Preps Talk

Recruiting News and Notes: Ricky Smalling set to visit Illinois

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Recruiting News and Notes: Ricky Smalling set to visit Illinois

Amir Watts (DT), Phillips

The senior three-star defensive tackle has set up his first official visit to Syracuse.

"I want to see how the people are down there," Watts said. "I know it is a good program football-wise and academically."

Watts (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) previously named a list of his Top 6 schools which include Syracuse, Kansas, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Tennessee. Watts is expected to take at least a handful of his allowed five official visits when his high school football season concludes.

Ricky Smalling (WR), Brother Rice

The junior three-star wide receiver already has a Wisconsin offer and made a recent unofficial visit to Madison.

"That was my first college game in person," Smalling said. "It was great. The student section was great and the atmosphere was amazing."

Smalling (6-foot-1, 190 pounds), who also holds offers from Illinois and Virginia, is planning a visit to Champaign on Oct. 24 when the Fighting Illini host Wisconsin.

[MORE PREPS: CSN Preps Power Rankings - Week 8]

Jeremy Fejedelem (S), Lemont

Fejedelem gave Air Force his verbal commitment.

I had a great visit and just loved the academy," Fejedelem said. "The overall benefits of going to the Air Force Academy after graduation is just too hard to pass up. Air Force offers a great education and just a ton of post graduation benefits. I also really liked the campus and the facilities at Air Force."

Fejedelem (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) is the younger brother of current Illinois senior safety Clayton Fejedelem.

Matt Norton (TE), Stevenson

Norton (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) was starting to see more and more DI schools taking notice of him this fall, but on Tuesday evening he decided to end his recruiting process and give Penn his verbal commitment.

"I just loved it at Penn on my visit," Norton said. "It's more of an urban campus in Philadelphia and it's exactly what I was looking for in a school. I was able to get to know the coaches and the players and everyone was great. I'm planning to to major in business and Penn offers a world class education and an amazing business program."

7 Days to Kickoff: Homewood-Flossmoor

7 Days to Kickoff: Homewood-Flossmoor

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Homewood-Flossmoor

Head coach: Craig Buzea

Assistant coaches: Tom Cicero, Zac Wells, Alexander Pratt, Terrance Terry, Josh Ling, Matt Ramos, Josh Forney, David James, Eric Schreiber Sr., Eric Schreiber Jr. and Bart Czachor

How they fared in 2018: 10-2 (6-1 Southwest Suburban Conference). H-F made the Class 8A state playoff field and defeated Fremd and Barrington. They advanced to the quarterfinal round where they lost to Marist.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs T.F. North

Sept. 6 @ Penn (IN)

Sept. 13 vs Andrew

Sept. 20 @ Lockport

Sept. 27 @ Lincoln-Way East

Oct. 4 vs Sandburg

Oct. 11 @ Lincoln-Way West

Oct. 18 vs Bolingbrook

Oct. 25 vs Lincoln-Way Central

Biggest storyline: The Vikings, who have won a minimum of 10 games in four of the past five seasons, are looking to make another deep run in Class 8A playoffs this fall.

Names to watch this season: OL Marcus Harper II (Sr., Oregon) OL/DL Michael Ford (Sr.) 

Biggest holes to fill: The Vikings welcome back 13 returning starters (seven offense, five defense). Program numbers and overall depth are seldom an issue at H-F, so addressing some of the open spots on the defensive shouldn’t be that big of a concern. 

EDGY's Early Take: H-F, under head coach Craig Buzea, has built the football program into one of the most consistent winners in Chicago’s south suburbs. Don't look for a downturn anytime soon. The Vikings will rely on senior three-year starting QB Dominick Jones. The offensive line has size and talent and includes Marcus Harper II (Oregon), senior OL/DL Michael Ford and senior OC Denzel Bryant. The defense has speed and the back seven on defense are a big strength. Everything is pointing upwards heading into the season for the Vikings. 

 

8 Days to Kickoff: Warren

8 Days to Kickoff: Warren

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Warren Township

Head coach: Bryan McNulty

Assistant coaches: Jim Voutiritsas, Justin VanSchaick, Brandon Schild, Josh Williams, Tayler Erbach, Kurt Weinberg and Chris Caballero

How they fared in 2018: 10-2 (7-0 North Suburban Conference). Warren made the Class 8A state playoff field and defeated Neuqua Valley and Hinsdale Central. They advanced to the quarterfinal round where they lost to Brother Rice.

2019 segular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Barrington

Sept. 6 vs Glenbard North

Sept. 13 @ Waukegan

Sept. 20 @ Libertyville

Sept. 27 vs Lake Forest

Oct. 5 vs Zion-Benton

Oct. 11 @ Lake Zurich

Oct. 18 @ Stevenson

Oct. 25 vs Mundelein

[MORE: 19 Days to Kickoff: Barrington

Biggest storyline: The Blue Devils featured one of the state’s best defenses in 2018. It resulted in their best season since 1991. Can they maintain some of that momentum and advance deeper in the Class 8A playoffs come November?

Names to watch this season: DT Willis Singleton Jr. (Sr., Iowa State) and LB Juan Delacruz (Sr.) 

Biggest holes to fill: The Blue Devils welcome back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). And while several of those 10 returnees are key playmakers, Coach McNulty and company will have to reload in the offensive skills department and in the defensive backfield.

EDGY's Early Take: Warren had a terrific season in 2018. Several big names are back for 2019. The Blue Devils defense was a strength last season—they shut out five opponents and kept three more to a touchdown or less. This year’s unit is led by senior DT Willis Singleton Jr. The offense will look to improve on last season’s numbers with junior QB Phil Hirt. He and senior ATH Christian Phillips will bring experience. If the Blue Devils can come close to the high-level of defense they played with last season –and if the offense can generate more points-- this team could be a big time factor in the Class 8A playoffs.