Preps Talk

IHSA: Edgy Tim's candidates for Player of the Year in Illinois

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IHSA: Edgy Tim's candidates for Player of the Year in Illinois

The upcoming IHSA state semifinal games will feature several players I have under serious consideration for Player of the Year in Illinois.

I've been naming a Player of the Year (in one form or another) for nearly 20 years and this year I see a handful of names who have risen towards the top of the list.

Libertyville QB Riley Lees, who is committed to Northwestern as a wide receiver, has been impressive and—at times—as dominating as any player in this state. Lees has rushed for 2,156 yards and 29 touchdowns while also passing for 1,663 yards and 26 touchdowns with just six interceptions. While the numbers are extremely impressive, I've never been a real numbers guy. Lees makes it look easy when its anything from easy. He has a quiet self confidence that you see in the great ones.

Or how about Glenbard West senior RB Sam Brodner? The Vanderbilt commit, who has rushed for 1,332 yards and 40 touchdowns, doesn't have overwhelming stats . But don't tell me that after seeing Sam Brodner take a pitch, turn the corner and run past (or run over) oncoming defenders time and time again that he's not worthy of Player of the Year status.

The same can be said for Nazareth Academy’s do-it-all senior Julian Love (Notre Dame). Love does a little bit of everything for the Roadrunners, including playing receiver, running back, defensive back and kickoff returner. He also performs in the school play (that's also the truth, FYI). The Truth: it seems like a perfect Player of the Year slogan to describe the importance of Julian Love. The overall stats aren't overwhelming. He’s just The Truth (trademark pending).

Others? Don’t tell me that Palatine QB Zach Oles (2,302 yards rushing, 20 TD; 2,063 yards passing, 19 TD) isn't in the hunt. And the same can be said of Marist QB Brendan Skalitzky who has thrown for 3,412 yards 36 passing TD while also adding a mere 893 yards in the ground with eight touchdowns. Skalitzky alone has put up more offense than half the teams in Illinois this season.

[MORE: Saturday on CSN - No. 30 Waubonsie Valley at No. 23 Marist]

What about a few kids giving this quarterback position a "try" for the first time at the varsity level? Take Montini Catholic senior QB Justin Blake. So far, Blake has amassed over 2,300 yards of total offense. And in many cases, he’s played in barely over one half of football thanks to Montini’s success. Phillips senior QB Quayvon Skanes (UConn) decided to move over to quarterback after being a standout receiver last fall. Skanes under center has been as impressive as anyone in Illinois so far this season.

And what about this Evans kid out of Prairie Ridge? It seems this sophomore Samson Evans has a bit more speed than his older offensive linemen brother (Shane Evans/NIU) is also approaching over 3,000 yards of total offense this season for the Wolves. Not too shabby for a sophomore.

And can we just award a lifetime achievement award now to Cary Grove junior FB/LB Ty Pennington? He’s amassed 1,255 yards 21 touchdowns this season—and it seems like he has played for the Trojans since the mid 2000s.

Hinsdale South? The Hornets can share the award between senior QB Sean McCormack and senior RB Marcus Curry, because I don't need stats to tell me the value both kids have for the team. I've seen it up close myself.

Crete-Monee? Take senior ATH Clint Radkovich. Quite simply, he is the best all around football player you most likely haven't heard about yet. But you should, especially if you are a Hinsdale South fan.

So how do you choose? I'm still looking and I have a feeling the next two weeks will play a large role in the final choice.

Illinois AP football rankings: Week 7

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NBC Sports Chicago

Illinois AP football rankings: Week 7

The Illlinois high school football AP polls are out. Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school football teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:

Class 8A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Lincoln-Way East (10) 7-0 100 1
2. Loyola 5-2 75 3
3. Warren 7-0 73 2
4. Notre Dame (Niles) 7-0 70 4
5.  Homewood-Flossmoor 6-1 51 6
T-6. Hinsdale Central 7-0 47 5
T-6. Neuqua Valley 6-1 47 7
8. Minooka 7-0 33 8
9. Oswego 7-0 19 9
10. Bolingbrook 6-1 15 10

Others receiving votes: St. Charles East 10, South Elgin 5, Huntley 3, Maine South 2.

Class 7A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. (Chicago) Mt. Carmel (9) 7-0 99 1
2. Nazareth (1) 6-1 85 2
3. Glenbard West 7-0 79 3
4.  Hersey 7-0 65 5
5.  Phillips 6-1 56 6
6. Rolling Meadows 7-0 48 T-7
7.  Batavia 5-2 41 4
8. Benet 6-1 22 T-7
9. Willowbrook 6-1 21 NR
10. Normal Community 6-1 15 NR

Others receiving votes: Andrew 5, DeKalb 4, Glenbard East 4, Grant 3, Conant 2, Brother Rice 1.

Class 6A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Chatham Glenwood (9) 7-0 108 1
2.  Crete-Monee (1) 7-0 95 2
3.  Simeon (1) 5-1 81 3
4. Cary-Grove 6-1 68 4
5. Richards 6-1 62 5
6. Prairie Ridge 6-1 57 6
7. Antioch 6-1 41 8
8. Providence 5-2 34 9
9. Yorkville 6-1 22 7
10.  Lemont 6-1 15 NR


Others receiving votes: Normal West 10, Kaneland 9, Peoria Central 3.

Class 5A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. East St. Louis (12) 7-0 120 1
2. Sterling 7-0 102 2
T-3. Hillcrest 6-1 81 4
T-3.  Boylan Catholic 7-0 81 3
5.  Montini 5-2 65 5
6.  Sycamore 6-1 62 2
7. Marion 7-0 46 7
8. St. Rita 4-3 34 8
9.  Kankakee 6-1 29 9
10.  Carbondale 6-1 17 10

Others receiving votes: Dunlap 8, Cahokia 6, Joliet Catholic 6, St. Laurence 3.

Class 4A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. IC Catholic (11) 7-0 119 1
2. Rochester 7-0 106 2
3. Coal City (1) 7-0 99 3
4. Richmond-Burton 7-0 80 4
5. Stillman Valley 7-0 64 5
6.  Mt. Zion 7-0 52 6
7.  Effingham 7-0 39 8
8. Columbia 7-0 35 7
9. Genoa-Kingston 7-0 23 10
10.  St. Francis 6-1 19 9

Others receiving votes: Illinois Valley Central 16, Bishop McNamara 5, Benton 2, Fairbury Prairie Central 1.

Class 3A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Wilmington (9) 7-0 124 1
2. Williamsville (4) 7-0 121 2
3. Byron 6-1 93 3
4. Beardstown 7-0 85 4
5. Vandalia 7-0 72 5
6. Nashville 7-0 62 6
7. Fairfield 7-0 50 7
8. Pana 7-0 43 8
9. Princeton 6-1 33 9
10. Eureka 6-1 18 10

Others receiving votes: DuQuoin 9, Breese Mater Dei, 3, Mt. Carmel 2.

Class 2A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Fieldcrest (7) 7-0 122 1
2. Clifton Central (5) 7-0 116 2
3. Maroa-Forsyth (1) 6-1 100 3
4. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 6-1 90 4
5.  St. Teresa 6-1 73 5
6.  Knoxville 7-0 67 6
7. Newman Central Catholic 6-1 58 7
8. Bismarck-Henning 6-1 46 8
9. Auburn 5-2 24 9
10. West Carroll 5-2 15 10

Others receiving votes: Flora 2, Orr 2.

Class 1A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Lena-Winslow (11) 7-0 119 1
2.  Moweaqua Central A&M 7-0 103 3
3. Annawan-Wethersfield 7-0 88 4
4.  Morrison 7-0 78 5
5.  Ottawa Marquette 7-0 64 6
6. Forreston 6-1 55 2
7. Aquin 7-0 53 7
8. Hope Academy (1) 6-1 44 10
9. Camp Point Central 6-1 31 8
10. Athens 5-2 7 9

Others receiving votes: Tuscola 6, Carrollton 5, Fulton 2, Arcola 2, Kirkland Hiawatha 2, Princeville 1.

Hersey ATH Jordan Hansen pledges to NIU

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Hersey ATH Jordan Hansen pledges to NIU

Hersey senior QB/S Jordan Hansen (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) has decided to give NIU his verbal commitment. 

"I'm really excited about it (commitment to NIU)," Hansen said. "NIU started really recruiting me harder around the beginning of the season. The NIU coaches saw me earlier in the summer at one of the North Central College one day camps and we've been in regular contact ever since then."

Hansen, who was drawing fall recruiting attention from Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota State, Eastern Illinois, and Illinois State felt that NIU was the best overall fit for him.

"NIU has a lot to offer. They recruited me as a safety and I'm more of an athlete recruit for them. I really like all of the coaches at NIU. They are just great guys and they have a plan in place to keep the football program on top. NIU also has nice facilities and really everything at NIU is impressive. NIU is also close to home which is a plus. Distance from home was not a huge factor for me but it definitely works out great for my family."

Hansen is also happy and relieved to have made his college choice.

"It's a big relief for sure. I can just stay focused on my team and on my season without having to worry about recruiting."

Jordan Hansen is the 17th known verbal commitment to the NIU Huskies Class of 2020 and the 3rd known in-state pledge. Hansen joins Oswego OL Jack Hugunin and West Aurora DE Matt Johnson in the NIU 2020 in-state class.