Preps Talk

Recruiting News and Notes: NIU nabs local product


Recruiting News and Notes: NIU nabs local product

Cole Tucker (WR), DeKalb

Northern Illinois University and head coach Rod Carey didn't need to go far to find its latest in-state commitment. Tucker (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) recently added a scholarship offer from the Huskies and a few days later gave the school his verbal commitment.

"I gave it a few days to think it over with my family and my coaches after NIU offered me," Tucker said. "I just have always loved NIU football and I was ready to commit so I committed. Everyone is very excited and happy for me."

Did Tucker consider moving away from DeKalb?

"I really tried to step away from the fact that I live in DeKalb and look at things if I wanted to get away from home for college," Tucker said. In the end it's just too good of an opportunity for me to pass up at NIU. I love NIU football and even after looking at some other schools I still saw myself playing for NIU."

Robert Topps (DB), Marist

Marist junior defensive back Robert Topps (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) is yet another name from the Home of the Redhawks to emerge this spring. Topps, who has three scholarship offers from Western Michigan, New Mexico and Wyoming, made a recent visit to Cincinnati.

"I went to visit Cincinnati on Saturday for a Junior Day and that visit went well," Topps said. "I was impressed with the facilities at Cincinnati and they also have an experienced coaching staff. I also like the fact that Cincinnati is more of an urban campus. Being from Chicago it felt good to have the campus in the middle of the city. The coaches want me to stay in touch and overall it was a good visit."

Topps has also drawn recruiting looks Illinois, Indiana and Purdue.

[HOT FIVE: Edgy Tim's Top in-state recruits from Class of 2017]

Eric Rooks (WR), De La Salle

De La Salle junior wide receiver Eric Rooks (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) added an offer during a visit to Eastern Michigan over the weekend.

"It's cool getting an offer from Eastern Michigan," Rooks said. "I visited them on Saturday and I liked the coaches at EMU and they are in the rebuilding stage of the program. I also liked EMU's emphasis on family."

Rooks is also starting to draw recruiting interest from a handful of schools as an H-back.

"Pitt and Arkansas are both talking to me now, and they both mentioned me playing H-back," Rooks said.

Deerfield products drawing interest

Deerfield has two DI recruits to watch early on this spring. Head coach Steve Winiecki's team next fall will feature junior defensive end Josh Maize (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), who has offers from Central Michigan, New Mexico and Wyoming. Now add wide receiver Charlie Jones (6-foot-0, 175 pounds) to the DI recruit list. Late last week Jones added his first offer from Wyoming.

"Wyoming offered me a scholarship late last week," Jones said. "The coaches at Wyoming had been staying in touch over the past few weeks and it's great that they offered me."

Jones has also drawn recruiting looks North Dakota State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Western Illinois.

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.