Preps Talk

Pass or fail? Mixed emotions surround NCAA's new early signing period

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Pass or fail? Mixed emotions surround NCAA's new early signing period

John Ivlow could easily add traffic patrol officer to his resume. Or a navigator, perhaps. The Bolingbrook head football coach is very popular and in demand with college recruiters --especially this time of year-- just as much as any other coach in Chicagoland. Ivlow is also never shy about sharing his opinion when it comes to various high school football topics, and that includes recruiting.

But in regards to the upcoming --and inaugural-- NCAA football early signing period, which begins on Dec. 20, Ivlow is taking more of a patient approach.

"I'm a bit indifferent about it," Ivlow said. "It's still too early to tell what the impact will be and like a lot of coaches I'm watching it all pretty closely."

Ivlow has two seniors expected to eventually sign FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) scholarships: DT Dashaun Mallory and WR I'Shawn Stewart. He also has a half-dozen other seniors who will play at the FCS/D-2/NAIA level. He expects to see some potentially serious fallout after the early signing period ends on Dec. 23.

"I know of several FBS schools who are taking the approach that if a kid is not going to sign in December, then they aren't really committed and they will pull that scholarship offer," according to Ivlow. "I think the large majority of kids who are now verbally committed will sign in December just because they don't want to lose out. If kids who are now committed don't sign, they are taking a big risk. Waiting could hurt."

Ivlow's concerns are more with kids who are fringe FBS-level recruits who could turn down scholarship monies from FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) or D-2 level schools in search of spots that could open up after the December signing period at the FBS level.

"Some kids and parents think that the bigger schools will have a lot of spots open up. But I just don't see a lot of kids not signing at the FBS level. I would be surprised to see several kids not sign early and those kids who waited for that spot to open up could end up being hurt. In some cases that's a very expensive gamble and those kids and parents would leave a lot of scholarship money on the table."

One thing seems to be certain starting on Dec. 20: expect the recruiting clock to, once again, be pushed ahead to an even earlier start. 

"I can see the FBS schools using the January recruiting period to focus strictly on the 2019 class even harder than ever."

So will January become the new May? 

Stay tuned. 
 

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

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USA TODAY

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

EMERSON, Ga. -- Rolling Meadows rising sophomore guard Max Christie is having a strong spring and summer on the grassroots circuit as he's emerged as one of the area's newest breakout stars.
 
At 6-foot-5 with an ability to play both on and off the ball, Christie is a versatile perimeter player who can be either a big point guard or a smooth wing. Even though he's only finished one year of high school, Christie already has earned some major college scholarship offers as Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Loyola, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin have all been involved. Playing up an age group with the Illinois Wolves U16 team, Christie is starting to generate a lot of buzz among college coaches and national scouts.
 
"I think I've played well. I've been growing. I have a huge target on my back. So I'm just confident and humble and playing my game," Christie said. "College coaches are coming in everywhere, but I'm just playing my game and not worrying about them. I'm just having fun."
 
Christie is coming off of a positive freshman season at Rolling Meadows in which he had some big games as a freshman while playing on varsity. Although Christie is still very skinny and trying to add strength, he has started to adjust to opponents trying to play physical against him. As he starts to get older, Christie is adjusting to how certain opponents will handle him.
 
"On the court, it's physical. So I have to get used to that. I have encouraging teammates so that's good for me. But everybody is double-teaming me and face-guarding me, so I just have to use screens and everything," Christie said.
 
"I've been in the weight room working. The strength is there. I'm always using it against other teams. I just have to get used to it. I feel like [the physicality] is not as much of a factor as I get stronger."
 
Christie will be one of the marked men in the area this season as he'll draw a lot of attention at Rolling Meadows. He has the potential to be an all-area player. With multiple high-major scholarship offers and national recruiting profiles, Christie is just trying to maintain his focus on staying a versatile player. Playing both on and off the ball, Christie is trying to improve the consistency on his perimeter jumper while also trying to grow his basketball IQ.
 
"Both of them are fine. Off the ball, I like to set screens and get teammates open. I like to get open. On the ball, I like to create, passes, all that stuff," Christie said. "So I'm just trying to make plays, get my teammates open, set better screens."
 
"Leadership is something I need to work on, so it's something I need to accept for this season. So, since I've built this reputation, I'm trying to be more of a leader and encourage. Just being a better teammate."
 
Christie averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a freshman at Rolling Meadows, as he has the ability to put up monster numbers as a sophomore. Underclass players don't typically compete for awards in the Chicagoland area, but Christie is a potentially special talent at the high school level as he attempts to ascend into a national-level recruit. 

37 Days to Kickoff: Schaumburg

37 Days to Kickoff: Schaumburg

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: Schaumburg

Head coach: Mark Stilling

Assistant coaches: Anthony Belmont, Fran Cassidy, Adam Strauch, Nick Torresso, Nick Anselmo, Juwaan Richard, Leo Clark, Joe Kowalski, Chris Rafah, Jake Hughes, Justin Teschner and John Fidler

How they fared in 2017: 5-5 (2-3 Mid-Suburban West Conference). Schaumburg made the Class 8A state playoff field and lost to Lake Zurich in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ St. Charles North
Sept. 1 @ Wheeling
Sept. 7 @ Niles North
Sept. 14 vs Highland Park
Sept. 21 vs Hoffman Estates
Sept. 28 vs Conant
Oct. 5 @ Palatine
Oct. 12 vs Barrington
Oct. 19 @ Fremd

Biggest storyline: After three seasons of hovering around the .500 mark, are the Saxons ready to make a strong run to win the Mid-Suburban West in 2018?

Names to watch this season: WR/DB Heze Trotter and RB Mike Digiola

Biggest holes to fill: The Saxons will need to replace four starting offensive linemen lost to graduation from last season.

EDGY's Early Take: The Saxons will welcome back several returning starters (especially in the offensive skills department) from last year's state playoff team (five offense, seven defense) and could very well be the conference's most experienced team this fall. If the Saxons can find some answers up front on the offensive line they have a very good shot at getting back to the 8A state playoffs along with challenging for a conference title this season.