Preps Talk

Northern Illinois recruiting class breakdown


Northern Illinois recruiting class breakdown

Edgy's NIU Huskies overall grade: B

Northern Illinois and head coach Rod Carey signed 24 names to the Huskies Class of 2018 and included an impressive 14 in-state names. According to the Mid American Conference team recruiting rankings, the NIU Class of 2018 came in third behind Toledo and Western Michigan. NIU was able to ink six three-star ranked names, including in-state players such as Waubonsie Valley tight end Charles Robinson, Peoria offensive linemen Marques Cox and De La Salle LB Joe Bonds.

Headliner of the in-state class?

Robinson has the potential to become a major steal for the Huskies. Robinson, who played receiver and defensive line for the Warriors in 2017, has size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and a frame that will allow him to get even a bit more bigger/thicker at the college level. Robinson also has receiver-caliber speed and skills in the frame/body of a kid who could play tight end, defensive end or even at inside linebacker if needed. If Robinson can overcome some academic issues this semester (Robinson also signed a Juco letter of intent with Iowa Central Community College) NIU will add a potential impact player.

Also, Homewood-Flossmoor athlete recruit Justin Hall (5-foot-9, 181 pounds) is far more than your run of the mill recruit for NIU. Hall, who played defensive back, receiver and running back as a three-year varsity starter at H-F (a rarity in the Vikings program) can literally do it all on the field. NIU will no question look to get Hall involved in the special teams/return game right away along with working into the defensive secondary group starting this fall. 

The ones who got away?

NIU was able to secure it's first two early verbal commitments in the 2018 class from Plainfield East three star ranked DE Jack Sullivan (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) and Danville two star ranked offensive tackle Julian Pearl (6-foot-7, 245 pounds). Both Sullivan and Pearl are big, tall and lanky kids who are developmental kids with huge upsides. Unfortunately for NIU both Sullivan (Purdue) and Pearl (Illinois) became high in demand after adding their first offer from NIU and both wound up heading to the Big Ten.

Final thoughts on the NIU Huskies recruiting efforts:

It's pretty hard to argue with the overall approach and eventual results with its in-state Class of 2018. While a few early commitmentws wound up heading towards the Big Ten, credit the NIU staff for doing terrific early evaluations and losing a few kids to the Big Ten level will always be an issue for most Mid American Conference schools. 

I've covered NIU football closely for many years (think mid Joe Novak era) and I can say without question the Class of 2018 is the best overall in-state group I can ever remember heading to DeKalb. The Huskies incoming class features some higher level headliners (Robinson/Cox/Bonds) plus adds much needed depth at several positions while also raising the overall talent level.

NIU also has been abler to continue to draw, attract and build upon a strong connection with several top in-state high school coaches and programs. While several in-state schools always talk about the importance of having it's focus on in-state kids, the overall numbers, depth and quality of some of the recent NIU recruiting classes speaks volumes and backs up its talks of in-state focus.

Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift


Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC. -- Markese Jacobs doesn't have to impress college coaches during the July live evaluation period since he's already committed to Kansas. But the Uplift rising senior point guard is still motivated to make a strong impression during his final summer on the grassroots circuit.

Playing with a healthy and rejuvenated Mac Irvin Fire roster that includes Morgan Park's Adam Miller and former city players like Terrance Shannon (Lincoln Park) and Kahlil Whitney (Solorio), Jacobs is running an offense with a lot of talent around him the next few weeks. His ultimate goal is to make waves with national talent evaluators to improve his stock and overall ranking.

"We're extra motivated because we didn't get to play with each other fully healthy. We were missing guys some sessions. Some players weren't playing. Now our thing is, now that we're healthy, let's finish strong and accomplish what we want to accomplish," Jacobs said.

"My goal is to at least get top 50. They've got me in the 90s and 100s and I feel disrespected. My whole thing is coming out strong and breaking the top 50."

Since Jacobs doesn't have to worry about collecting scholarship offers since he's been pledged to the Jayhawks for over a year, he is focused instead of making sure that his point guard ability continues to grow. Jacobs also wants to continue to improve his perimeter shooting since defenses will collapse on him regularly next season.

"I have to show that I'm not only an athlete. I can play defense, score the ball and get the ball to my teammates," Jacobs said.

"Over these next couple months, my whole thing is getting off the dribble and hitting open shots. Going into my high school season, pretty much everybody in Chicago is going to be gunning for me. I'm going to get double teamed and stuff like that. So the opportunities that I get, I have to make the best of them."

Jacobs is encouraged by how things are going at Uplift entering next season -- especially now that he is a team leader. In the past, Markese could rely on leadership from his older brother Demarius, or Toraze Dobbs. Now, those guys have graduated and it's his time to shine as a team leader for the Titans.

"It's actually very different. I have to be the one talking now. I can't take a couple plays off like I normally can. So now, it's just, I have to come with it every game," Jacobs said.

Uplift will continue to develop its Class 2A rivalry with conference opponent Orr as both teams always feel like they're on a collision course during the postseason. This season, Jacobs has made it clear that a state title is his goal as he feels as though Class 2A is underrated in Illinois. 

"I'm trying to win state. That's my only goal. City is going to be what city is going to be. But my whole thing is winning state,' Jacobs said.

"Two A is actually pretty tough because it's the same two teams every time: us and Orr. For us, it's about finishing once we get to that game. We do pretty good up until that game, and then we fold. So my thing is just finishing and playing all the way through." 


38 Days to Kickoff - Glenbrook North

38 Days to Kickoff - Glenbrook North 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: Glenbrook North

Head coach: Bob Pieper

Assistant coaches: Matt Purdy, Dom Savino, Justin Weiner, Justin Georgacakis, Matt Miller, Brad Hokin, Ernie Brandt and Mike Nabolotny

How they fared in 2017: 5-4 (2-3 Central Suburban North Conference). Glenbrook North failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Wheeling

Sept. 1 vs Grant

Sept. 7 vs Hoffman Estates

Sept. 14 @ Elk Grove

Sept. 21 @ Maine West

Sept. 28 vs Highland Park

Oct. 5 @ Maine East

Oct. 12 vs Deerfield

Oct. 19 vs Vernon Hills

[MORE: 61 Days to Kickoff - Maine West]

Biggest storyline: Will the Spartans' growing pains from last season pay off come August?

Names to watch this season: DB Ben Kieffer and OL Nick Mantas

Biggest holes to fill: The Spartans welcome back an impressive 15 starters (eight offense, seven defense) this season. That said, who will be the main ball carrier this season for the Spartans?

EDGY's Early Take: Glenbrook North posted a winning record in 2017, but a low playoff point total kept the Spartans watching the playoffs at home. Look for a much more experienced team on both sides of the football this fall that will contend for the Central Suburban North conference title and a state playoff spot.