Preps Talk

Edgy Tim's Northwestern in-state recruiting class recap

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USA TODAY

Edgy Tim's Northwestern in-state recruiting class recap

Edgy's Northwestern Wildcats grade: B-

Northwestern and head coach Pat Fitzgerald wound up signing 18 names to the Wildcats Class of 2018 and that included six in-state names (including former Glenbard North and IMG Academy grad Greg Newsome). According to the Rivals.com team recruiting rankings the Northwestern recruiting class is ranked as the 59th best class in the nation and is also ranked last in the Big Ten conference. However, the various recruiting services take the overall number of recruits into account when generating it's team rankings and Northwestern limited size class impacts it's overall ranking. Instead think quality over quantity when looking at the Wildcats recruiting class. 

Headliner of the in-state class?

Lincoln-Way East four-star ranked Devin O'Rourke (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) was simply one of the most dominant players I saw live in 2018 if not over the past handful of seasons. O'Rourke, who was a consensus all-state player for the Griffins over the past two seasons and has the size/frame/length and reach in demand at the high Power 5 level. O'Rourke, who also runs exceptionally well for his size was able to show his ability to be an impact player over his senior season. 

Northwestern also did well signing former Glenbard North and IMG Academy grad three-star ranked Greg Newsome (6-foot-2, 170 pounds). Newsome has good length, speed and ball awareness and is also a physical defender who can play either corner or safety if required. Newsome also brings a toughness and street fighter mentality to the field. 

The one who got away?

Northwestern at least early on had a nice rapport with Warren Township four-star ranked wide receiver Micah Jones (6-foot-5, 205 pounds). Jones, who made an overnight unofficial visit to Northwestern early in his recruiting process had the Wildcats on his short list for quite some time. In the end Jones wound up committing early to Notre Dame, but Northwestern was in the thick of things for a while with Jones.

Final thoughts on the Wildcats recruiting efforts:

Northwestern has been on a nice roll over the past handful of years and the in-state Class of 2018 was a good group for the Wildcats. The in-state class offered a good amount of higher level kids who also could academically qualify. Northwestern does a very good job of identifying younger recruits very early in the process, recruiting them hard and being able to build up a strong bond and eventual commitments.

From the football program consistently winning games and getting to bowl games, to the ongoing major renovations and upgrades to it's facilities to the overall strong academics, Northwestern no question remains an attractive place for potential recruits. 

While the in-state recruiting class overall numbers varies from year to year, the Class of 2018 has is a strong overall group that the Wildcats will be able to add immediate depth and raise the overall talent level.

65 Days to Kickoff: Elmwood Park

65 Days to Kickoff: Elmwood Park

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: Elmwood Park

Head coach: Dylan Mack

Assistant coaches: Gabe Ostrander, Tim Eberhard, Mario Fiorito, Chad Nardi, Joe Kraft and Dwayne French

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (4-1 Metro Suburban Red Conference), Elmwood Park made the Class 4A state football playoff field. The Tigers lost to Genoa-Kingston in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs St. Joseph

Sept. 1 vs Foreman

Sept. 7 vs Ridgewood

Sept. 14 @ St. Edward

Sept. 21 @ Fenton

Sept. 28 vs Leo

Oct. 5 @ Guerin Prep

Oct. 12 vs Chicago Christian

Oct. 19 vs Bishop McNamara

[MORE: 82 Days to Kickoff - Ridgewood]

Biggest storyline: An encore performance. Can the Tigers make back-to-back playoff appearances this season?

Names to watch this season: FB/DE Luciano Martino and WR/DB Kris Diallo

Biggest holes to fill: The Tigers will need to replace eight graduated starters on defense this fall.

EDGY's Early Take: Elmwood Park head coach Dylan Mack is looking to keep the winning momentum found last season going into 2018. The Tigers will rely on an experienced offense with eight returning starters back in the fold and if the defense can gel sooner rather than later, look for Elmwood Park to once again challenge for another state playoff bid this fall. 

66 Days to Kickoff: Rich Central

66 Days to Kickoff: Rich Central

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: Rich Central

Head coach: Terrell Alexander

Assistant Coaches: Quincy Woods (OC), Vince Brown (OL), Art Schuldt (ST), Les Hampton (DB), Jerrell Bibbs (DB), Steve Henley (DC), Jeff Spikner (WR), Derrick Goard (LB) William Pass (DL) Chuch Robinson (Skills), Guy Smith (RB) and Shawn Mitchell (Skills)

How they fared in 2017: 8-3 (4-1 Southland Conference). Rich Central made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Olympians defeated Marion then lost to Dunlap in second round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Hillcrest

Sept. 1 vs Lemont

Sept. 7 @ Kaneland

Sept. 14 vs Rich South

Sept. 21 @ Crete-Monee

Sept. 28 vs Rich East

Oct. 5 vs Kankakee

Oct. 12 vs Bloom Township

Oct. 19 vs Christ the King

[MORE: 67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest]

Biggest storyline: The Olympians have reached the IHSA playoffs three consecutive seasons-- the first such streak in Rich Central history. Can they stay on a winning track and make a deeper playoff run this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR/S Mehki Miller (Miami of Ohio) and RB Sean Tyler (Western Michigan)

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

EDGY's Early Take: Rich Central and head coach Terrell Alexander has brought winning and stability to the Olympians football program.  The 2018 team has some firepower back in the aforementioned Miller and Tyler; however, the development of their underclassmen group this summer will determine just how far this team will go. The ingredients look to be there for another IHSA state playoff caliber team.