Preps Talk

Recruiting Notes: Steven Frank adds offer from Boston College

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Recruiting Notes: Steven Frank adds offer from Boston College

Steven Frank (QB), Oswego

Frank (6-foot-4, 216 pounds) added his latest scholarship offer from Boston College. Frank, who stayed in touch with the Eagles coaching staff, recently pointed toward a strong throwing session in front of the Boston College coaches as a key in adding his offer.

"I just starting getting contact from them (Boston College) a few weeks ago," Frank said. "They said they wanted to see me throw. The coach from Boston College came out last week and really liked me. I threw pretty well and they offered."

Frank admitted that the offer from Boston College definitely caught his attention.

[MORE PREPS: More offers on the way for Jones?]

"It's a pretty big offer. Boston College has strong academics and they also play in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) which is a very good football conference."

Erik Swenson (OT), Downers Grove South

Still wondering if Swenson (6-foot-5, 300 pounds) remains committed to Michigan? Swenson, who committed to Michigan in 2013, is still very much on board with the Wolverines. A spring break visit to Alabama couldn't sway him to change his decision. 

"I did visit Alabama with my younger cousin on our way to Florida over spring break," Swenson said. "I mean I had a great visit at Alabama and everyone was great. The facilities are amazing at Alabama and they made us feel very welcomed. In the end, Alabama just is not the school for me. I just feel comfortable and at home at Michigan. It's really as simple as that."

Sean Williams (ILB), Morgan Park

Williams (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) is the latest name to emerge this spring. Williams, who has scholarship offers from Northern Illinois, Bowling Green and Toledo, has begun to draw recruiting looks and in-school visits from a handful of Big Ten schools.

"I have offers now from NIU, Bowling Green and Toledo offered me [Tuesday]," Williams said. "We also had coaches from Northwestern and Wisconsin here at school today. Indiana is also supposed to be at school soon."

Does Williams have a dream school?

[MORE PREPS: Tuf Borland headed to Ohio State]

"My dream school would be Nebraska. Nebraska ironically will be making an in-school visit sometime over the next few weeks. I've always been a fan of Nebraska and they just always have a swagger and it's just big time college football. I've never visited Nebraska but I want to get that done sometime this summer."

Nick Niemann (OLB), Sycamore

Niemann (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) added his latest offer from the Badgers. Niemann, who is the son of NIU defensive coordinator Jay Niemann, now has nine scholarship offers including NIU, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State and Wisconsin. Niemann, whose older brother Ben Niemann is a sophomore linebacker at Iowa, has plenty of offers with family connections but remains open on his favorites.

"I'm still open to options and no one is ruled out yet," Niemann said."I'm going to take my time and make my decision when I feel one hundred percent comfortable with my decision."

James Robinson (RB), Rockford Lutheran | Barrington Wade (LB/RB), Niles North

Speaking of Iowa, both Robinson (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) and Wade (6-foot-1, 207 pounds) have both named the Hawkeyes as early leaders. Robinson, who is 1,874 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown shy of setting IHSA records in both categories, was impressed with his Iowa spring game visit.

[MORE PREPS: Illinois lands Phillips LB Amani Jones]

"Iowa is my leader so far," Robinson added after his recent Iowa visit. "I still need to get out and see more schools but for now I really like Iowa."

Tyler Tsagalis (QB), Notre Dame

Tsagalis (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) added his first scholarship offer late last week from Western Illinois.

"I was asked to go in a few hours early to WIU before the spring game by the coaches at Western Illinois," Tsagalis said. "I had a chance to look around the campus and the facilities at WIU. I was also pulled into the coaches office and that's when WIU offered me."

Tsagalis is also drawing plenty of looks during the spring evaluation period.

"Syracuse is planning to be in school tomorrow. Bowling Green was also already here and I was at Bowling Green over my spring break for a practice." 

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

With the upcoming IHSA football playoff pairings announcement on Saturday night, here are some teams with modest win-loss records who opponents probably wouldn’t want to see in the early rounds of the postseason.

Loyola Academy (5-3): The Ramblers have struggled this season. But head coach John Holocek has, once again, led his team to the state playoff field. So what gives? Loyola has been inconsistent on offense and has turned the football over way too often. The team has also been dealing with various injuries. But the defense (minus a 35-3 loss to Brother Rice) has generally played well this season. If the Ramblers can clean up the turnovers and find a way to get their offense back in a rhythm, this team can undoubtedly surprise some teams along the way in Class 8A. 

Neuqua Valley (5-3): The Wildcats and head coach Bill Ellinghaus have dropped three tight games this season including a last possession, 21-14 decision to DuPage Valley Conference champion Naperville Central two weeks ago. If the Wildcats can continue to get steady production from a balanced offense, led by RB Will Cheviliar and QB John Gronowski, the defense is capable of keeping Neuqua Valley in every game this postseason.

Aurora Christian (5-3): Coach Dave Beebe’s Eagles have lost to three playoff-bound teams this season with a combined 21-3 record (IC Prep, St. Francis and Bishop McNamara). They have a potent spread-passing attack led by sophomore QB Ethan Hampton. Aurora Christian is also slated to wind up in the Class 1A bracket on pairings night. Their dynamic offense and passing game in general could be a tough matchup for opponents in, what usually is, Class 1A North bracket with teams that generally run the ball.

Barrington (5-3): The Broncos, under head coach Joe Sanchez, have also been dealing with a rash of mid-season injuries; that said, it looks like Barrington is getting healthy at the right time. Junior QB Tommy Fitzpatrick is back from injury and is a key catalyst for any Barrington postseason run. Fitzpatrick has weapons in junior WR EJ Darlington and senior RB Michael Curran. 

Lake Zurich (5-3): The Bears made a starting quarterback change last week as Jack Moses took the reins. He promptly led the Bears to a 42-0 win over Mundelein. If the Bears can limit turnovers and continue to get strong production from their offense, the L-Z defense is more than capable of making life very difficult for any higher seeds that they could draw in the 7A state playoff field. 

Edwardsville (5-3): The Tigers hit a rough patch starting the season with a 1-3 record. But they currently boast a four-game winnings streak heading into Friday night’s tilt at Collinsville. Edwardsville is led by senior QB Kendall Abdur Rahman (Notre Dame) and is a gamebreaker every time he touches the football. Sophomore RB Justin Johnson (and the team in general) possesses a ton of speed. There are athletes and playmakers on both sides of the football. 

Here are some more lower seeds who could wreak havoc:

Providence Catholic (5-3): If the Celtics can get their running game going, beware. 

Raby (5-3): The Raiders could be a handful in 4A.

St. Charles East (4-4): The Saints’ power-option game is always tough to defend. 

Joliet Catholic (4-4): IF the Hilltoppers can beat Notre Dame on Friday, they could be a very tough out in 5A.

Crystal Lake South (5-3): A huge offensive line leads the way for the Gators. 

Zion-Benton (4-4): The Zee-Bees can put as much talent on the field than most of their opponents. 

Lemont (4-4): Needs a win Friday over rival Oak Forest. If the offense can keep the chains moving, the Indians’ defense can do the rest. 

Crete-Monee (5-3): They are the Southland conference champs. Their first two losses in 2018? Lincoln-Way East (8-0) and Brother Rice (8-0).

Thornton (4-4): The Wildcats will need to upset Lincoln Way Central Friday. Thornton always has talent.

NBC Sports Chicago to air "IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show" on October 20

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago to air "IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show" on October 20

Bloomington, IL/Chicago, IL (October 17, 2018) -- The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football Playoff Pairing Show returns to NBC Sports Chicago for its eighth season in 2018. NBC Sports Chicago – THE Home of the #AuthenticFan – will air the show live on NBC Sports Chicago+ on Saturday, October 20 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM CT. Viewers are urged to visit NBC Sports Chicago’s “Channel Finder” page (NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder) for exact NBC Sports Chicago+ channel locations in their area.

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show, which will reveal the brackets and first round match-ups of all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes, can also be viewed via Live stream beginning at 8:00 PM on Saturday at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive, on Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago), and will also be accessible for viewing to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers via the brand new MyTeams by NBC Sports app (NOTE: MyTeams is available on iOS and Android devices, at no cost, to fans anywhere in the U.S. and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store).

"The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show' continues to be one of the most highly-anticipated events in the state of Illinois and we couldn't be prouder to once again showcase two-straight hours of live, interactive coverage across all platforms on Saturday night," said Kevin Cross, Vice President of Content for NBC Sports Chicago.  

NBC Sports Chicago anchor Leila Rahimi hosts the show and will be joined by a panel of experts on-set, including long-time IHSA TV announcer Dave Bernhard and Illinois high school football bracketologist Steve Soucie. IHSA TV veteran Camron Smith will breakdown each class with media members from around the state, including NBC Sports Chicago prep football expert “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the show and ask questions to be answered during the program by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #IHSAbrackets

The program will once again feature highlights, coaches interviews and media analysis from all over the state. In addition, NBC Sports Chicago will be gathering teams & fan reaction moments throughout the “Land of Lincoln” on Saturday from numerous school playoff pairing parties taking place that evening.

“This is one of the most anticipated nights of the year on the IHSA calendar,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Student-athletes, coaches and communities around the state have put their hearts into the last nine weeks, and for 256 teams, it’s an amazing chance to celebrate their accomplishments, while looking ahead to the path to the IHSA Football State Finals. We appreciate the time and effort that our partners at NBC Sports Chicago put into making this night so special.”

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show kicks off NBC Sports Chicago’s playoff coverage of IHSA Football, which culminates with all eight state title games being televised and streamed by NBC Sports Chicago on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23-24), live from Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign.