Preps Talk

Phillips DT Amir Watts commits to Western Michigan

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Phillips DT Amir Watts commits to Western Michigan

Chicago Phillips junior defensive tackle Amir Watts (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) became the second Wildcat to make his college decision this weekend.

Watts, who played last season at DeLaSalle before transferring to Phillips this spring, gave Western Michigan and head coach PJ Fleck his verbal commitment. On Friday night, Phillips junior linebacker and teammate Amani Jones (6-foot-0, 215 pounds) pledged to Illinois.

"I committed to Western Michigan just a few minutes ago." Watts said. "I just felt that there is too much opportunity at Western Michigan for me to pass up. The program is undergoing a lot of development and growth and I want to be a part of that so I committed."

[RELATED: Phillips' Jones heading to Fighting Illini]

So why did Watts make such an early commitment to the WMU Broncos?

"I just didn't want to miss out on everything happening at Western Michigan. I want to be a part of building something here."

Watts, who was in Kalamazoo today for the WMU Broncos spring game, now becomes the 14th known verbal commitment for Western Michigan. Watts is also the second Land of Lincoln recruit for the Broncos, joining Evanston three-star ranked junior quarterback Matt Little (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) in the Class of 2016. 

Edgy Tim: Recruiting news and notes

Edgy Tim: Recruiting news and notes

Nazareth Academy sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) is holding 30 FBS level scholarship offers-- a very impressive total for an underclassman. And his recruiting process continues to skyrocket. Has McCarthy's recruiting process started to becoming overwhelming? 

"I wouldn't say it's been overwhelming but it can be busy at times," McCarthy said. "I try treat everyone well and also treat everyone the same so I try to make sure to spend time talking to as many coaches as I can."

McCarthy is also looking to get out to visit more schools this spring and early summer. 

"I'm set to visit Michigan on May 11. I'm also going to try to get back and visit both Ohio State and Northwestern this spring."

McCarthy is also eyeing a timeframe for giving a school his verbal commitment.

"I feel like this summer will be a good time to make my college decision. I want to be able to commit and then have time to try and help recruit more kids to come play for the school that I chose. I also want to be able to just focus on my upcoming junior season and school without having to deal with recruiting at all."

Northern Illinois head coach Thomas Hammock is hitting the spring recruiting trail hard; the Huskies approach is going beyond the Class of 2020 this spring. So far this week, NIU has extended verbal scholarship offers to Providence Catholic sophomore tight end Jameson Geers (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) along with Prairie Ridge sophomore athlete Carter Evans (6-foot-4, 220 pounds).
 
"Getting my first offer from NIU last Saturday was a huge surprise," Jameson Geers said. "They made an in-school visit a few weeks ago and watched one of our workouts. But outside of that I didn't really have much contact with the NIU coaches until Saturday. I decided to go to the spring game and that's when Coach Tony (Sorrentino) offered me a scholarship."

Carter Evans, who is the younger brother of both the former NIU and Purdue OL Shane Evans, and current Iowa running back and former IHSA Player of the Year Samson Evans,  also was a bit surprised to add his first offer from the NIU Huskies.
 
"It was a nice surprise," according to Evans. "I'm excited that NIU has a new coaching staff, they seem like a good group of coaches. I'm looking forward to get to know them. I also really like their facilities."

IC Catholic Prep junior QB Danny Cronin (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) was able to add his first scholarship offer last Saturday. It came from Eastern Illinois University after he visited the Charleston campus during spring practice. Cronin played for Fenwick last fall before transferring to IC for the spring semester.

"I've known the coaches at Eastern Illinois for a while now including going back to last year when I was still at Fenwick and they were at Northwestern'" Cronin said. "I loved it at EIU. I just love the coaches and they just have a great group. EIU likes me as a quarterback but they also offered me as more of an athlete because they said they just want me to be a part of the team. The coaches also said they will take a hard look at me at quarterback but that they feel I could also play either linebacker or even as a super back for them. Getting my first offer from EIU is pretty special and you'll always remember the first school who offered you."

Edgy Tim: Which local names could get the call to the NFL?

Edgy Tim: Which local names could get the call to the NFL?

The 2019 NFL Draft is almost upon us. And despite the Bears not having a first or second round pick, there are a couple of names from the Land of Lincoln who could make waves this weekend-- including a few who could hear their name called in the early rounds. Here is a list of local players to pay attention to when the NFL Draft gets underway Thursday night: 

Julian Love, DB, Notre Dame (Nazareth Academy)

Love was a four star-ranked cornerback recruit by Rivals.com coming out of the La Grange Park school in the Class of 2016. He had over a dozen FBS scholarship offers while also being a two-time All-State player for the Roadrunners. He then gave Notre Dame his verbal commitment on Mar. 22, 2015. Love also looked hard at both Northwestern and Boston College before committing to the Fighting Irish. Love is ranked by several NFL scouting services as the state's consensus top overall pick in the 2019 draft. 

David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin (Downers Grove North)

Edwards was listed by Rivals.com as a 6-foot-6, 225 pound athlete in his prep football days. He played quarterback for the Trojans and head coach John Wander. Edwards gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment on June 14, 2015 as a potential tight end recruit, choosing the Badgers over several other Big Ten schools. In Madison, Edwards grew into a 6-foot-6, 308 pound offensive tackle and was a multi-year starter. He is being projected by several NFL scouting services as a low-second round to high-third round pick.

Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame (Providence Catholic)

Boykin, listed in high school as a 6-foot-3, 225 pound four star-ranked wide receiver by Rivals.com in the Class of 2015, gave Notre Dame his verbal commitment back on Dec. 14, 2014 after taking an official visit to the Sound Bend campus. Boykin, who held nearly 20 FBS scholarship offers is being projected by several NFL Scouting services as a high to mid-third round selection. Chicagoland fans may remember him as part of the High School Lites "Drive" series.

TJ Edwards, LB, Wisconsin (Lakes)

Edwards was listed in high school as a 6-foot-2, 215 pound three star-ranked outside linebacker in the Class of 2014. And he was versatile, assisting in a few other positions as a player for then-head coach Luke Mertens. Edwards, who was originally verbally committed to Western Michigan, switched his decision and gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment on Dec. 3, 2013. Edwards is being projected by several NFL Scouting services as a an early-to-mid-fourth round selection.  

Terry Beckner Jr., DT, Missouri (East St. Louis)

Beckner Jr. was a 6-foot-4, 298 pound four star-ranked defensive tackle and the 36th best recruit in the nation according to Rivals.com in the Class of 2015. He gave Missouri his verbal commitment on Feb. 4, 2015 in a nationally-televised signing day press conference. Beckner Jr. selected Missouri after making official visits to Auburn, Florida State and Ohio State. He is being projected by several NFL scouting services as a mid-fourth round selection. 

Here are some additional names to keep an eye on during this weekend's NFL Draft:

QB Clayton Thorson - Northwestern (Wheaton North)
DE Chris Slayton - Syracuse (Crete-Monee)
OG Nick Allegretti - Illinois (Lincoln-Way East) 
OG Tanner Farmer - Nebraska (Highland)
K Austin Seibert - Oklahoma (Belleville West)
TE Daniel Helm - Duke (Glenwood)
WR Scotty Miller - Bowling Green (Barrington)
S Julian Hylton - Illinois/Southern Illinois (Lincoln-Way North)
LB Jerry Powe - Lafayette (Warren Township)