Preps Talk

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Ben Bryant (QB), Lyons Township

Lyons Township senior three-star quarterback Ben Bryant (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), who originally gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment only to have the Badgers rescind his verbal scholarship offer, has given Cincinnati his verbal commitment.

"It was a much harder decision this time around compared to the first time I committed," Bryant said. "When I committed the first time (to Wisconsin) I had two offers. This time around I had a lot of options and some great offers, but Cincinnati is the best place for me."

Bryant is thrilled to have ended his recruiting process again and can now focus on his upcoming senior season while also putting to rest the entire ordeal with Wisconsin.

"I've put the whole Wisconsin deal behind me and I stand my statement that I sent out on my Twitter account and that's all I have to say. I had some great offers and options and it was a great problem to have. I can just focus now on my team this summer and having a great senior season."

Bryant joins Simeon wide receiver Jayshon Jackson and Mount Carmel senior offensive linemen Jeremy Cooper as part of the Bearcats Class of 2018. 

Jeff Griffin (DL), Homewood-Flossmoor

Northern Illinois continues to do well with filling out its Class of 2018. The Huskies added another Chicagoland piece when Homewood-Flossmoor senior defensive linemen Jeff Griffin (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) became the team's ninth in-state commitment and 14th overall pledge.

"I visited NIU (last Saturday) and that visit really sold me on NIU," Griffin said. "I always wanted to stay closer to home for school and once NIU stepped up and offered me it was a hard offer to turn down. After the visit on Saturday I was sold on NIU so I called up the coaches and committed."

Griffin is also hoping to help NIU add a few more pieces from Homewood-Flossmoor's talented senior class.

"I'm definitely already talking to Justin (Hall) and Mario (Wright II) about joining me at NIU."

Seniors' athlete Justin Hall and linebacker Mario Wright II have both listed Northern Illinois as one of their favorite schools this summer. 

[RELATED: Recruiting News and Notes - Jyran Mitchell commits to NIU]

Indiana State recruiting

Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory has been on fire when it comes to the Sycamores recruiting this summer. Mallory, who was a long-time assistant coach at various stops in Illinois, now has an amazing 24 verbal commitments — including two recent additions in Bishop McNamara safety Giavion Mason (6-foot-0, 190 pounds) and Lindblom wide receiver CJ Rutherford (6-foot-0. 170 pounds).

So why the Sycamores?

Rutherford pointed towards the strength of the coaching staff as a big factor in his decision.

"I really love the coaching staff at Indiana State," Rutherford said. "Coach Mallory brought in a staff that has a lot of experience and several of his coaches worked with him when he was at Michigan. The coaches made us feel comfortable and at home at Indiana State and I'm just excited to be a part of helping the football program win."

Recruiting News

Who are the Top 5 uncommitted players remaining in the Class of 2018?

Carterville tight end Luke Ford (6-foot-7, 245 pounds) has offers from literally every Power 5 school in the nation. Ford originally committed to Arkansas.

Oswego DT Noah Shannon (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) was committed to Minnesota but reopened his recruiting process. Shannon has shown heavy interest in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana and Arkansas.

Bolingbrook DT Dashaun Mallory (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) added a camp offer from Michigan State, and has a Top 3 list of the Spartans, along with Iowa State and Toledo. 

Waubonsie Valley tight end Charles Robinson (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) listed Iowa State, Minnesota and Mississippi State as his Top 3 favorite schools.

Bolingbrook wide receiver I'Shawn Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) camped earlier this summer with Wisconsin and also made a recent visit to Syracuse. 

Power Rankings: #11 - Stevenson

Power Rankings: #11 - Stevenson

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: Stevenson

Head coach: Josh Hjorth

Assistant coaches: Brent Becker (OL/Assistant Head Coach), Tom Baumann (DBs), Brian Burja (DC), Chris Caballero (OL/DL), Jason Ford (LBs), Pat Grady (WRs/Special Team Coordinator) Erik Jensen (Quality Control Coach), Redelle Lawrence (DBs), Joey Weber (QBs)

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-2 North Suburban Conference). Stevenson made the 8A state playoff field and lost to Hinsdale Central in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Palatine

Aug. 31 @ Neuqua Valley

Sept 7 @ Libertyville

Sept. 14 @ Zion-Benton

Sept. 21 vs Lake Zurich

Sept. 28 @ Mundelein

Oct. 5 vs Waukegan

Oct. 12 @ Warren Township

Oct. 19 vs Lake Forest

[MORE: 29 Days to Kickoff - Palatine]

Biggest storyline: Can the Patriots, under second-year head coach Josh Hjorth, make another run at the North Suburban title --and beyond-- this season?

Names to watch this season: RB JM Eitenne and LB Maema Njongmeta

Biggest holes to fill: The Patriots welcome back 15 returning starters from a season ago including nine back on offense. On defense, they'll be looking to fill holes on the defensive line and in the secondary. 

EDGY's Early Take: The Patriots went young in 2017 as then-first year head coach Josh Hjorth was able to get varsity experience to several key players. That should pay dividends this fall. Stevenson, led by three returning offensive lineman, will look to establish their running game early in the season. Senior QB Cole Okmin will have a deep and experienced group of backs and receivers to utilize. The key in the first few weeks will be the development of the defensive line and secondary. Defensive team leaders such as senior OLB Maema Njongmeta will play a big role in bringing along a younger but very talented group. 

Power Rankings: #12 - Hinsdale Central

Power Rankings: #12 - Hinsdale Central

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: Hinsdale Central

Head coach: Dan Hartman

Assistant coaches: Ray Mankowski Todd Koehler Matt McNiff Brian Griffin Preston Letts Tom Dorrance Tim Lambert

How they fared in 2017: 8-3 (5-1 West Suburban Silver Conference), Hinsdale Central made the Class 8A state playoff field, defeated Stevenson then lost to Loyola Academy in second round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Naperville Central

Aug. 31 @ Willowbrook

Sept. 7 vs Oak Park-River Forest

Sept. 14 @ Downers Grove North

Sept. 22 vs York

Sept. 28 @ Proviso West

Oct. 5 vs Glenbard West

Oct. 12 @ Lyons Township

Oct. 19 vs Hinsdale South

[MORE: 33 Days to Kickoff - Benet]

Biggest storyline: Can the Red Devils, a perennial playoff candidate, make the postseason and play into November? Can they also challenge for the West Suburban Silver conference title?

Names to watch this season: QB Matt Rush and RB Luke Skokna (WIU)

Biggest holes to fill: The Red Devils will welcome back 16 returning starters (eight offense, eight defense) but will need to develop some depth in a few key areas to make a deep run in Class 8A. 

EDGY's Early Take: Dan Hartman might have his best Red Devils team since taking over the football program back in 2014. Keep an eye on Central's offense, led by senior QB Matt Rush and WIU commit RB/WR Luke Skokna plus. They also boast four returning starters on the offensive line. The Red Devils' defense is also experienced. Senior DE Sean Kelly, senior LB Vincent Zelisko and senior DB Aiden Cruickshank are names to watch. The Red Devils will need to come firing out of the gates this early season opening. Two big challenges are on deck in August, first on the road at Naperville Central and then at Willowbrook.