Preps Talk

IHSA state finals top underclassmen prospects

IHSA state finals top underclassmen prospects

The IHSA state football finals last weekend at Memorial Stadium saw several top underclassmen performances.

Here are some top underclassmen prospect who emerged:

Peoria: Coran Taylor (QB) | Geno Hess (RB) | Marques Cox (OL/DL)

The 6-foot-3, 204 pound Taylor, who has been on several recruiting radar screens since last season, had a breakout performance in the Lions' 62-48 win over Vernon Hills to capture the first state football title in school history. Taylor, who is still in search of his first offer, has been in steady contact with the likes of Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Purdue and Central Michigan.

Juniors' Hess and Cox will draw more DI level looks and offers.

Khali Saunders (WR/S), Immaculate Conception

Saunders (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) is an impressive two-way player with size, speed and real upside.

Sam Barkalow (TE/OLB), Forreston

Barkalow (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) was easily the most intriguing smaller school name on Friday. Barkalow, a junior, has great size and length, showed good speed and instincts on both sides of the football.

Rochester: Sam Brewer (OL/DL) | Mike McNicholas (LB)

Juniors' Brewer (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) and McNicholas (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) are potential recruit names to watch for head coach Derek Leonard's Rockets.

Prairie Ridge: Samson Evans (QB) | Jeff Jenkins (OL/DL) | Jacob Ommen (OLB)

Evans (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), who ran for 274 yards and four touchdowns in the Wolves' 48-17 win over Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin to secure the 6A state title already has early offers from NIU, Central Michigan and Army. Evans, who's older brother Shane is a red-shirt sophomore offensive linemen for NIU, has also been drawing steady contact and interest from Illinois, Indiana and Syracuse. Evans is also listed as an athlete prospect who will draw recruiting interest on both sides of the football (QB/WR/DB).

Jenkins (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) was as impressive as any two-way linemen I saw all weekend and if he can add some size this offseason, expect offers to follow.

Ommen (6-foot-0, 200 pounds) was also an underrated player as a junior on the Wolves defense and will draw recruiting looks.

[RELATED: Where do East St. Louis and Peoria rank among Illinois' best teams?]

Jacardia Wright (RB/S), Decatur St. Teresa

Wright (6-foot-0, 198 pounds) was held in check (14 carries, 46 yards) in St. Teresa's 35-7 loss to Forreston in the Class 1A state title game. However, as just a sophomore, Wright already looks to have the makings of a potential top Class of 2019 name to watch. Wright already has an offer from Iowa and has the overall physical tools and potential to become a major name in recruiting circles in a year or two.

Desmond Taylor (OL/DL), East St. Louis

Taylor (6-foot-3, 267 pounds) is just a sophomore and has a chance to develop into the next major FBS level name out of the City of Champions in the Class of 2019. Taylor has the overall size, strength and explosiveness to become a major impact player who projects to play on the defensive line at the college level. Taylor is just one of about 5-6 other underclassmen names who have DI potential from East St. Louis.

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin: Tremayne Lee (RB) | Matt Brenneisen (ILB) | Barrett Kraft (OL)

Lee (5-foot-9, 190 pounds) led the Cyclones offense this past season and has a great mix of inside power and speed. Lee is a name that will also see more recruiting looks this winter and spring.

I was also impressed with sophomores' Brenneisen (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) and Kraft (6-foot-2, 250 pounds).

Fotis Kokosioulis (RB), Maine South

Kokosioulis (5-foot-8, 160 pounds) has a great mix of power, speed and explosiveness and there's no question that the junior running back will draw several recruiting inquiries this winter and spring.

Loyola Academy: Charlie Gross (OL) | Marty Geary (DL)

Gross (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) is yet another name to watch for the Ramblers in the Class of 2018. 

Geary (6-foot-2, 250 pounds), a sophomore defensive lineman, is another name to track over the next two years. 

High School Lites Week 1 basketball roundup


High School Lites Week 1 basketball roundup

High School Lites featured plenty of great basketball action on Friday night as NBC Sports Chicago had highlights of many of the area's top matchups.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @CSNPreps for all of the latest IHSA basketball scores and highlights.

Midweek Mixtape: Bogan 73, Vocational 42

Team of the Week: Mount Carmel and Lincoln-Way East football

Athlete of the Week: Marian Catholic's Ahron Ulis

Friday's Scores

Evanston 62, Notre Dame 53

Fenwick 55, Oak Park-River Forest 48

York 51, Lyons 41

 Brother Rice 61, St. Rita 58

Hillcrest 72, Oak Lawn 65

Richards 72, Tinley Park 59

Lake Park 58, Batavia 48

Leo 49, St. Joseph 46

(Girls): Hersey 71,  Prospect 46

Rolling Meadows 70, Elk Grove 37

High School Lites: Basketball season tips with the Chicago Elite Classic


High School Lites: Basketball season tips with the Chicago Elite Classic

High School Lites transitions to basketball season with a loaded first Friday of games for the show. 

The annual Chicago Elite Classic remains a huge early-season event at DePaul’s Wintrust Arena as we’ll have highlights from two marquee matchups there. 

We’ll also cover games from all over the Chicagoland area, including some intriguing South Suburban crossovers. 

High School Lites begins at 11 p.m. this Friday night on NBC Sports Chicago. 

GIRLS: Prospect at Hersey, 6:00 p.m. -- We get a rivalry matchup in the Mid-Suburban East in this one. Hersey (5-2) won four straight games to take home the Bison Classic after a sluggish start. Prospect (4-2) earned a road win at Conant earlier this week as they try to earn two away from home this week. 

No. 20 Hillcrest at Oak Lawn, 6:30 p.m. -- A fascinating South Suburban crossover between two talented teams. The No. 20 Hawks are trying to earn a tough win as they've played a difficult early schedule. The junior class for Hillcrest is special, led by wing Julius Rollins. Oak Lawn (5-0) has a high-scoring senior in guard Sami Osmani as he gets scoring help from senior lead guard Trey Ward. They're a team just outside of the Power Rankings who can get in with a win. With a number of scorers on the floor in this one, it could be an up-and-down contest. 

No. 25 St. Rita at Brother Rice, 7:00 p.m. -- The unbeaten Mustangs take the road in this Catholic League crossover. St. Rita (5-0, 1-0) beat St. Ignatius while also winning the Riverside-Brookfield title last week. Christian Henry is off to a strong start for the Mustangs. Brother Rice (3-2, 1-0) is coming off of two straight wins, including a road win at Montini earlier this week. 

Leo at St. Joseph, 7:00 p.m. -- We head to the Catholic League as St. Joe's plays its first home game without legendary head coach Gene Pingatore -- who passed away over the summer. The night will honor the legacy of Pingatore in-part. On the floor, Leo (1-3, 0-1) tries to bounce back from a loss to Loyola earlier this week. The Chargers (1-3) couldn't find their footing at St. Charles East during Thanksgiving week.

Batavia at No. 12 Lake Park, 7:15 p.m. -- The DuKane Conference features a really intriguing early-season showdown in this one. Batavia (3-1) is led by high-scoring senior Jayden Johnson as he's coming off of a strong opening week to the season. The No. 12 Lancers (4-0) took the crown at Wheaton Academy as they're undefeated. Senior Luke Sgarbossa leads a balanced group.

Lyons at York, 7:30 p.m. -- The West Suburban Silver opens play in this one. Lyons (3-0) is quietly off to an unbeaten start by winning their own event, beating Maine South, Fenger and Plainfield North. York (3-1) opened some eyes with a week-one win over previously-ranked Cary-Grove before falling to top-five Stevenson in the finals at Palatine. Senior guard Nate Shockey (North Dakota) is a potential All-Area candidate.

Rolling Meadows at Elk Grove, 7:30 p.m. -- An early look at star junior Max Christie and the Mustangs in a Mid-Suburban East battle. Rolling Meadows (4-0) won the title at Fenton to open the season. Christie, one of the best juniors in the country, dropped 51 points on Elk Grove in an overtime win last season. Elk Grove (0-4) is trying to build after a tough opening week at Palatine that saw them go winless. 

(13) Evanston vs. (8) Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. -- The second Friday matchup at Wintrust Arena has two top-15 teams with a ton of talented juniors battling. The No. 13 Wildkits (4-0) are led by some college prospects in the junior class as wing Jaylin Gibson and guard Blake Peters are a strong combination. The No. 8 Dons (5-0) have been one of the season's major early storylines. Notre Dame beat DePaul Prep for the Battle of the Bridge title and looks like a major contender. The junior group of Anthony Sayles, Troy D'Amico and Louis Lesmond (who played for the Wildkits last season) is strong while senior Jason Bergstrom is another talented option as a scorer.

No. 24 Fenwick vs. OPRF, approx 9:00 p.m. -- Tipping after the Evanston and Notre Dame clash is this inner-town rivalry of Oak Park schools. The annual Friday night closer of the Chicago Elite Classic, this matchup has a lot of talent on the floor once again. The No. 24 Friars (3-1, 1-0) are led by star junior forward and Louisville commit Bryce Hopkins. Sophomore guard Trey Pettigrew is another talented weapon to watch for Fenwick. OPRF (2-2) is trying to figure things out after a sluggish start at Riverside-Brookfield last week. Senior forward Justin Cross was solid this summer and the junior group of Isaiah Barnes and Joshua Smith has a lot of promise. 


Tinley Park at Richards, 7 p.m. -- Our first Viewer's Choice matchup goes to a South Suburban crossover. Tinley Park (3-2) has the state's top sophomore in forward A.J. Casey. The high-major prospect is off to a solid start this season for the Titans. Richards (3-1) only has an overtime loss to Marist against them with a solid start at their own event.