Preps Talk

Edwardsville four-star DE A.J. Epenesa commits to Iowa

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Edwardsville four-star DE A.J. Epenesa commits to Iowa

The top recruit in Illinois for the Class of 2017 gave the Iowa Hawkeyes his verbal commitment today.

Edwardsville junior four-star ranked defensive end A.J. Epenesa (6-foot-5, 255 pounds), who Rivals.com has ranked as the 27th best recruit in the nation in its Class of 2017 Rivals 100 rankings, tweeted out his decision earlier today.

Epenesa, who is the son of former Iowa Hawkeye linemen Eppy Epenesa, was considered a heavy Iowa lean from very early on in his recruiting process. Epenesa had verbal scholarship offers from multiple nationally ranked Power 5 schools.

Lincoln-Way East's AJ Henning commits to Michigan

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NBC Sports Chicago

Lincoln-Way East's AJ Henning commits to Michigan

Lincoln-Way East 4 star ranked running back AJ Henning (5-foot-10, 183 pounds) today gave the University of Michigan his verbal commitment.

"At the end of the day Michigan was just the best overall for me," Henning said. "Michigan has stuck with me in this process for a long time including when I was injured and never backed off. Michigan also recruited me but also  got to know my family well which really made a strong impression on me."

Henning, who narrowed down his final list of schools to Michigan. Georgia, Notre Dame and Penn State new that Michigan was his school after his recent official visit. 

"When I made my official visit to Michigan is when I knew that I found my school. I was able to just get a great feel for the coaches and the guys on the team on my official visits. I just felt that I will be a great fit at Michigan socially, athletically, academically and that I really fit in well with the guys on the team. After my official visit I knew that Michigan was the place I needed to be."

Henning, who ended up selecting Michigan over scholarship offers from 33 FBS schools  is bit thrilled and relived to have announced his college choice.

"It's definitely a relief, but just being able to be recruited and offered scholarships from 33 different schools is a true blessing. I'm just glad I found a home in Michigan."

65 Days to Kickoff: Solorio

65 Days to Kickoff: Solorio

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Solorio

Head coach: Bill Ziemba

Assistant coaches: John Erlenbaugh, Rob Oden, Carol White, Joe Mende and Phil Wisniewski

How they fared in 2018: 7-5 (2-3 CPL Illini Red Bird Conference). Solorio failed to qualify for the 2018 IHSA state playoff field. The Sun Warriors then entered the CPL playoffs and defeated Lincoln Park and Curie before losing to Taft in the title game.
 
2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ Clark
Sept. 6 vs Phoenix Academy
Sept. 13 @ Raby
Sept. 20 vs Simeon
Sept. 27 @ Taft
Oct. 4 vs Westinghouse
Oct. 11 @ Curie
Oct. 18 vs Hubbard
Oct. 25 vs Perspectives Leadership

[MORE: 82 Days to Kickoff - Taft]

Biggest storyline: The Sun Warriors had a recent string of IHSA playoff berths; last year they advanced to the Public League title game. Can the Sun Warriors make it back to the IHSA state playoff field in 2019?

Names to watch this season: RB Amarius Weatherspoon (Jr.) and WR/DB Brian Whitsey (Jr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Sun Warriors will bring back a ton of experience for 2019 but will need to fill a few key spots this summer. That list includes the quarterback position and along the defensive line.

EDGY's Early Take: Solorio head coach Bill Ziemba believes his Sun Warriors are in the top five of Public League programs. They finished the 2018 season with a 5-4 record but missed the IHSA state playoff field because of low playoff points. The Sun Warriors will need to ramp up their overall game as they move into to the CPL Illini Land of Lincoln conference. If they can get out of the gates well early on, they have a great shot at getting back to the state playoffs in 2019.