Preps Talk

Recruiting news and notes: Nazareth Academy's Devin Blakley verbally commits to Miami of Ohio

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Recruiting news and notes: Nazareth Academy's Devin Blakley verbally commits to Miami of Ohio

Nazareth Academy junior three star ranked defensive back Devin Blakley (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) decided to give Miami of Ohio his verbal commitment earlier this week.

"Miami of Ohio is just a great fit for me so I decided to commit," Blakley said. "I've known for a while now that Miami was the place for me. I just didn't see any reason to keep waiting so I called up the coaches and committed."

Blakley, who had offers from the likes of Iowa State and Air Force long with multiple Mid American Conference schools is the second State of Illinois pledge for the Redhawks Class of 2019. Blakley joins Simeon QB Alante Brown who earlier this month gave Miami of Ohio his verbal commitment. 

New Trier junior three star ranked athlete recruit Duke Olges (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) has been looking harder at his multiple college offers and options. Olges, who has been playing baseball for the Trevians this spring will make two unofficial visits this weekend then will begin to narrow down his favorite schools.

"My plan is to go see Duke and Virginia this weekend and see how everything goes with those visits," according to Olges. "After that I'm either going to narrow things down to a top schools list or I might even make a decision. I just feel that I have some great offers right now and don't want to wait too long in making a decision. Playing the waiting game is a risk because kids are already starting to make decisions. I don't want to miss out and lose some great offers."

Stevenson junior inside linebacker recruit Maema Njongmeta (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) has continued to add scholarship offers this spring including recent offers from both NIU and Toledo. Njongmeta was also able to head out east over his recent spring break and made a handful of college visits.

"I was able to go out to visit Princeton, Army and Penn over my spring break then we headed up to Canada to visit with some family," Njongmeta said. "All three visits I felt went very well and overall it was a fun trip. I thought it was very beneficial to see all three schools in person. Army has the whole military stigma but it was good to see the academy in person. It was great to see what West Point and academy life is all about in person and it was super cool. Every school brings something different to the table. I was able to definitely get a better feel for each school I visited."

Njongmeta has reached also out to someone very familiar with the recruiting process in former Stevenson and current Northwestern super back Cameron Green.

"We have a wonderful lady who works at our school who was able to get me in touch with Cameron Green. I knew of Cameron since I was in eight grade but didn't know him at all. He's a great guy and has been a big help for me. He's given me some good advice and is someone who's been through the process and knows what I'm going through with the recruiting process."

Urban Prep Bronzeville junior defensive back Jeremiah Webb (6-foot-1, 187 pounds) was able to add his first scholarship offer earlier this week from Northern Illinois University. 

"I'm still really excited (about adding his first offer from NIU) and my phone has been blowing up," Webb said. "I've been working hard for a long time now and it just feels good to add my first offer from NIU."

Webb has been eyeing the NIU Huskies program for some time now.

"I've been looking into NIU for a long time. They have a great, winning program and have been to multiple bowl games over the years. NIU is also close to home and I've been to NIU for a camp last summer and I also went to the NIU spring game. It's great to get my first offer from such a good program like NIU."

Webb has also drawn recruiting attention from Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Cornell and Holy Cross so far this spring. 

High School Hoops Holiday Tournament Primer

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

High School Hoops Holiday Tournament Primer

The Holiday Tournament season is quickly approaching as we're two weeks away from all of them getting started. Now that some fields for events have been released, we take a look at some local holiday tournaments to watch in the upcoming weeks. We'll be adding more holiday tournaments to this list as fields come out as High School Lites and the @NBCSPreps Twitter account will have plenty of coverage of holiday events. 

Pontiac Holiday Tournament

Dates: Dec. 27-29

Team to Watch: The always-loaded field includes Public League powerhouses like Simeon and Curie along with suburban greats like Bloom, Benet and Oak Park-River Forest. It'll be fascinating to see if Bloom can emerge victorious after the strong start as the young Blazing Trojans have already won some huge early-season games.

Must-see First-Round Matchup: Oak Park-River Forest matching up with West Aurora could be a semifinal in some events, but it falls on 9 p.m. on opening night as two former top-25 teams with plenty of senior star power do battle.

Proviso West Holiday Tournament

Dates: Dec. 26-29

Team to Watch: Plenty of great teams highlight this field, including top 25 teams like Whitney Young, Bogan, Uplift and Leo. Some really good teams in the middle of the field include Hillcrest, Fenwick and Proviso East. But the Dolphins are the No. 1 team in the area with the starpower to back it up. They'll be favorites to claim this title.  

Must-see First-Round Matchup: Fenwick and Dunbar has a chance to be pretty intriguing. As of this writing, Dunbar stand at an unbeaten 7-0 and leaders of the Public League White-Central. The Friars will still be the favorites behind sophomore Bryce Hopkins, but if Dunbar remains unbeaten this one could be a ton of fun. 

Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic 

Dates: Dec. 26-29

Team to Watch: A holiday event with five ranked teams (Willowbrook, Oswego East, Homewood-Flossmoor, Marian Catholic, DePaul Prep), this might be the most wide-open field of any. DePaul Prep is the team to watch here among the ranked teams. The Rams would love to win a big event to gain some confidence for the postseason, as this team would love to play in Peoria. 

Must-see First-Round Matchup: St. Charles East and Stevenson should be two pretty even teams off to pretty good starts this season. The Patriots are in the mix in the North Suburban while the Saints have some solid early wins.

Wheeling Hardwood Classic

Dates: Dec. 26-29

Team to Watch: Wheeling has a resurgence this year as ranked teams include Waukegan, Glenbrook South and St. Viator. Niles North is another team to keep an eye on as this field could have a lot of potential winners. The Lions will be the team to track the most, as they're a top-ten team who lost their Thanksgiving event earlier this year to Evanston. 

Must-see First-Round Matchup: Deerfield battles Buffalo Grove as both teams are off to 2-0 starts in conference play after sluggish starts. If both of these teams continue clicking then this might be the closest first-round matchup. 

State Farm Holiday Classic

Dates: Dec. 26-29

Team to Watch: Kenwood is the top seed at the large-school field in Bloomington, as they have tough competition from all over the state. The Broncos have Joliet Central, Metamora, Rock Island to contend with among a field that has hopefuls from Class 3A and 4A. 

Must-see First-Round Matchup: Rock Island will get a major test against North Lawndale. Don't be fooled by the Phoenix's 3-3 record -- they're a very tough out. 

 

EDGY: Top 5 Class of 2019 uncommitted prospects

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NBC Sports Chicago

EDGY: Top 5 Class of 2019 uncommitted prospects

With the early National Letter of Intent day fast approaching a week from tomorrow (December 19th) here is an update on the Top 5 Uncommitted names in the State of Illinois Class of 2019.

Crystal Lake South four star ranked offensive tackle Trevor Keegan (6-foot-3, 2310 pounds)- Keegan, the state's top ranked name in the Class of 2019 has narrowed down his extensive list of scholarship offers to a Top 3 schools (in no order Michigan, Georgia and Penn State) is set to make his announcement this Friday at 6PM at a press conference at his high school. Keegan has already made official visits to all three schools and has been very hush hush on which school has the inside lead for his services.

Momence three star ranked defensive end Jason Bargy (6-foot-5, 240 pounds)- Bargy was arrested for domestic battery on October 11th and his verbal commitment to Minnesota back in May has since been dropped by the Gophers. Bargy was arraigned on December 5th and according to Kankakee County Court records his case will be heard on January 9th, 2019.

Belleville West three star ranked defensive end Keith Randolph (6-foot-5, 250 pounds)- Randolph, who has been playing football for just the past two years was a standout on the basketball court for the 2017 state championship Maroons. Randolph made his first football official visit to Michigan State this past weekend. Randolph is also expected to make a second official visit this coming weekend to either Illinois or Iowa and it's still not clear if Randolph will sign on December 19th or wait and make more official visits then sign on February 6th, 2019.

Phillips three star ranked wide receiver Fabian McCray (6-foot-2, 180 pounds)- McCray, who committed to Illinois back in early July decided to reopen his recruiting process and decommitted from the Fighting Illini on November 4th. McCray, who took an official visit to Toledo this past weekend is looking hard at schools such as Toledo, Cincinnati, Iowa State and Cal and it's unclear for now on whether McCray will make any other official visits and/or sign a letter of intent on December 19th or wait until the traditional Signing Day on February 6th, 2019.

Perspectives three star ranked defensive tackle Dominic Moore (6-foot-7, 287 pounds)- Moore is literally the biggest uncommitted name left on the recruiting radar screen. Moore, who has drawn recent late interest from a handful of schools but for the most part has been focused on Wyoming, Illinois, Central Michigan and New Mexico. Moore has yet to set up any official visits but is planning to take official visits in January. Moore, who has NFL level size and potential could also draw more late recruiting attention after the early signing period is completed on December 19th.