Preps Talk

Spring recruiting will reveal more 2022 names to watch

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USA TODAY

Spring recruiting will reveal more 2022 names to watch

With the ink still drying on the recently signed Letters of Intent from the Class of 2020, it must be time to refocus on the Class of 2021, right? 

While we still have nearly 10 months before the Class of 2021 can sign an early Letter of Intent, many Power 5 football powers have already extended early scholarship offers to many of its 2021 targets. Next up? The Class of 2022 has already begun to see more recruiting attention and draw more and more early scholarship offers. Here are the Top 5 names from the Class of 2022 on multiple Power 5 recruiting radar screens this winter:

Nazareth Academy sophomore WR Tyler Morris (5-foot-11, 180 pounds)- Morris, who has been a varsity starter for the Road Runners and head coach Tim Racki since his freshman season, is already holding 13 FBS scholarship offers including early offers from the likes of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern plus Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin. Morris has also drawn recruiting attention from programs across the country. Expect more offers to flow again this spring once college coaches are allowed back into schools starting on April 15th. 

St. Rita wide receiver Kaleb Brown (5-foot-11, 185 pounds)- Brown, who was a huge part of the Mustangs 2019 Class 5A state title runner up offense is being recruited as a wide receiver. Brown is also holding multiple FBS level offers from the likes of Illinois, Iowa, Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Notre Dame. Much like Tyler Morris, look for Kaleb Brown to add more Power 5 offers from outside of the Midwest beginning this spring. 

Naperville Central wide receiver Reggie Fluerima (6-foot-2, 200 pounds)- Fleurima, who is the son of former Notre Dame DL  Reggie Fleurima Sr. in the early 1990's, is also holding double digit offers this winter from the likes of Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Purdue, Virginia Tech and Syracuse. Fluerima made a late January unofficial visit to Iowa and is certain to draw plenty of traffic in school this spring from schools from across the county. 

Evanston running back Sebastian Cheeks (6-foot-2, 205 pounds)- Cheeks is a versatile athlete who no question passes the all important eyeball test. Cheeks has early offers so far from Wisconsin, Syracuse, Iowa State and Central Michigan and is drawing recruiting attention from FBS level nationwide. Cheeks is also an athlete recruit who can play several different positions at the college level. 

DB Ahmad Robinson East St. Louis (6-foot-0, 177 pounds)- Robinson, who transferred into East St. Louis this semester after playing his 2019 sophomore season at Cardinal Ritter in St. Louis, has all the tools to develop into a high level name in the Class of 2022. Robinson, who has been impressive this winter at various showcase event, has already added an early offer from Indiana and is one of multiple Flyer underclassmen that will draw college coaches into school this spring by the busload. 

Other Class of 2022 names on the rise?

Loyola Academy TE James Kyle (6-foot-5, 220 pounds)

Marist OL Deuce McGuire (6-foot-5, 280 pounds)

St. Rita OL Valen Erickson (6-foot-6, 280 pounds)

Former coach at LaSalle-Peru, Joliet West takes head coaching job at UIC

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USA Today

Former coach at LaSalle-Peru, Joliet West takes head coaching job at UIC

UIC hired its next head coach this week as Luke Yaklich returns home to Illinois to take over the Flames.

There's a lot to like about the 43-year-old Yaklich when it comes to this hire for UIC. A native of Illinois who spent time here as a high school coach at LaSalle-Peru and Joliet West, Yaklich's basketball journey makes him the perfect candidate for UIC at this particular point in time.

Being familiar with the area as a former high school coach and assistant coach at Illinois State will certainly help with recruiting and other facets of the job. But it's Yaklich's ability to take UIC to the next level defensively that makes him the perfect hire.

Yaklich turned into a star assistant coach over the past four seasons. He was often utilized as a defensive coordinator at his various stops. Going from Illinois State, to Michigan, to Texas over the past four seasons, Yaklich was responsible for four consecutive top-25 defenses, according to KenPom.

Although Steve McClain won at least 16 games in each of the past four seasons, the Flames could never reach their ultimate goal of the NCAA tournament. UIC hasn't reached March Madness since 2004. The past four seasons, UIC's best defensive team was only No. 107 in the country. 

McClain's teams had plenty of scoring pop and talent. Getting crucial stops could be difficult for the Flames.

While it may take some time for UIC to jump into the nation's top 50 in defensive efficiency, Yaklich has a successful defensive track record at the mid- and high-major levels.

Illinois State's dominant defense in 2016-17 was No. 19 in the country as the Redbirds just missed the NCAA tournament. Yaklich was then hired away to Michigan. In Ann Arbor, Yaklich helped an offensive-minded program under John Beilein become elite defensively.

The Wolverines advanced to the national title game and Sweet 16 in Yaklich's two seasons. Michigan had the No. 3 defense and No. 2 defense, respectively. 

At Texas, the Longhorns maintained the No. 24 defense in the country this season despite a talent drain that saw freshman center Jaxson Hayes leave for the NBA Draft to be picked in the top ten by the New Orleans Pelicans. 

UIC will need to figure out some other areas if they are to make it back to the NCAA tournament. Yaklich will need to hire a staff familiar with the local recruiting landscape. A sound offensive mind or two wouldn't hurt either.

But the defensive pedigree and player development track record has been there for Yaklich at multiple stops over the past four seasons. Now with a chance to run his own program, Yaklich is an exciting hire for UIC during an offseason in which college basketball's coach carousel isn't seeing a lot of movement. 

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

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USA Today

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

Oak Park-River Forest junior three star-ranked ATH Jaden McGill (6-foot-0. 185 pounds) added an offer last week from one of his team schools when Michigan State extended him a scholarship offer. 

"The offer from them (Michigan State) means a lot," McGill said. "When I was younger they were a school that me and my friends would always dream about playing for."

McGill was set to make a spring  visit to Michigan State before the Coronavirus pandemic struck and is hoping to make up that planned visit later this spring or early this summer. 

McGill is now holding scholarship offers from Michigan State, Kansas State, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Ball State, Buffalo, Toledo and Kent State.

Oswego junior three star-ranked offensive tackle Otto Hess (6-foot-7, 285 pounds) was able to add his latest offer earlier this week from Arizona. 

"The offer from Arizona is great," Hess said. "It was pretty much unexpected but great since I've always wanted to play and go to school out West."

Hess, who also added an offer from the University of Illinois on Tuesday night, discussed his thoughts from adding an offer from the Arizona Wildcats. 

"I know that Arizona has a great business school. Coach (Kevin) Sumlin has accomplished some great things in his career. I had some limited contact with Arizona but it hasn't been a crazy amount of attention that made me feel like an offer was coming right away."

Marist sophomore offensive tackle recruit Danny "Deuce" McGuire (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) was able to add an offer on Tuesday from Michigan State. 

"I was surprised to get an offer from Michigan State," McGuire said. "I have had a few Michigan State coaches following me on Twitter for a week or so but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary."

McGuire, who is now holding early scholarship offers from Michigan State along with Illinois and Western Michigan is well aware of the Spartans program. 

"Michigan State is one of the top programs in the Big 10 conference. They also send a lot of offensive linemen to the NFL and they have a lot of new coaches from Colorado."

McGuire is now waiting and hoping to make college visits later this spring or early this summer, depending upon when the Corona virus pandemic comes to an end. 

"I'm just hoping that this all gets resolved soon and we can get back to school and hopefully I'll get a chance to visit some colleges in person again soon."

Ottawa Marquette junior tight end recruit Victor Mullen (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) is a name on the rise this early spring. Mullen, who is holding early scholarship offers from Iowa State, Central Florida, Louisville, Appalachian State and Central Michigan has been trying to stay busy during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. 

"It's been boring so far,"Mullen said. "I have a workout program I got from my trainer and I'm working out along with just watching TV. We started online classes and it's been going well so far."

Mullen has also remained in contact with several college coaches during the NCAA mandated dead period.

"I've stayed in touch with all of the schools who have offered me like Iowa State, Louisville, Appalachian State, Central Michigan and Central Florida. I was planning to make spring visits to Miami of Ohio, Illinois, Toledo and Bowling Green but those have all been canceled. I'm hoping to get back to visit those schools later this spring but for now who knows. I've made visits already to Iowa State, Louisville, Appalachian State, Central Michigan plus Toledo and Iowa."