Preps Talk

Recruiting News and Notes: Illinois State secures two local recruits

Recruiting News and Notes: Illinois State secures two local recruits

Josh Maize (DE), Deerfield

Deerfield senior three-star ranked defensive end Josh Maize (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) made his second official visit to UConn this past weekend.

"I had a great visit" Maize said. "Outside of the weather and some flight delays it was a terrific visit and experience for myself and my Mom and Dad at UConn."

Maize, who made his first official visit to Wyoming in November, has yet to set any additional official visits for now. 

"I don't have anything set up just yet," Maize said. "It's going to be hard for me to fit in visits. I'm playing in the Blue/Gray All Star game and also the Team USA game so that will take up two weekends in January. That leaves two open weekends in January and one of those weekends falls in the recruiting dead period. I'm considering some mid-week official visits so I'm going to sit down and sort everything out very soon."

Illinois State recruiting

Illinois State head coach Brock Spack was able to secure two impressive in-state verbal commitments earlier this week.

St. Patrick senior wide receiver Andrew Edgar (6-foot-0, 170 pounds) and Freeport outside linebacker/defensive end Zeke Vandenburgh (6-foot-3, 211 pounds) both have given the Redbirds verbal commitments.

"Once Illinois State offered me this morning (Tuesday) it didn't take me long to commit," Edgar said. "Illinois State has been my top school for a long time so it was just a matter of talking it over with my parents after they offered me. It feels great to have an offer and to commit to Illinois State and it's been a wild day."

Vandenburgh, who played outside linebacker for the Pretzels in 2016, was sold on the Redbirds when he made his recent official visit.

"Illinois State was just the best fit for me," Vandenburgh said. "I think I have the best chance at being successful at Illinois State. My official visit really showed me everything that Illinois State has to offer on and off the field so I committed."

[MORE: Why Prairie Ridge's Samson Evans is Edgy Tim's IHSA Football Player of the Year]

Samson Evans (QB), Prairie Ridge

Prairie Ridge junior quarterback Samson Evans (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) is now up to eight scholarship offers, including ones from Illinois and Iowa State. 

"They (scholarship offers) seem to just keep coming," Evans said. "It feels pretty amazing."

Evans now has scholarship offers from Army, Ball State, Central Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Illinois and Syracuse.

Ball State recruiting

Ball State has also been busy in Illinois this week. The Cardinals extended early verbal scholarship offers to several Class of 2018 recruits, including Marist tight end TJ Ivy, Loyola Academy offensive tackle Charlie Gross, Fremd tight end/defensive end Will McCabe, Hinsdale Central tight end Matt Bjorson, Marist defensive lineman Gavin McCabe and Homewood-Flossmooor junior linebacker Mario Wright.

Keyon Blankenbaker (DB), Oak Park-River Forest

Oak Park-River Forest senior defensive back Keyon Blankenbaker (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) gave Wyoming his verbal commitment.

"I made an official visit to Wyoming a few weeks ago," Blankenbaker said. "I loved it on my visit and I pretty much knew after that visit I was ready to commit. I took some time just to give everything some thought and I called up the Wyoming coaches tonight (Tuesday) and committed."

Blankenbaker joins a growing list of Illinois commitments in the Class of 2017 for Wyoming which includes Belleville Althoff wide receiver CJ Coldon, Rochester wide receiver Avante Cox and Brother Rice running back Xazavian Valladay.

Former Illinois and Michigan assistant coach Kurt Mallory recruit the Illinois for the Cowboys and head coach Craig Bohl.

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs 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: Jacobs

Head coach: Bill Mitz

Assistant coaches: Bubba Smith, Mike Warren, Brian Zimmerman, JM Foote, Ryan Arndt and Bob Mackey

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-3 Fox Valley Conference). Jacobs made the Class 7A playoff field. The Golden Eagles lost to Lincoln-Way West in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 Hampshire 

Aug. 31 @ Huntley 

Sept. 7 Dundee-Crown 

Sept. 14 @ McHenry 

Sept. 21 Neuqua Valley 

Sept. 28 Prairie Ridge 

Oct. 5 @ Cary-Grove 

Oct. 12 Crystal Lake South 

Oct. 19 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Golden Eagles move up in the Fox Valley Conference pecking order in 2018?

Names to watch this season: OT Joacheim Price and OL Nick Zonta

Biggest holes to fill: The Golden Eagles will need to replace its entire starting linebacker group from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Year in and year out, Jacobs is always a factor in the rugged Fox Valley Conference (seven playoff appearances in the last eight years). The Golden Eagles return some starters in several key spots. If the underclassmen group can step up this summer, look for Jacobs to challenge for the FVC conference title and a higher seed in 7A come IHSA playoff time. 

97 Days to Kickoff: Back of the Yards

97 Days to Kickoff: Back of the Yards 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 @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Back of the Yards

Head coach: Sheamus Murphy

Assistant Coaches: Will Johnson, Marty McNamara, Tim McNamara and Nick Teich

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (6-0 CPL Great Lakes Conference). Back of the Yards made the Class 5A state playoff field. They lost to Solorio in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Week 1: @ Kelly

Week 2: vs. Goode

Week 3: @ Brooks

Week 4: vs. Schurz

Week 5: vs. Kenwood

Week 6: vs. North Lawndale

Week 7: @ Steinmetz

Week 8: vs. Payton Prep

Week 9: @ Clark

Biggest storyline: The Bobcats were a true feel-good story last season. Can the Bobcats build on its momentum and success going into the 2018 campaign?

Names to watch this season: OL/Dl Kevin Pacheco, WR/DB Carl McNickles, OL Armando Resendiz

Biggest holes to fill: The Bobcats bring back several returning starters from last season; however, can they find a new signal caller to replace the graduation loss of 2017 standout QB Jeremiah Harris (McKendree College)? 

EDGY's Early Take: One of the top stories from the 2017 season was the rise of this young program. The Bobcats made the IHSA state playoff field in just their third season of varsity football. As for 2018? The expectations have risen for this South Side school. A move to the CPL Illini Prairie State conference ramps up the overall competition level. If the Bobcats can find a steady signal caller, they have solid chance at competing for a potential IHSA state playoff spot come October.