Preps Talk

Recruiting news and notes: Fenwick's Mike O'Laughlin headed to West Virginia

Recruiting news and notes: Fenwick's Mike O'Laughlin headed to West Virginia

Fenwick junior tight end Mike O'Laughlin (6-foot-5, 215 pounds) went from landing a scholarship offer from West Virginia to giving the Mountaineers his verbal commitment in just over a week's time.

"Before I left for West Virginia last weekend I honestly had no plans on committing," O'Laughlin said. "The visit went as well as I could have wanted it to go. West Virginia is just a perfect fir for me in so many ways, so I committed."

O'Laughlin admitted that overall recruiting pressure from so many recruits played a factor in pushing forward his decision.

"These days, committing early is the process," he said. "I know that West Virginia had offers out to other tight ends and the fact that they hadn't added a commitment yet was a gift. After making my visit this weekend I was ready to make my decision. I already had a school who offered me, then a few days later took another kid's commitment. I was not going to let that happen at West Virginia."

Batavia junior offensive tackle Nolan Eike (6-foot-6, 260 pounds) gave Central Michigan his verbal commitment at last weekend's Chippewas spring game.

"I had it planned over the past week or two about committing," Eike said. "I had made three separate visits to Central Michigan already and I'm just very comfortable with Central Michigan. I was ready to make my decision and I feel great about it."

Eike, who was seeing a steady increase in his recruiting stock this spring didn't want to play the wait and see game during the ongoing spring evaluation period. 

"I really wasn't waiting around for any other offers or waiting for bigger schools to offer me. I had some good offers but I always found myself comparing them to Central Michigan. After a while, I was always trying to find places better than Central Michigan and why keep waiting when I knew where I wanted to play for already."

Last Sunday, Glenbrook North hosted the annual Under Armour Football Camp and two State of Illinois names added invitations to the 2018 Under Armour All American Bowl game in January. Lincoln-Way East four star ranked defensive end Devin O'Rourke (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) and Carterville three star ranked tight end Luke Ford (6-foot-7, 247 pounds) had standout camp performances on Sunday and will take place in the nationally televised all star game.

Bolingbrook junior three star ranked wide receiver I'Shawn Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) early on his his recruiting process talked about being committed by now, but at least for now Stewart has pushed back his time frame just a bit.

"I'm going to push it back a little," Stewart said at Sunday's Under Armour camp. "I'm looking at making a decision closer to the beginning of June right before the college camps start up."

Stewart, who earlier this week added his latest offer from Syracuse is "looking harder these days at Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin."

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

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: Shepard

Head coach: John Rone

Assistant coaches: Andrew Porter, Ron Rivera, Chris Lewis, Ryan McGuire and Clint Connelly

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (5-1 South Suburban Red Conference). Shepard made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Astros lost to Marmion Academy in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Leyden

Sept. 1 @ Stagg

Sept 7 vs Hillcrest

Sept. 14 vs Eisenhower

Sept. 21 @ Richards

Sept. 28 @ Oak Lawn

Oct. 5 vs Reavis

Oct. 12 vs Evergreen Park

Oct. 19 @ Argo

Biggest storyline: First-year head coach John Rone. Can the Astros challenge once again for the South Suburban Red conference title under a new head coach?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Chris Harrison and TE/DE Kevin Graham

Biggest holes to fill: The Astros bring back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). Overall depth could also be a concern.  

EDGY's Early Take: Shepard will be led by former Eisenhower assistant Rone, who was able to retain an experienced staff at Shepard. It will help ease the transition from former head coach Dominic Passolano this summer. If the Astros can get off to a good early start they have the overall talent to again make a state playoff appearance in 2018. Can they challenge conference power Richards in the South Suburban Red race?

64 Days to Kickoff: T.F. South

64 Days to Kickoff: T.F. South

Head coach: Bob Padjen

Assistant coaches: Trent Jensen, Jesse Kikkert, Jonathan Hill, Doug Smith, Mike Tisza, Rob Shell and Tim Russell

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (3-3 South Suburban Blue Conference), T.F. South made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Rebels lost to Danville in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Thornwood

Sept. 1 vs Julian

Sept. 7 vs Oak Forest

Sept. 14 @ TF North

Sept. 21 vs Bremen

Sept. 28 @ Reavis

Oct. 5 vs Hillcrest

Oct. 12 @ Lemont

Oct. 19 @ Tinley Park

[MORE: 86 Days to Kickoff - Reavis]

Biggest storyline: T.F. South has advanced to the playoffs 20 times in the past 24 seasons. Can the Rebels get back to the IHSA state playoff field and make more noise this fall?

Names to watch this season: QB Kamron Clayton LB Michael Smith

Biggest holes to fill: The Rebels will need to replace seven starters on each side of the football this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: T.F. South head coach Bob Padjen was able to keep the Rebels on a winning path in his first season as Rebels head coach after several years serving in an assistant role. South always has talent. If the underclassmen can step up this summer, look for the Rebels to challenge for the top half of the South Suburban Blue conference race.