Preps Talk

Recruiting Notes: Jeff Thomas breaks out in Under Armour All-America Game

Recruiting Notes: Jeff Thomas breaks out in Under Armour All-America Game

Jeff Thomas (WR), East St. Louis

East St. Louis senior four-star ranked wide receiver Jeff Thomas (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) had a breakout performance in last Saturday's Under Armour All-America game. Thomas, who caught three passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns, which included two jaw-dropping touchdown receptions (44 yards and 79 yards).

Thomas, who remains uncommitted, also has a chance in his list of favorite schools.

"Illinois is still my leader," Thomas told Rivals.com after the Under Armour All-America game. "I'm going to take an official visit there this month."

Thomas has set official visits so far to Louisville (Jan. 14) and Miami (Jan. 21), and is also considering visits to Illinois, Oregon and Tennessee.

Clay Czyzynski (QB), New Trier

New Trier senior quarterback Clay Czyzynski (5-foot-10, 205 pounds) received a late offer from Army earlier this week and gave them his verbal commitment.

"Army had remained in touch and interested for awhile," Czyzynski said. "They wanted to wait on my updated test score before they offered me. I received a message to call my recruiting coach at Army (Tucker Waugh) a few days ago. I called coach Waugh and Army offered me and I committed to them right away."

[MORE PREPS: Peoria lineman Kendrick Green commits to Lovie Smith and Illinois]

Micah Jones (WR), Warren Township

Warren Township four-star ranked junior wide receiver Micah Jones (6-foot-5, 200 pounds) has several early verbal scholarship offers. Expect Jones to advance his recruiting process this month.

"I'm planning to make some overnight unofficial visits this sometime this month," Jones said. "I'm looking to make visits to Notre Dame, Michigan State, Northwestern and Ole Miss. I still need to set things up but that's my plan for now. I'm looking at making a decision in late March or sometime in April."

Jones has been on several recruiting radar screens since his freshman year at Warren Township and currently has 14 scholarship offers, along with serious interest from most Power 5 programs.

Josh Maize (DE), Deerfield

Deerfield senior three-star ranked defensive end Josh Maize (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) was considered to be leaning toward UConn after making a Dec. 9 official visit, but the Huskies have since fired head coach Bob Diaco. UConn replaced Diaco with Randy Edsell, and Maize had a New Years Eve talk with the new coach of the Huskies.

"I was able to talk to Randy Edsall on New Years Eve," Maize said. "We had a good talk and I was able to get a feel for him and how he likes to coach. I feel really good about coach Edsall and feel good about our conversation.

"I have just one weekend open to make an official visit (Jan. 20) so I'm being very selective in setting up any official visit for that weekend. I'm going to take part in the Blue Gray All Star Game on Jan. 12 then I'll be at the Team USA game on Jan. 23. I'll make a decision after I take one last official visit."

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. 

9 Days to Kickoff: Brother Rice

9 Days to Kickoff: Brother Rice

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: Brother Rice

Head coach: Brian Badke

Assistant coaches: Dan O'Brien (OC/QB), Anthony Malopsy (DC/LB), Bob Wilcox (DL), Tim McAplin (DB) and Dan Nicholson (WR)

How they fared in 2018: 13-1 (4-0 CCL Blue Conference). Brother Rice made the Class 8A state playoff field and defeated Zion-Benton, Oak Park-River Forest, Warren Township and Marist. They advanced to the state title game and lost to Loyola Academy.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Hillcrest
Sept. 6 vs Perspectives
Sept. 13 vs Providence Catholic
Sept. 20 vs Marist
Sept. 27 @ Joliet Catholic Academy
Oct. 5 @ Loyola Academy
Oct. 11 vs St. Laurence
Oct. 18 @ Carmel
Oct. 25 @ Mount Carmel

[MORE: 10 Days to Kickoff: Mount Carmel] 

Biggest storyline: What will Brother Rice will do for an encore? Can the Crusaders, who sprinted past a rough 2017 season (2-7 record) to a 13-1 mark in 2018, reload on offense and make another run toward the 8A title game?

Names to watch this season: DT Justin Jefferson (Sr.), S Giacomo Iraci (Sr., Western Michigan)

Biggest holes to fill: The Crusaders will need to replace 10 graduated starters on the offensive side of the football. Senior RB Jahlil Pettis is the lone starter back on 'O this season.
  
EDGY's Early Take: Brother Rice had a terrific run in 2018-- one of the best seasons in school history. While the graduation losses are a big issue, the Crusaders also have plenty of talent waiting in the wings. The defense will feature six returning starters including DT Justin Jefferson and S Giacomo Iraci. Incoming transfer DT Denver Warren (West Aurora) has a chance to become another impact player. On offense, senior QB Colin Smyth and junior RB Willie Shaw will make waves. Shaw has already added FBS-level scholarship offers this summer and has a chance to have a big breakout season. Developing a young offensive line was a top priority this summer. They'll have an intriguing battle against a good Hillcrest program in the opener.