Preps Talk

Recruiting News and Notes: Luke Ford commits to Arkansas

Recruiting News and Notes: Luke Ford commits to Arkansas

Luke Ford (TE), Carterville

Carterville High School three-star ranked junior tight end Luke Ford (6-foot-7, 250 pounds) ended his recruiting process on Monday. Ford, who was drawing national recruiting interest and scholarship offers this winter, made an unofficial visit to Arkansas this past weekend and gave Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema his verbal commitment.

"I'm pumped right now, if you can't tell," Ford told HogSports.com's Danny Ford on Monday. "I am pumped. This is awesome, I'm so excited. I'm happy to shut down the recruitment and just focus on school and sports now. I'm committed. I loved everything about Arkansas that I saw. I just don't know what to say, I'm pumped."

Gavin McCabe (DT), Marist

Marist junior three-star ranked defensive tackle recruit Gavin McCabe (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) has 24 scholarship offers this winter and remains on multiple recruiting radars.

"I have 24 offers so far," McCabe said. "It's been fun but in all honesty it's also been sort of crazy."

McCabe will remain busy this spring by making multiple unofficial visits.

"I've been able to visit Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State and Miami (OH) so far and I also went to games at Michigan State, Kansas State and Iowa State," McCabe said. "I'm looking to make a trip out East soon and visit schools such as Boston College, Syracuse, Rutgers, Virginia and North Carolina. I also want to head down South and see Arkansas and Kansas. I know that I'll also head back to visit schools like Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Iowa and Wisconsin. I also want to get all of these visits in by the end of spring recruiting."

Samson Evans (ATH), Prairie Ridge

While Prairie Ridge three-star ranked athlete Samson Evans (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) was hoping to have a handful of scholarship offers at this stage of his recruiting process, he admits to being pleasantly surprised by his success on the recruiting trail so far this winter.

"I have 11 offers now and I had no idea I would have so many offers at this point a year ago," Evans said. "I also just didn't expect to have as many quality offers as I have right now. I was hoping to maybe build up to some bigger Power 5 offers so it's been a great surprise."

Evans also shared his gameplan in regards to his recruiting process.

"I have a top schools list in my head but I won't be releasing any top schools list," Evans said. "I would like to be done with recruiting before the start of the season. I might decide then or I might decide at the end of spring or maybe even earlier. It all just depends when I feel ready and comfortable in making my decision. Once I'm 100 percent comfortable with a school then I'll make my choice."

Does Evans get any recruiting pitches from teammate and good friend Jeff Jenkins, who recently committed to Iowa?

"Jeff and I have lunch together every day and he makes sure to let me know where he stands with Iowa and that he wants me to commit to them," Evans said. "It's not over the top all the time, but he always seems to be wearing Hawkeyes gear a lot when ever we hang out."

Dashaun Mallory (DT), Bolingbrook

Bolingbrook junior defensive tackle Dashaun Mallory (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) is starting to see his recruiting stock take off over the past month. Mallory, who has early offers so far from Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Iowa State, NIU, Toledo and Wyoming, also made a recent visit to Michigan State.

"I was able to visit Michigan State a few weeks ago and it was awesome," Mallory said. "I really enjoyed myself at Michigan State and it was an amazing experience. The coaches at Michigan State said they love my game and want to get me back on campus. They want me to keep working hard and also stay in touch."

Mallory has also been in touch this month with coaches from Arkansas, Penn State, Michigan, Louisville, Kansas State, North Dakota State and Western Michigan.

High School Lites: Basketball season tips with the Chicago Elite Classic

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

High School Lites: Basketball season tips with the Chicago Elite Classic

High School Lites transitions to basketball season with a loaded first Friday of games for the show. 

The annual Chicago Elite Classic remains a huge early-season event at DePaul’s Wintrust Arena as we’ll have highlights from two marquee matchups there. 

We’ll also cover games from all over the Chicagoland area, including some intriguing South Suburban crossovers. 

High School Lites begins at 11 p.m. this Friday night on NBC Sports Chicago. 

GIRLS: Prospect at Hersey, 6:00 p.m. -- We get a rivalry matchup in the Mid-Suburban East in this one. Hersey (5-2) won four straight games to take home the Bison Classic after a sluggish start. Prospect (4-2) earned a road win at Conant earlier this week as they try to earn two away from home this week. 

No. 20 Hillcrest at Oak Lawn, 6:30 p.m. -- A fascinating South Suburban crossover between two talented teams. The No. 20 Hawks are trying to earn a tough win as they've played a difficult early schedule. The junior class for Hillcrest is special, led by wing Julius Rollins. Oak Lawn (5-0) has a high-scoring senior in guard Sami Osmani as he gets scoring help from senior lead guard Trey Ward. They're a team just outside of the Power Rankings who can get in with a win. With a number of scorers on the floor in this one, it could be an up-and-down contest. 

No. 25 St. Rita at Brother Rice, 7:00 p.m. -- The unbeaten Mustangs take the road in this Catholic League crossover. St. Rita (5-0, 1-0) beat St. Ignatius while also winning the Riverside-Brookfield title last week. Christian Henry is off to a strong start for the Mustangs. Brother Rice (3-2, 1-0) is coming off of two straight wins, including a road win at Montini earlier this week. 

Leo at St. Joseph, 7:00 p.m. -- We head to the Catholic League as St. Joe's plays its first home game without legendary head coach Gene Pingatore -- who passed away over the summer. The night will honor the legacy of Pingatore in-part. On the floor, Leo (1-3, 0-1) tries to bounce back from a loss to Loyola earlier this week. The Chargers (1-3) couldn't find their footing at St. Charles East during Thanksgiving week.

Batavia at No. 12 Lake Park, 7:15 p.m. -- The DuKane Conference features a really intriguing early-season showdown in this one. Batavia (3-1) is led by high-scoring senior Jayden Johnson as he's coming off of a strong opening week to the season. The No. 12 Lancers (4-0) took the crown at Wheaton Academy as they're undefeated. Senior Luke Sgarbossa leads a balanced group.

Lyons at York, 7:30 p.m. -- The West Suburban Silver opens play in this one. Lyons (3-0) is quietly off to an unbeaten start by winning their own event, beating Maine South, Fenger and Plainfield North. York (3-1) opened some eyes with a week-one win over previously-ranked Cary-Grove before falling to top-five Stevenson in the finals at Palatine. Senior guard Nate Shockey (North Dakota) is a potential All-Area candidate.

Rolling Meadows at Elk Grove, 7:30 p.m. -- An early look at star junior Max Christie and the Mustangs in a Mid-Suburban East battle. Rolling Meadows (4-0) won the title at Fenton to open the season. Christie, one of the best juniors in the country, dropped 51 points on Elk Grove in an overtime win last season. Elk Grove (0-4) is trying to build after a tough opening week at Palatine that saw them go winless. 

(13) Evanston vs. (8) Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. -- The second Friday matchup at Wintrust Arena has two top-15 teams with a ton of talented juniors battling. The No. 13 Wildkits (4-0) are led by some college prospects in the junior class as wing Jaylin Gibson and guard Blake Peters are a strong combination. The No. 8 Dons (5-0) have been one of the season's major early storylines. Notre Dame beat DePaul Prep for the Battle of the Bridge title and looks like a major contender. The junior group of Anthony Sayles, Troy D'Amico and Louis Lesmond (who played for the Wildkits last season) is strong while senior Jason Bergstrom is another talented option as a scorer.

No. 24 Fenwick vs. OPRF, approx 9:00 p.m. -- Tipping after the Evanston and Notre Dame clash is this inner-town rivalry of Oak Park schools. The annual Friday night closer of the Chicago Elite Classic, this matchup has a lot of talent on the floor once again. The No. 24 Friars (3-1, 1-0) are led by star junior forward and Louisville commit Bryce Hopkins. Sophomore guard Trey Pettigrew is another talented weapon to watch for Fenwick. OPRF (2-2) is trying to figure things out after a sluggish start at Riverside-Brookfield last week. Senior forward Justin Cross was solid this summer and the junior group of Isaiah Barnes and Joshua Smith has a lot of promise. 

VIEWER'S CHOICE GAME OF THE WEEK

Tinley Park at Richards, 7 p.m. -- Our first Viewer's Choice matchup goes to a South Suburban crossover. Tinley Park (3-2) has the state's top sophomore in forward A.J. Casey. The high-major prospect is off to a solid start this season for the Titans. Richards (3-1) only has an overtime loss to Marist against them with a solid start at their own event. 

21st annual EDGYTIM/Rivals.com All State Team

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

21st annual EDGYTIM/Rivals.com All State Team

The 2019 EDGYTIM/Rivals.com All-State team is comprised of the best of players from IHSA football classes 5A-8A. 

Player of the Year: East St. Louis junior QB Tyler Macon

QB: J.J. McCarthy, Nazareth Academy (2021, Michigan commit) — McCarthy is a two-time All Stater who passed for  2,820 yards and 34 touchdowns 

RB: Kaleb Brown, St. Rita (2022) — Brown already has seven FBS scholarship offers. He ran for 1,995 yards and 35 touchdowns. 

RB: Mar'Kiese Irving, Hillcrest (2021) — One of the most sought-after names in the 2021 class. Rushed for 1,733 yards and 24 touchdowns.

WR: A.J. Henning, Lincoln-Way East (2020, Michigan commit) — Henning was simply a threat every time he touched the football in 2019.

WR: Tyler Morris, Nazareth Academy (2021) — Another highly sought-after junior who had 71 catches for 1,261 yards and 17 touchdowns.

WR: Hank Beatty, Rochester (2022) — A sophomore who shined brightly in the Class 5A state title game. On the season, he had 100 catches for 2,018 yards and 26 touchdowns.

OL: Peter Skoronski, Maine South (2020, Northwestern commi) — An old-school throwback type of player and personality. 

OL: Marcus Harper II, Homewood-Flossmoor (2020, Oregon commit) — Big, strong and athletic big man with huge upside at the college level.

OL: Javontez Spraggins, East St. Louis (2020, Tennessee commit) — Three-year varsity starter and impact player for the 6A state champs.

OL: Jalen Grant, Chicago Mount Carmel (2020) — A two-way player who was dominant on either side of the football in 2019. 

OL: Dylan Barrett, St. Charles East (2020, Wisconsin commit) — Another high-impact long-term starter for the Saints this fall.

ATH: Luke Lehnen, Glenwood (2020) — Lehnen, a quarterback by trade, posted a combined 3,313 yards of total offense along with 50 touchdowns in 2019.

DL: Rylie Mills, Lake Forest (2020, Notre Dame commit) — Big, strong and mobile big man was a factor in everyone's game plan. 

DL: Willis Singleton Jr., Warren Township (2020, Iowa State commit) — One of the state's top defensive tackles in 2019.

DL: Justin Jefferson, Brother Rice (2020) — Jefferson's speed, strength and overall versatility, combined with a non-stop work ethic, was impressive in 2019.

DL: Nate Pedraza, Rolling Meadows (2020, Ball State commit) —  A two-way impact player for the Mustangs this fall.

DL: Sean McLaughlin, Lincoln-Way East (2020, Northwestern commit) — A 6-foot-7, 230 pounder played his best football when it counted the most.

LB: Juan Delacruz, Warren Township (2020) — Has size and speed. Contributed in all three phases for the Blue Devils this fall. 

LB: Quinn Urwiler, Batavia (2020 North Dakota commit) — One opposing coach called Urwiler, "The toughest kid we've faced in a long, long time."

DB: Antonio Johnson, East St. Louis (2020, Texas A&M commit) — The state's top-ranked recruit in the Class of 2020 according to Rivals.com. 

DB: Sam Tumilty, Willowbrook (2020) — A multi-year All-State performer who was as valuable as anyone to his team in 2019. Huge high school career. 

DB: Lavoise Donte McCoy, Homewood-Flossmoor (2020, Illinois State commit) — A grinder type who just made plays at all times for the Vikings and head coach Craig Buzea. 

DB: Ronald Pledger, Phillips (2020, Western Michigan commit) — Pledger was a two-way impact player in 2019 and a leader for the Wildcats on and off the field.

K: Jack Olsen, Wheaton South (2020) — Michigan State commit. Broke state records in his high school and has 50-plus yard field goal range. 

P: Dominic Dzioban, Lincoln-Way East (2020, Miami OH commit) — “The Dominator“ has 50-yard plus field goal range and his punting helped the Griffins defense flip field position all season long.

KR/PR: Antonio King, Bolingbrook (2020) — One of the state's most exciting players all season long for the Raiders and head coach John Ivlow.