.

High School Lites airs at 11 p.m. on Friday on NBC Sports Chicago with replays coming Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

BOYS BASKETBALL

St. Francis de Sales 1A Regional Championship, Leo vs. Grant Park, 7:00 p.m. -- We check on a Class 1A favorite in this one. Leo (18-14, 10-5) has won three straight games after being one of the Catholic League White's better teams this season. The Lions are a major contender in Class 1A as one of the No. 1 seeds in the Marquette Sectional. Grant Park (13-18, 7-5) is a No. 4 seed as they held off St. Francis de Sales for a road quarterfinal win. 

2A Regional Championship, Timothy Christian at St. Joseph, 7:00 p.m. -- An interesting clash for a regional title in Class 2A. Timothy Christian (24-5, 12-0) raced past Montini in the regional quarterfinals as they've won five straight games. The Metro Suburban Red champions are a deep and balanced team as they're the No. 1 seed in the Genoa-Kingston Sectional. St. Joseph (14-17, 7-8), the No. 4 seed, ran past Westmont in the quarterfinals to secure the home game here. Sophomore Kyle Thomas is a lot to handle on the inside as he'll be one to watch for the Chargers.

Christ The King 2A Regional Championship, Clark vs. Crane, 7:00 p.m. -- Clark (20-6, 8-1) advanced with a blowout win over Phoenix in the regional semifinals. The No. 2 seed Eagles won at Crane on Jan. 17 during conference season as these two teams battled before. Crane (22-5, 7-2) had to hold off No. 5 seed Marshall in the quarterfinals. The No. 3 seed is the only Class 2A team to beat Orr during the season as they try to get past their conference rival. 

2A Regional Championship, Longwood at Corliss, 7:00 p.m. -- Corliss (15-10, 5-4) made Peoria last season as they try to make another run as the No. 2 seed in the Carver Sectional. The Trojans were respectable in the Red South/Central this season and recently lost to Orr in the Public League Playoffs. Longwood (18-8, 8-1) won the Public League White-South with a strong season as they held off No. 5 seed Harlan in the regional semifinals. The No. 3 seed Panthers have been tested during the season with losses to Curie, Bogan and Oak Lawn. 

No. 25 Hillcrest at No. 20 Oak Forest, 6:30 p.m. -- The South Suburban Blue has one more regular season battle to monitor. Hillcrest (20-8, 11-1) is one of the most dangerous teams entering the Class 3A playoffs behind a loaded junior class that includes Jakobi Heady and Julius Rollins. Oak Forest (26-2, 12-0) is trying to win the conference with an unbeaten record behind seniors Jayson Kent and Juan Avila as well as super sophomore Robbie Avila. 

Benet at St. Charles North, 7:00 p.m. -- An interesting non-conference clash to close the regular season. Benet (21-9, 7-2) just fell out of the Preps Power Rankings but the Redwings have been impressive lately. Senior big man Colin Crothers is ton to handle on the interior. St. Charles North (21-7, 12-1) counters with senior big man Connor Linke (Bradley) and a talented backcourt that includes Luke Scheffers and Christian Czerniak. 

Sycamore at Plano, 7:00 p.m. -- The two best in the Interstate Eight meet for a final time here. Sycamore (21-8, 10-3) has won eight of their last nine games as they had a blowout win over Plano on Jan. 21. The Reapers have won four out of five with their only loss coming to Class 1A powerhouse Indian Creek. 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Class 1A: Eastland vs. Shiloh Coop, 11:00 a.m. -- A rematch of last season's Class 1A state semifinals in this one. Eastland came out the winner last season in a 64-63 thriller. Eastland (32-3) ended up a second-place finisher in Class 1A after falling in the title game. Senior Erin Henze leads the Cougars at 20.1 points per game this season. Shiloh Coop (28-5) is riding an 18-game winning streak as they haven't lost in 2020. Junior Tayler Barry leads the Lady Titans in scoring at 18.6 points per game this season.

Class 1A: Aurora Christian vs. Lewistown, 1:00 p.m. -- Two 30-win teams clash in this one. Lewistown (32-1) has only lost to Class 2A semifinalist Pleasant Plains this season as they try to improve on last year's third-place finish. Senior Anna Heffren (20.0 ppg) and senior Sydney Schaeffer (16.1 ppg) form a high-scoring duro for the Lady Indians. Aurora Christian (30-4) is making its first state appearance. Junior Anna Griffin (17.6 ppg), sophomore Thaya Luse (13.4 ppg) and freshman Aspen Weeks (10.4 ppg) are all double-figure scorers for the Eagles.

Class 2A: Pleasant Plains vs. Riverdale, 5:30 p.m. -- Two teams making their first state appearance battle in this one. Pleasant Plains (26-3) started the season 2-2 but has only lost to O'Fallon since Nov. 23. A balanced team, the Lady Cardinals are led by junior guard Asya Smith (11.4 ppg). Riverdale (28-3) is led by senior Sidney Garrett (13.1 ppg) as she's the only double-figure scorer for the Rams. 

Class 2A: Marshall vs. Carterville, 7:15 p.m. -- One of the state's most storied girls programs faces another newcomer at state. Marshall (21-10) is making its fourth straight trip to state as the Commandos try for their 11th state title under legendary head coach Dorothy Gaters. Junior guard Jayonna Smith leads the Commandos at 15.0 points per game. Carterville (30-2) has four double-figure scorers in its lineup led by senior Jeniah Thompson (14.4 ppg). The Lady Lions are riding a 10-game winning streak entering this one. 

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Class 3A Hampshire Sectional Championship, Sycamore vs. Montini, 7:00 p.m. -- Two No. 1 seeds clash for a sectional title in Class 3A. Sycamore held off Burlington Central to advance earlier this week to advance. Spartans senior Kylie Feuerbach has been featured as a Wintrust Athlete of the Week earlier this season as the Iowa State commit is a major factor. Montini got past Boylan with a double-digit win in the sectional semifinals. The Broncos have been a consistent presence in the AP top 5 Class 3A poll this season. Montini hasn't lost to an Illinois opponent since Benet on Dec. 30. 

Spring recruiting will reveal more 2022 names to watch

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USA TODAY

Spring recruiting will reveal more 2022 names to watch

With the ink still drying on the recently signed Letters of Intent from the Class of 2020, it must be time to refocus on the Class of 2021, right? 

While we still have nearly 10 months before the Class of 2021 can sign an early Letter of Intent, many Power 5 football powers have already extended early scholarship offers to many of its 2021 targets. Next up? The Class of 2022 has already begun to see more recruiting attention and draw more and more early scholarship offers. Here are the Top 5 names from the Class of 2022 on multiple Power 5 recruiting radar screens this winter:

Nazareth Academy sophomore WR Tyler Morris (5-foot-11, 180 pounds)- Morris, who has been a varsity starter for the Road Runners and head coach Tim Racki since his freshman season, is already holding 13 FBS scholarship offers including early offers from the likes of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern plus Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin. Morris has also drawn recruiting attention from programs across the country. Expect more offers to flow again this spring once college coaches are allowed back into schools starting on April 15th. 

St. Rita wide receiver Kaleb Brown (5-foot-11, 185 pounds)- Brown, who was a huge part of the Mustangs 2019 Class 5A state title runner up offense is being recruited as a wide receiver. Brown is also holding multiple FBS level offers from the likes of Illinois, Iowa, Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Notre Dame. Much like Tyler Morris, look for Kaleb Brown to add more Power 5 offers from outside of the Midwest beginning this spring. 

Naperville Central wide receiver Reggie Fluerima (6-foot-2, 200 pounds)- Fleurima, who is the son of former Notre Dame DL  Reggie Fleurima Sr. in the early 1990's, is also holding double digit offers this winter from the likes of Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Purdue, Virginia Tech and Syracuse. Fluerima made a late January unofficial visit to Iowa and is certain to draw plenty of traffic in school this spring from schools from across the county. 

Evanston running back Sebastian Cheeks (6-foot-2, 205 pounds)- Cheeks is a versatile athlete who no question passes the all important eyeball test. Cheeks has early offers so far from Wisconsin, Syracuse, Iowa State and Central Michigan and is drawing recruiting attention from FBS level nationwide. Cheeks is also an athlete recruit who can play several different positions at the college level. 

DB Ahmad Robinson East St. Louis (6-foot-0, 177 pounds)- Robinson, who transferred into East St. Louis this semester after playing his 2019 sophomore season at Cardinal Ritter in St. Louis, has all the tools to develop into a high level name in the Class of 2022. Robinson, who has been impressive this winter at various showcase event, has already added an early offer from Indiana and is one of multiple Flyer underclassmen that will draw college coaches into school this spring by the busload. 

Other Class of 2022 names on the rise?

Loyola Academy TE James Kyle (6-foot-5, 220 pounds)

Marist OL Deuce McGuire (6-foot-5, 280 pounds)

St. Rita OL Valen Erickson (6-foot-6, 280 pounds)