Preps Talk

Edgy Tim’s top IHSA tight ends of the decade

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim’s top IHSA tight ends of the decade

It’s time for another debate regarding the top IHSA football players of the decade (2010-19). The quarterback and running back positions provided some lively discussions on social media. How about the top five tight ends? The list is long and includes players who not only dominated on the prep level but went on to do great things in college and the pros. Do you factor in just strictly high school production and program winning/success, or does a particular player's post high school success also become a factor? Let the debate begin. 

Tight Ends (in no particular order)

Troy Fumagalli, Waubonsie Valley’s Class of 2013 (Wisconsin): Fumagalli was an All-State player for the Warriors and head coach Paul Murphy in his senior season (2012). He caught 64 passes for 1,770 yards in 2012 and played defensive end as well. Fumagalli, who passed on several scholarship offers to accept a grey shirt offer at Wisconsin, ended up having an outstanding career for the Badgers. He just wrapped up his second season playing tight end for the Denver Broncos.  

Nic Weishar, Marist’s Class of 2014 (Notre Dame): Weishar was a varsity starter for the Redhawks and then-head coach Pat Dunne since his sophomore season. Weishar holds the IHSA record for Career Receptions (257) and is seventh in IHSA Career Receiving Yards (3,284 yards). Weishar was one of the main targets in one of the state's best passing offenses during the early to mid-2010s. 

Albert Okwuegbunam, Sacred Heart-Griffin’s Class of 2016 (Missouri): Albert Okwuegbunam, otherwise called “Albert O” back in high school, was simply one of the most physically impressive athletes I've seen in person in 25-plus years of scouting and evaluating recruits. This Central Illinois native, who attended a powerhouse program in Sacred Heart-Griffin, played wide receiver and tight end for the Cyclones. He wrapped up a very strong college career at Missouri. In December, he declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Jake Marwede, Loyola Academy’s Class of 2017 (Duke): Marwede, who started his high school football career as a quarterback for Loyola and head coach John Holocek, wound up getting moved over to tight end after his sophomore season. He never looked back. Marwede led the Ramblers, becoming the go-to guy on offense in his junior and senior seasons. Marwede also would find himself playing quarterback in the Loyola's Wildcat offensive package. In his senior season, he ran for 341 yards and 15 touchdowns while also catching 42 passes for 569 yards and six touchdowns. 

Jahleel Billingsley, Phillips’ Class of 2019 (Alabama): Billingsley was a multi-year starter who was also was one of the most impressive football players and athletes to come out of Chicago. He also played defensive end and quarterback for the Wildcats and was simply one of the biggest and best at his position during his high school career.

Next in? 

Nathan Marcus, Glenbard West’s Class of 2013 (Vanderbilt)

Daniel Helm, Glenwood’s Class of 2014 (Tennessee/Duke)

Cole Kmet, St. Viator’s Class of 2017 (Notre Dame)

Luke Ford, Carterville’s Class of 2018 (Georgia/Illinois)

New No. 1 in NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings

New No. 1 in NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings

The NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings have some massive changes this week. The Public League Playoffs and plenty of conference drama saw a lot of shakeups thanks to clashes between top-25 teams.

In the end, Bloom is back in the No. 1 spot while Public League Playoff champion Simeon climbs to the No. 3 spot after winning another city title under Rob Smith.

With the Class 3A and 4A IHSA State Playoffs closing in, we should start to get a feel for the postseason soon. 

1. Bloom (23-5, 12-1) (4) -- The Blazing Trojans ran past Crete-Monee for a big Southland win. Two games for Bloom this week in conference play when they play Rich East and Rich Central. With a deep starting rotation, Bloom has the most balance and consistent firepower of any team in the state.
2. Thornton (26-1, 13-1) (5) -- A light week for the Wildcats with a win over Rich East to keep pace with Bloom. Thornton faces Thornridge during the week in Southland play. Thornton has still only lost to No. 1 Bloom this season. 
3. Simeon (22-8, 7-2) (9) -- Impressive climb for the Wolverines who claim a city championship with wins over Kenwood, Curie and Morgan Park. Jeremiah Williams is staking a serious All-Area claim while junior Ahamad Bynum is a lethal scorer capable of taking over a game. Suddenly, Simeon is peaking at the right time entering the Class 4A playoffs.
4. Curie (24-2, 8-0) (1) -- The Condors lost to Simeon in the semifinals in their quest to repeat as city champions. It was Curie's first loss to an Illinois opponent this season. The Condors have an intriguing matchup against a ranked Oak Forest team on the schedule for next week. 
5. Morgan Park (19-9, 6-2) (12) -- Falling to rival Simeon in the Public League Playoff finals, the Mustangs ended a strong run that included a road win at Whitney Young and a win over Bogan this week. Adam Miller, Marcus Watson and Brandon Weston are a dangerous trio to contend with as they're starting to gel over the past few weeks.
6. Bogan (23-3, 8-1) (2) -- The Bengals lost to old Red-South rival Morgan Park in the Public League Playoff semifinals as they don't have a game on the schedule for this week. Bogan will still be a very tough out in Class 3A in a few weeks.
7. Evanston (24-3, 8-1) (7) -- Keeping pace with Glenbrook South with a win over Niles West, the Wildkits get their rematch hosting the Titans this week. Evanston's rematch with Glenbrook South will have major CSL South implications. The Wildkits will also play Kenwood during the week. 
8. Homewood-Flossmoor (22-3, 6-0) (8) -- Two Southwest Suburban Blue wins for the Vikings as they held off Lockport and Lincoln-Way East. It's a light week for Homewood-Flossmoor when they play at Sandburg in conference play.
9. Whitney Young (18-9, 8-1) (3) -- Losing to Morgan Park for the second time this season, Whitney Young fell in the Public League Playoff quarterfinals. But the Dolphins have won state titles in the past after losing in the city playoffs as the focus turns to Class 4A. Whitney Young has this week off from games.
10. Notre Dame (25-4, 7-1) (6) -- The Dons fell to Benet in ESCC play with a surprising road loss. Notre Dame will attempt to close out conference play with a win when they host Carmel next week. 
11. Marian Catholic (21-7, 7-1) (11) -- Marian Catholic stayed in the ESCC race with a quality win over St. Viator. The Spartans have a final conference game against Joliet Catholic this week. 
12. Stevenson (21-4, 10-1) (14) -- Stevenson claimed a season sweep with another tight win over Mundelein as they have control of the North Suburban. The Patriots also defeated Prospect and Lake Zurich during the week. Stevenson stays active this week with matchups against Waukegan, Warren and Benet. 
13. Glenbrook South (25-3, 9-0) (13) -- The Titans claimed two more wins thanks to a CSL South win over Maine South and a win over Highland Park. The conference is up for grabs when Glenbrook South travels to Evanston next week in a huge rematch. 
14. DePaul Prep (21-4, 11-2) (10) -- The Rams dropped a Catholic League Blue home game to Fenwick as they fall a few spots. DePaul Prep has another big week of conference play with Loyola and St. Ignatius on the schedule. 
15. Bolingbrook (23-5, 4-1) (17) -- Picking up two wins over Lincoln-Way East and Leo, the Raiders kept pace with H-F in conference play. Bolingbrook faces Lockport and Sandburg this week.
16.  Oak Forest (24-1, 12-0) (18) -- The Bengals had a close call on the road during the week with an overtime win at Lemont. Oak Forest has home games against Manteno and a major test against Curie next weekend. The game against the Condors will be Oak Forest's first game against a ranked team all season.  
17. Joliet West (23-4, 14-0) (20) -- Earning a double-digit win over rival Joliet Central, the Tigers are still undefeated in Southwest Prairie league play. Joliet West takes the road to face Plainfield South during the week.
18. Mundelein (23-4, 9-2) (15) -- Losing a close North Suburban game to Stevenson, the Mustangs got swept by the Patriots in the season series. Mundelein bounced back with a blowout win over Elgin and also beat Zion-Benton during the week. Mundelein will host Libertyville and Lake Zurich this week.
19. Fenwick (22-6, 11-2) (19) -- The Friars dropped a Catholic League Blue game to St. Ignatius but bounced back with a strong road win at DePaul Prep and win over Yorkville Christian. Fenwick is more balanced than given credit for and is much-improved defensively since the start of the season. The Friars battle St. Joseph and Loyola during a busy week.
20. Loyola (24-4, 12-1) (16) -- Dropping a Catholic League game for the first time this season against Brother Rice, the Ramblers fall a few spots. Loyola shut down Providence the next game to stay atop the league standings. Huge week ahead for the Ramblers with games against DePaul Prep and Fenwick.
21. Orr (17-7, 7-2) (NR) -- The Spartans lost by a point to Curie in the Public League Playoff quarterfinals. Orr has this week off from games as they remain a Class 2A favorite when the IHSA Playoffs tip.
22. York (25-3, 9-1) (23) -- Solid week for the Dukes with West Suburban Silver wins over Downers North and OPRF. York plays two more conference games this week when they face Proviso West and Hinsdale Central. 
23. Niles North (24-4, 9-0) (24) -- Three double-digit wins for the Vikings as they stayed undefeated in the CSL North with a good win over Highland Park. Niles North heads to Maine East for a game this week.
24. Cary-Grove (25-3, 15-1) (25) -- The Trojans won two in the Fox Valley with a blowout win over McHenry and solid win over Hampshire. This will prove to be an interesting week for Cary-Grove when they face Schaumburg. 
25. Benet (20-8, 6-2) (NR) -- Back in the Power Rankings for the first time since December, Benet is back in following a win over Notre Dame and strong loss to nationally-ranked La Lumiere. Senior Colin Crothers is one of the area's most productive centers and the high-IQ perimeter of the Redwings gives them a chance against anybody.

High School Lites basketball roundup: Week 11

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NBC Sports Chicago

High School Lites basketball roundup: Week 11

Check out our high school hoops highlights from some of the best games around the state, and be sure to follow @NBCSPREPS for all of the latest scores, highlights, and analysis

Athlete of the Week: Niles North's Aquan Smart

Team of the Week: Lincoln-Way East cheerleading

Highlights: No. 9 Simeon 79, No. 1 Curie 69

Highlights: No. 12 Morgan Park 74, No. 2 Bogan 60

Highlights: No. 19 Fenwick 51, No. 10 DePaul Prep 48

Highlights: DePaul Prep 61, Orr 27 (girls)

Highlights: Maine West 50, Evanston 45 (girls)

Highlights: Chicago Christian 70, Aurora Christian 60

Highlights: Oswego East 67, Oswego 49

Highlights: Waubonise Valley 61, DeKalb 44

Midweek Mixtape: No. 12 Morgan Park 78, No. 21 Orr 75 (OT)

Windy City Legends: Ronnie Fields