Preps Talk

Edgy's recruiting news and notes: The Lovie effect

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Edgy's recruiting news and notes: The Lovie effect

Out goes Bill Cubit. In comes Lovie Smith.

How have in-state recruits for the upcoming 2017 class reacted to the coaching change at Illinois? So far, pretty positive.

"All I can say is that (hiring Smith) is a huge positive for Illinois," said Neuqua Valley four star athlete Isaiah Robertson.

Barrington junior defensive end Jackson Perkins added, " I really liked Coach (Bill) Cubit. Illinois was my second offer and my first Big Ten offer. It's good to see Illinois hire Coach Smith, and I'd love to play for him. It's a great hire for Illinois."

Bolingbrook three star-wide receiver Kendall Smith (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) was also surprised by the move but is also excited to see Smith take over at Illinois.

"I was surprised that Illinois made the coaching change and fired head coach Bill Cubit," Smith said.  "It's pretty exciting to see Coach Lovie Smith now at Illinois."

[MORE: Loyola's John Holocek on the hiring of Lovie Smith]

In other news, Brother Rice junior three star wide receiver Ricky Smalling (6-foot-1, 189 pounds) was one of several top Land of Lincoln names who made a visit to Indiana.

"Indiana was really nice," Smalling said. "I like the offense that Indiana runs and they put up a ton of points last year. I was able to see all of the athletic facilities and I also like just getting to talk to the coaches at Indiana and get a better feeling for those guys."

Smalling, who is now touting a dozen scholarship offers as we approach the spring evaluation period, is not in any hurry to make a college decision.

"I don't have a time frame yet. I still need to get out and see some schools in person. I just want to make more visits and get a better idea about more of the schools, especially the schools who have already offered me."

Deerfield junior defensive end recruit Josh Maize (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) has seen his recruiting stock take off heading into the spring. Maize, who played inside linebacker last season for coach Steve Winiecki’s Warriors, has offers from Central Michigan, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Several Power 5 schools are also beginning to take notice.  Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue and Notre Dame have all been in touch with Maize over the past few weeks.

Neuqua Valley junior athlete Owen Piche (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) is another tall, athletic and talented name who has also seen his recruiting stock rise over the past few weeks. Piche has now added offers from Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Illinois State and New Mexico. Expect more to follow in the coming months. Piche, who played receiver and safety for the coach Bill Ellinghaus’ Wildcats last season, is drawing offers and looks at a number of positions.

"Cincinnati offered me as an athlete recruit," Piche said. "They feel that I can end up playing at a few different spots at the college level. I could play for them as a receiver, tight end, safety of even at linebacker. Most college coaches want to see where I'm at physically in a year or so to see which position I can end up playing in college."

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

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: Jacobs

Head coach: Bill Mitz

Assistant coaches: Bubba Smith, Mike Warren, Brian Zimmerman, JM Foote, Ryan Arndt and Bob Mackey

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-3 Fox Valley Conference). Jacobs made the Class 7A playoff field. The Golden Eagles lost to Lincoln-Way West in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 Hampshire 

Aug. 31 @ Huntley 

Sept. 7 Dundee-Crown 

Sept. 14 @ McHenry 

Sept. 21 Neuqua Valley 

Sept. 28 Prairie Ridge 

Oct. 5 @ Cary-Grove 

Oct. 12 Crystal Lake South 

Oct. 19 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Golden Eagles move up in the Fox Valley Conference pecking order in 2018?

Names to watch this season: OT Joacheim Price and OL Nick Zonta

Biggest holes to fill: The Golden Eagles will need to replace its entire starting linebacker group from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Year in and year out, Jacobs is always a factor in the rugged Fox Valley Conference (seven playoff appearances in the last eight years). The Golden Eagles return some starters in several key spots. If the underclassmen group can step up this summer, look for Jacobs to challenge for the FVC conference title and a higher seed in 7A come IHSA playoff time. 
 

97 Days to Kickoff: Back of the Yards

97 Days to Kickoff: Back of the Yards

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 @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Back of the Yards

Head coach: Sheamus Murphy

Assistant Coaches: Will Johnson, Marty McNamara, Tim McNamara and Nick Teich

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (6-0 CPL Great Lakes Conference). Back of the Yards made the Class 5A state playoff field. They lost to Solorio in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Week 1: @ Kelly

Week 2: vs. Goode

Week 3: @ Brooks

Week 4: vs. Schurz

Week 5: vs. Kenwood

Week 6: vs. North Lawndale

Week 7: @ Steinmetz

Week 8: vs. Payton Prep

Week 9: @ Clark

Biggest storyline: The Bobcats were a true feel-good story last season. Can the Bobcats build on its momentum and success going into the 2018 campaign?

Names to watch this season: OL/Dl Kevin Pacheco, WR/DB Carl McNickles, OL Armando Resendiz

Biggest holes to fill: The Bobcats bring back several returning starters from last season; however, can they find a new signal caller to replace the graduation loss of 2017 standout QB Jeremiah Harris (McKendree College)? 

EDGY's Early Take: One of the top stories from the 2017 season was the rise of this young program. The Bobcats made the IHSA state playoff field in just their third season of varsity football. As for 2018? The expectations have risen for this South Side school. A move to the CPL Illini Prairie State conference ramps up the overall competition level. If the Bobcats can find a steady signal caller, they have solid chance at competing for a potential IHSA state playoff spot come October.