Preps Talk

Recruiting News and Notes: Bill Cubit, Illinois off to quick start

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Recruiting News and Notes: Bill Cubit, Illinois off to quick start

The Class of 2017 recruiting season is off and running as several schools have already begun to extend verbal scholarship offers.

Bill Cubit and the University of Illinois are off to a quick start, having extended verbal scholarship offers to at least 25 in-state prospects. Illinois was able to ink just two in-state names in the Class of 2016. They have made it known to recruits that a priority will be made on local talent going forward.

"Illinois made it pretty clear to me that they want to keep a lot of in-state kids at home," Bolingbrook junior wide receiver Kendall Smith (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) said after adding an offer from the Fighting Illini. "When they offered they told me that this is ‘our state and our team’ and want to keep as many of us in-state as possible."

[MORE PREPS: IHSFCA announces 2016 Hall of Fame class]

Several Mid-American Conference schools have also extended multiple offers to local athletes.

Miami (OH) and head coach Chuck Martin’s staff was one of the first MAC schools to extend several early scholarship offers to the upcoming class. The Redhawks, who added four Land of Lincoln names to its 2016 signing class, have also extended over 20 verbal scholarship offers to in-state athletes. Also Buffalo, Bowling Green, Toledo, Central Michigan and Western Michigan have all been very active in Illinois this winter.

Illinois State, led by coach Brock Spack, is another program that is off and running for the 2017 class. The Redbirds hosted several top names last week for a “Junior Day” event. They extended nearly a dozen early scholarship offers. Several FCS-level teams have been a bit more reserved when it comes to offering kids this early, not wanting to tip off either bigger level BCS schools or their own FCS-level rivals. That said, the Redbirds have fared well overall by offering kids early scholarship offers on the recruiting trail the past few seasons. 

[MORE PREPS: Edgy Tim's Fighting Illini 2016 in-state recruiting review]

Bolingbrook junior three-star defensive end Izayah Green-May (6-foot-6, 205 pounds) is easily one of the hottest names, not just in Illinois, but the entire Midwest over the past month. Green-May has a dozen scholarship offers since late January, with his most recent offer coming Tuesday night from Northern Illinois. Green-May has also added offers from Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Virginia and Cincinnati. Several other major Power 5 conference coaches are all taking notice of Green-May.

West Aurora three-star senior safety Drake Spears Jr. (6-foot-1, 215 pounds), who decommitted from Illinois in mid-January and failed to sign a Letter of Intent on Signing Day, ended his recruiting process over the weekend after making an official visit to Western Michigan. Spears Jr, who is a full NCAA academic qualifier could wind up becoming an impact performer for Western Michigan and head coach P.J. Fleck. 

Speaking of potential steals, Eastern Illinois head coach Kim Dameron added a late signee in Morgan Park senior three-star inside linebacker Sean Williams (6-foot-2, 225 pounds). Williams, who had offers from a half dozen MAC schools, was also on the recruiting radar of a handful of Big Ten schools leading up to Signing Day.

12 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard West

12 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard West

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Glenbard West

Head coach: Chad Hetlet

Assistant coaches: John Sigmund, Jon Schweighardt, Chris VanDyke, Rick Heckman, Mike Hofland, Tad Keely and Sheldon Harris

How they fared in 2018: 8-3 (5-1 West Suburban Silver Conference). Glenbard West made the Class 8A state playoff field. They defeated Bartlett then lost to Lincoln-Way East in second round action.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 vs Maine South
Sept. 7 vs Leyden
Sept. 14 vs Proviso West
Sept. 20 @ Addison Trail
Sept. 28 vs York
Oct. 4 @ Downers Grove North
Oct. 11 @ Lyons Township
Oct. 19 vs Hinsdale Central
Oct. 25 @ Oak Park River Forest

[MORE: 15 Days to Kickoff - Maine South]

Biggest storyline: The Hilltoppers have been one of the most dominant Illinois high school programs the last decade or so, but have only advanced to the second round the previous two years. Can the Hilltoppers get back to making deeper runs in the IHSA state playoffs?

Names to watch this season: OLB Greyson Metz (Sr.) and OL Andrew Johnson (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Hilltoppers have a few key spots to fill this summer including quarterback and on the defensive line.
 
EDGY's Early Take: Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet has produced a 129-21 during his time in Glen Ellyn, including two state titles (2012, 2015) and a runner-up appearance (2009). Nine of his 12 seasons have resulted in double-digit wins. Witnessing the Hilltoppers get knocked out of the state playoffs at home, 45-0 to Lincoln-Way East, has undoubtedly provided plenty of offseason motivation. The 2019 ‘Hitters’ will look towards an experience and talented defense to lead the way. They’re headlined by senior OLB Greyson Metz, who anchors a unit that showed terrific speed this summer. On offense, they will look to run the football behind a line led by senior OL Andrew Johnson. Look for senior returning starters RB Joey Richmond and FB Nic Seifert to get plenty of touches this season. 
 

13 Days to Kickoff: Phillips

13 Days to Kickoff: Phillips

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Phillips

Head coach: Troy McAllister

How they fared in 2018: 9-3 (5-0 CPL Illini Land of Lincoln Conference). Phillips made the Class 6A state playoff field and defeated Lake Forest and Prairie Ridge. They advanced for the quarterfinal round and lost to Cary-Grove.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 @ Cass Tech (MI)
Sept. 7 vs St. Mary (MO) at East St. Louis
Sept. 13 vs Taft
Sept. 20 vs Raby
Sept. 27 @ Morgan Park (Gately Stadium)
Oct. 5 @ Simeon (Gately Stadium)
Oct. 11 vs Lane Tech
Oct. 19 @ Westinghouse
Oct. 25 @ Lincoln Park (at Lane Tech)

Biggest storyline: Phillips has gone from a Public League also-ran to a program with annual state title aspirations. Can the two-time state champion Wildcats get back into the 6A playoff field and make a deeper run this November?

Names to watch this season: S Robert Pledger (Sr., Western Michigan) OL/DL Demerick Morris (Sr., Temple)

Biggest holes to fill: The Wildcats will bring back an experienced team this season after playing a ton of underclassmen in 2018. The biggest hole is more from a leadership standpoint with the graduation losses of WR/DB Fabian McCray (NIU) and DB Joseph Thompson (Illinois), both of whom were long time varsity starters. 

EDGY's Early Take: Phillips (4A-sized enrollment) and head coach Troy McAllister volunteered to "move up" to Class 6A level last season and also this season. The Wildcats will bring back big group of returning starters who saw significant playing time last season.

While they came up short last season with a 6A quarterfinals loss to Cary-Grove, look for the Wildcats to again challenge everyone who comes their way in the Chicago Public League. They’ll have to be road warriors the first two weeks, as they take on marquee competition from out of state. The Oct. 5 date vs. Simeon is a must-see. The 6A playoff field will have to be wary of Phillips.