Preps Talk

Edgy Tim's Eastern Illinois 2016 in-state recruiting class review

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Edgy Tim's Eastern Illinois 2016 in-state recruiting class review

EDGY's Panthers overall in-state recruiting grade: C-

Head coach Kim Dameron now has two recruiting classes under his belt since taking over the program. There’s no question that Eastern Illinois University is looking for a mix of in-state high school talent, incoming transfers from the D-1 level and out-of-state athletes to build a recruiting class. The Panthers also had a limited amount of available scholarships for the class of 2016, which undoubtedly impacted the overall number of signees last Wednesday.

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Western Illinois 2016 in-state recruiting review]

Headliner Of The In-State Class?

Eastern Illinois had a real need in replacing four graduated starting defensive backs. Champaign Centennial's Julian Hess (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) has a chance to earn some early playing time right away. Hess has great speed and length and can play either as a bigger corner or safety when required. Marist running back Darshon McCullough (5-foot-9, 173 pounds) is also another headliner name who could make a quick early impact for the Panthers.

Sleeper of the In-State Class?

St. Rita offensive tackle Drew Walega (6-foot-6, 275 pounds) has the size, frame and upside to develop into a long-term answer for the Panthers offensive line. Most FCS schools seldom are able to secure recruits with the size/frame and overall physical pedigree of a player like Walega.

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Northern Illinois 2016 in-state recruiting class review]

Final Thoughts on the Panthers Recruiting Efforts:  

It's been interesting to watch the Panthers in-state approach so far under Dameron. Eastern Illinois became a nice surprise in 2015 and was able to get into the FCS playoffs. EIU targets speed and athletes regardless of location and that approach so far has brought success in Charleston. 

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

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: Hillcrest

Head coach: Morgan Weaver

Assistant coaches:  Mike Young, Kyran Weaver, Rob Hancock, Ryan Keen, Nicholas Schultz, Tramaine Weaver, Phillip Burkett and Langdon Mattox

How they fared in 2017: 9-3 (5-1 South Suburban Blue Conference). Hillcrest made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Hawks defeated Peoria and Glenwood then lost to Dunlap in the quarterfinal round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Rich Central

Sept. 1 @ Rich South

Sept 7 @ Shepard

Sept. 14 vs Oak Forest

Sept. 21 vs Lemont

Sept. 28 @ Tinley Park

Oct. 5 @ T.F. South

Oct. 12 @ T.F. North

Oct. 19 vs Bremen

[MORE: 79 Days to Kickoff - Crete-Monee]

Biggest storyline: Consistency. After two straight postseason berths, can the Hawks reload and get back into the IHSA playoff field once again this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR Corey Crooms (Western Michigan) and DE Cam Mattox (NIU)

Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks welcome back 11 returning starters (six offense, five defense); hoewever, they will need to reload on the offensive line and at linebacker. 

EDGY's Early Take: Head coach Morgan Weaver was able to get the Hawks into the state playoffs in his first season. What can they do as an encore? Hillcrest has the potential to be a real threat in 5A. Keep an eye on a strong and experienced group of receivers and backs led by senior Corey Crooms (Western Michigan). They also boast a defense that features an experienced secondary and a ton of speed. 

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

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: Oswego East

Head coach: Tyson LeBlanc

Assistant coaches: Dan Dunbar, Andy Brogan, Jeremy Main, Erik Aister, Dru Filkins, Connor Downs, Zac Sadek, Reggie Cribbs and Mike Harden

How they fared in 2017: 7-3 (7-2 Southwest Prairie Conference). Oswego East made the Class 8A state football playoff field. The Wolves lost to St. Charles East in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Plainfield East

Aug. 31 @ Joliet West

Sept. 7 vs Romeoville

Sept. 14 vs Joliet Central

Sept. 21 @ Plainfield South

Sept. 28 @ Plainfield North

Oct. 5 vs Oswego

Oct. 12 vs Plainfield Central

Oct. 19 vs Minooka

[MORE: 73 Days to Kickoff - Joliet Central]

Biggest storyline: Can the Wolves get out of the rugged Southwest Prairie conference and make a run in the IHSA state playoffs?

Names to watch this season: ATH Justin Clark and WR Kieon Battle

Biggest holes to fill: The Wolves will need to replace their entire starting defensive line from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Oswego East head coach Tyson LeBlanc is shooting to make the IHSA playoff field and the fourth straight year in 2018. He has a 36-24 record since coming over from Curie High School back in 2012. Oswego East will rely on a strong group of returning offensive skills led by D-1 recruit Justin Clark, who can --and will-- play multiple positions this season for the Wolves.