Preps Talk

Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Playoffs Week 1

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USA Today

Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Playoffs Week 1

Here are the latest @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings after the first week of postseason play.

1. Lincoln-Way East 10-0 (1)
Last Week: Beat Plainfield South, 40-0
This Week: vs Notre Dame
EDGY's Take: A.J. Henning had three touchdowns in the win. The Griffins will now look to dent a very strong Dons defense.

2. Mount Carmel 10-0 (2)
Last Week: Beat Eisenhower, 61-14
This Week: vs Glenbard North 
EDGY's Take: The Caravan will take on a familiar foe in the Panthers-- a team that has won six straight games.

3. Nazareth Academy 10-0 (3)
Last Week: Beat Libertyville, 47-6
This Week: vs Thornton
EDGY's Take: The Roadrunners' defense will need to contain Thornton QB Derrick Williams on Saturday.

4. Warren Township 10-0 (4)
Last Week: Beat Plainfield East, 49-7
This Week: vs Fremd
EDGY's Take: Fright Fest in Gurnee isn't anywhere close to being over as long as the Roller Coaster Kids' defense is still alive in the IHSA playoff field.

5. Homewood-Flossmoor 9-1 (5)
Last Week: Beat Curie, 53-6
This Week: vs Neuqua Valley
EDGY's Take: The Vikings defense will be tested this week as they host QB Mark Gronowski and the Wildcats.

6. Glenbard West 10-0 (6)
Last Week: Beat Downers Grove North, 48-2
This Week: @ Loyola Academy
EDGY's Take: It'll be a matchup that will be hyped all week: The Hitters hit the road to take on Loyola in Wilmette Saturday afternoon.

7. Neuqua Valley 9-1 (7)
Last Week: Beat Conant, 44-6
This Week: @ Homewood-Flossmoor
EDGY's Take: The Wildcats defense stuffed the Conant running game. More will be asked from the defense this week, as the H-F offensive live is quite impressive.

8. Loyola Academy 7-3 (11)
Last Week: Beat Maine South, 14-6
This Week: vs Glenbard West
EDGY's Take: It's wasn't pretty but the Ramblers hang on for the win. JT Thomas threw for two TDs. It doesn't get any easier this week as Glenbard West comes to town.

9. Minooka 10-0 (9)
Last Week: Beat Joliet West, 20-7
This Week: vs Edwardsville
EDGY's Take: The Indians slid by Joliet West. Now comes Edwardsville and standout RB Justin Johnson Jr.

10. Bolingbrook 7-3 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Hinsdale Central, 42-13
This Week: vs Oswego
EDGY's Take: The Raiders lost two straight to end the regular season. But they're healthy again and proved it in a win at Hinsdale Central. 

11. Batavia 8-2 (12)
Last Week: Beat Thornwood, 49-8
This Week: vs Hononegah
EDGY's Take: The Bulldogs will try to slow down QB Payton Mather this weekend.

12. Hillcrest 9-1 (13)
Last Week: Beat St. Laurence, 18-15
This Week: @ Fenwick
EDGY's Take: The Hawks hang tough and beat St. Laurence. Another Catholic League foe awaits.

13. Maine South 7-3 (10)
Last Week: Lost to Loyola, 14-6
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Hawks got off to a 6-0 lead but came up just short in their loss to Loyola.

14. Willowbrook 9-1 (14)
Last Week: Beat Moline, 48-21
This Week: vs Yorkville
EDGY's Take: The Warriors get the running game going in their win over Moline. Yorkville will be a very tough opponent to beat.

15. Huntley 9-1 (15)
Last Week: Beat Taft, 48-6
This Week: @ Marist
EDGY's Take: The Red Raiders now hit the road and look to beat an upstart Marist team.

16. Montini 8-2 (16)
Last Week: Beat Elmwood Park, 56-6
This Week: @ Sycamore
EDGY's Take: Is it just me or do the Broncos always play Sycamore in the postseason?

17. Prairie Ridge 9-1 (17)
Last Week: Beat Grayslake North, 51-6
This Week: vs Simeon
EDGY's Take: The Wolves will get a big test this weekend as Simeon, who beat Lakes 34-3, comes calling.

18. Rolling Meadows 10-0 (18)
Last Week: Beat Lincoln Park, 33-12
This Week: vs Prospect
EDGY's Take: The Mustangs defeated Prospect 35-14 in Week 7. Now comes the rematch.

19. Hersey 9-1 (19)
Last Week: Beat Auburn, 49-0
This Week: @ Lake Zurich
EDGY's Take: Huskies QB Jordan Hansen and the rest of the offense will need to ramp up against the always-tough Lake Zurich defense.

20. Fremd 8-2 (20)
Last Week: Beat Plainfield North, 19-0
This Week: @ Warren Township
EDGY's Take: The Vikings will square off against another defensive-minded program in Warren Township.
 
21. St. Rita 7-3 (21)
Last Week: Beat Glenbard South, 49-14
This Week: @ Sterling
EDGY's Take: The Mustangs hit the road on Saturday to take on a Sterling team that's been near or at the top of the 5A poll all season long.

22. Notre Dame 8-2 (22)
Last Week: Beat Barrington, 23-21
This Week: @ Lincoln-Way East
EDGY's Take: The Dons get RB Julian Schurr back and then hang on for the 23-21 win over Barrington to advance.
  
23. Crete-Monee 10-0 (23)
Last Week: Beat Bremen, 50-14
This Week: @ Providence Catholic
EDGY's Take: The Warriors always get up to take on nearby rival Providence Catholic in the postseason.

24. Hinsdale Central 8-2 (8)
Last Week: Lost to Bolingbrook, 42-13
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Red Devils fell into a 28-6 hole vs. Bolingbrook and couldn't make up ground as their season comes to a close.

25. Oswego 9-1 (25)
Last Week: Beat Elgin, 42-8
This Week: @ Bolingbrook
EDGY's Take: The Panthers' defense and running game always get the headlines. But QB Cole Pradel is having a big season for Oswego.

Former coach at LaSalle-Peru, Joliet West takes head coaching job at UIC

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USA Today

Former coach at LaSalle-Peru, Joliet West takes head coaching job at UIC

UIC hired its next head coach this week as Luke Yaklich returns home to Illinois to take over the Flames.

There's a lot to like about the 43-year-old Yaklich when it comes to this hire for UIC. A native of Illinois who spent time here as a high school coach at LaSalle-Peru and Joliet West, Yaklich's basketball journey makes him the perfect candidate for UIC at this particular point in time.

Being familiar with the area as a former high school coach and assistant coach at Illinois State will certainly help with recruiting and other facets of the job. But it's Yaklich's ability to take UIC to the next level defensively that makes him the perfect hire.

Yaklich turned into a star assistant coach over the past four seasons. He was often utilized as a defensive coordinator at his various stops. Going from Illinois State, to Michigan, to Texas over the past four seasons, Yaklich was responsible for four consecutive top-25 defenses, according to KenPom.

Although Steve McClain won at least 16 games in each of the past four seasons, the Flames could never reach their ultimate goal of the NCAA tournament. UIC hasn't reached March Madness since 2004. The past four seasons, UIC's best defensive team was only No. 107 in the country. 

McClain's teams had plenty of scoring pop and talent. Getting crucial stops could be difficult for the Flames.

While it may take some time for UIC to jump into the nation's top 50 in defensive efficiency, Yaklich has a successful defensive track record at the mid- and high-major levels.

Illinois State's dominant defense in 2016-17 was No. 19 in the country as the Redbirds just missed the NCAA tournament. Yaklich was then hired away to Michigan. In Ann Arbor, Yaklich helped an offensive-minded program under John Beilein become elite defensively.

The Wolverines advanced to the national title game and Sweet 16 in Yaklich's two seasons. Michigan had the No. 3 defense and No. 2 defense, respectively. 

At Texas, the Longhorns maintained the No. 24 defense in the country this season despite a talent drain that saw freshman center Jaxson Hayes leave for the NBA Draft to be picked in the top ten by the New Orleans Pelicans. 

UIC will need to figure out some other areas if they are to make it back to the NCAA tournament. Yaklich will need to hire a staff familiar with the local recruiting landscape. A sound offensive mind or two wouldn't hurt either.

But the defensive pedigree and player development track record has been there for Yaklich at multiple stops over the past four seasons. Now with a chance to run his own program, Yaklich is an exciting hire for UIC during an offseason in which college basketball's coach carousel isn't seeing a lot of movement. 

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

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USA Today

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

Oak Park-River Forest junior three star-ranked ATH Jaden McGill (6-foot-0. 185 pounds) added an offer last week from one of his team schools when Michigan State extended him a scholarship offer. 

"The offer from them (Michigan State) means a lot," McGill said. "When I was younger they were a school that me and my friends would always dream about playing for."

McGill was set to make a spring  visit to Michigan State before the Coronavirus pandemic struck and is hoping to make up that planned visit later this spring or early this summer. 

McGill is now holding scholarship offers from Michigan State, Kansas State, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Ball State, Buffalo, Toledo and Kent State.

Oswego junior three star-ranked offensive tackle Otto Hess (6-foot-7, 285 pounds) was able to add his latest offer earlier this week from Arizona. 

"The offer from Arizona is great," Hess said. "It was pretty much unexpected but great since I've always wanted to play and go to school out West."

Hess, who also added an offer from the University of Illinois on Tuesday night, discussed his thoughts from adding an offer from the Arizona Wildcats. 

"I know that Arizona has a great business school. Coach (Kevin) Sumlin has accomplished some great things in his career. I had some limited contact with Arizona but it hasn't been a crazy amount of attention that made me feel like an offer was coming right away."

Marist sophomore offensive tackle recruit Danny "Deuce" McGuire (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) was able to add an offer on Tuesday from Michigan State. 

"I was surprised to get an offer from Michigan State," McGuire said. "I have had a few Michigan State coaches following me on Twitter for a week or so but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary."

McGuire, who is now holding early scholarship offers from Michigan State along with Illinois and Western Michigan is well aware of the Spartans program. 

"Michigan State is one of the top programs in the Big 10 conference. They also send a lot of offensive linemen to the NFL and they have a lot of new coaches from Colorado."

McGuire is now waiting and hoping to make college visits later this spring or early this summer, depending upon when the Corona virus pandemic comes to an end. 

"I'm just hoping that this all gets resolved soon and we can get back to school and hopefully I'll get a chance to visit some colleges in person again soon."

Ottawa Marquette junior tight end recruit Victor Mullen (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) is a name on the rise this early spring. Mullen, who is holding early scholarship offers from Iowa State, Central Florida, Louisville, Appalachian State and Central Michigan has been trying to stay busy during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. 

"It's been boring so far,"Mullen said. "I have a workout program I got from my trainer and I'm working out along with just watching TV. We started online classes and it's been going well so far."

Mullen has also remained in contact with several college coaches during the NCAA mandated dead period.

"I've stayed in touch with all of the schools who have offered me like Iowa State, Louisville, Appalachian State, Central Michigan and Central Florida. I was planning to make spring visits to Miami of Ohio, Illinois, Toledo and Bowling Green but those have all been canceled. I'm hoping to get back to visit those schools later this spring but for now who knows. I've made visits already to Iowa State, Louisville, Appalachian State, Central Michigan plus Toledo and Iowa."