Preps Talk

Edgy Tim goes 1-on-1 with Oswego East's Elijah James

elijah-james-edgy-1-on-1-slide.png

Edgy Tim goes 1-on-1 with Oswego East's Elijah James

Oswego East junior defensive end prospect Elijah James (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) might not be a household name in football recruiting circles just yet, but that could change sooner rather than later.

[RELATED - Edgy Tim goes 1-on-1 with Phillips' Chris Elmore]

James, who played defensive tackle a season ago for head coach Tyson LeBlanc’s Wolves, has been working hard to make the transition to playing defensive end. Without question, James passes the all-important eye test and, at times during the EDGYTIM Underclassmen Showcase powered by EFT Football Academy, showed flashes of becoming a major player at the high college level.

Remember the name Elijah James.

Power Rankings: #6 - Nazareth

Power Rankings: #6 - Nazareth

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: Nazareth Academy

Head coach: Tim Racki

Assistant coaches: Casey Moran, Joe Reynolds, Rudy Luna, Brody Budmayr, Jeff Tumpane, Joe Battaglia, Steve Gray, Tom Minogue, Matt Letcher, Larry White, Jonathon Bittle, Joe Felice

How they fared in 2017: 12-2 (6-1 East Suburban Catholic Conference), Nazareth Academy made the 2017 Class 6A state playoff field, defeated Springfield, Danville, Sacred Heart Griffin and Providence Catholic before losing to Prairie Ridge in the 6A state title game.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs. Lutheran North (Mo.)

Aug. 31 @ Lake Zurich

Sept. 7 @ Marian Central Catholic

Sept. 14 vs. St. Patrick

Sept. 21 @ Benet Academy

Sept. 28 @ Carmel

Oct. 5 vs. Marist

Oct. 12 vs. Joliet Catholic

Oct. 19 @ Marian Catholic

Biggest storyline: Can the Road Runners move up a class to 7A and win a state title in 2018?

Names to watch this season: RB/DB Devin Blakley (Miami of Ohio), WR/DB Michael Love (Bowling Green)

Biggest holes to fill: The Roadrunners welcome back 16 returning starters (7 offense, 9 defense) from last year's Class 6A state title runner-up team, yet more depth will be needed playing "up" in 7A this playoff season.

EDGY's Early Take: The Roadrunners and head coach Tim Racki (who will be playing up in Class 7A this year due to the IHSA Success Factor rule) came up just short in winning the Class 6A state title in 2017 and the 2018 Roadrunners bring back nearly every key player from that squad this fall. The offense will need to settle on a starting quarterback (including D1 recruit sophomore QB JJ McCarthy) while the offensive skills group is a major strength this fall. The Nazareth Academy defense is also loaded and senior DB/WR Diamond Evans along with senior DT Cameron Leach are just names among several others who are expected to make a major impact this season. If the Roadrunners offense can settle in under a new quarterback this team has the potential to win a state title in Class 7A. 

Power Rankings: #7 - Glenbard West

Power Rankings: #7 - Glenbard West

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 West

Head coach: Chad Hetlet

Assistant coaches: John Sigmund, Jon Schweighardt, Joe Kish, Chris Van Dyke, Rick Heckman, Mike Hofland and Tad Keely

How they fared in 2017: 9-2 (6-0 West Suburban Silver Conference). Glenbard West made the 8A state playoff field, defeated Bloom Township and then lost to Oswego in second round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Maine South

Aug. 31 @ Proviso East

Sept. 8 vs Addison Trail

Sept. 14 @ York

Sept. 22 vs Downers Grove North

Sept. 29 vs Lyons Township

Oct. 5 @ Hinsdale Central

Oct. 13 vs Oak Park-River Forest

Oct. 19 @ Proviso West

Biggest storyline: Can the Hilltoppers get their swagger back in 2018?

Names to watch this season: RB Tyquan Cox and DE Mark Winters

Biggest holes to fill: The Hilltoppers will be a bit green on the offensive side of the football. Only three starters return from a season ago. 

EDGY's Early Take: Whenever Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet welcomes back experience on defense, expect the Hilltoppers to be strong. As mentioned, West’s offense will be a bit inexperienced. But senior RB Tyquan Cox is back from a strong junior season. He is a big play threat with every carry. The defense brings back seven returning starters from a season ago; they were a unit that improved greatly as the season wore on last season. Senior DE Mark Winters is a name to watch along with four returning starting linebackers in the fold from a season ago. If the offense can develop sooner rather than later, expect Glenbard West to again challenge for a state title in 2018.