Preps Talk

Thornton coach Bill Mosel stepping down after 29 years

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Thornton coach Bill Mosel stepping down after 29 years

Thornton Township head football coach Bill Mosel, who is also the school's athletic director, announced last week (with little fanfare) that he would be stepping down from his coaching position after 29 years leading the Wildcats.

I first ran into Bill Mosel in the stands while scouting a Lincoln-Way Knights game (only one school way back when; it’s now Lincoln-Way Central). I had no idea that I would end up covering him and befriending him over the past 20-plus years. Mosel was — and remains — a humble high school football coach who loves the game, who would go to games all over the state including his annual trip to the IHSA state football finals. Needles to say, we have a few things in common, most importantly high school football.

Mosel, an Eisenhower High School graduate, coached Thornton Township for 29 seasons. He posted a 195-105 overall record, leading the Wildcats to the 1990 Class 6A state football title. Mosel also sent hundreds of student athletes to play college football. Included in those numbers are about a dozen of former Wildcats who played in the NFL. Antwaan Randle El, Napoleon Harris and Tai Streets are just a few of the thousands of players who Mosel coached and guided during his career at the Harvey-based school. Ironically, the new head coach for the Wildcats will be Dontrell Jackson — a former Wildcat quarterback. The Wildcats program figures to remain in very good hands.

While the wins and the names are impressive to say the least, my favorite memories from the Bill Mosel Era have very little to do with being on the field.

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I'll always remember the first time he gave me a tour of the Lou Boudreau Room inside of the Wildcats field house. The Boudreau Room, named after one of Thornton Township's most famous alumus — the Hall of Fame baseball player and major league manager — is a well-kept history of everything Thornton sports dating back to early 1900s. Mosel took immediate pride in showing off the history, a pride that was always reflected in his team and his program year in and year out.

Another favorite time of mine was National Signing Day. It was always a special day for Mosel, his coaches and players’ families. Mosel would make sure to include every single player who was expected to play in college as a part of the day, no matter which level the kids would play in college. When it came to college football and recruiting, nobody worked harder for his kids and went above and beyond more than Mosel. He would get coaches from across the country each and every year into his school. Every college coach who made the visit to Thornton left with an abundance of information.

But the one lasting impression that will always stay with me? Watching him, a macho, tough-guy football coach, grabbing the hand of one captain on each side and then walking his team hand in hand onto the field. It was a sight that you just never, ever expected. It's also a sight that I know I'll miss starting in 2015.

Knowing Mosel as long as I have, I also have a feeling he's not done coaching football. Mosel has it in his veins. While this large chapter of his career is coming to an end, the overall story I feel is still not finished just yet.

Chicago native Will Bynum to return to the BIG3 league

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USA TODAY

Chicago native Will Bynum to return to the BIG3 league

Chicago native Will Bynum is making a return to the Big 3 basketball league. Last year the 6-foot guard served as a co-captain for the team "Bivouac," and instantly became a fan-favorite as one of the most exciting players in the three-on-three league, where he set the single-game scoring record.

His BIG3 squad—coached by 1978 Bulls No. 9 overall pick Reggie Theus—went 4-4 last season and missed a playoff spot due to point differential. Bynum, who averaged 15.9 points per 36 minutes over an 8-year NBA career, showcased perhaps the best handles of anyone in the BIG3 and certainly broke out the best "Shammgod," hesitation dribble in the league's brief history. During his time in the BIG3, Bynum has shown off the same type of flashy playmaking and scoring prowess that made him a local legend at Crane high school.

Bynum's Bivouac squad is comprised of himself, 13-year NBA veteran Josh Smith and 10-year NBA veteran Marreese Speights. Smith was on the team last season, while Speights will be making his BIG3 debut. The 2020 BIG3 season kicks off on June 2020 in Memphis, Tennessee and they make their first stop in Chicago at the United Center on August 15. 

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Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

Bolingbrook has been a must stop for years for college coaches and recruiters, and the Raiders and head coach John Ivlow continue to develop high level talent in high demand. 

Bolingbrook already has seen Class of 20121 safety Justin Walters commit to Notre Dame earlier this month, and the Raiders also have more names emerging this winter. 

Bolingbrook (Ill.) junior three-star ranked outside linebacker recruit Tyler McLaurin (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) has continued to add more scholarship offers despite being in the middle of a recruiting dead period. 

"I've been able to add some recent scholarship offers," McLaurin said. "My latest offers come from Boston College, Missouri, Texas Tech and Virginia."

McLaurin is also starting to look harder at his upcoming spring visit plans but is also hoping to delay his visits because of basketball.

"I know that I'm going to visit Iowa State and also Nebraska this spring. I also want to get out to visit more schools, but it all depends on my basketball schedule. We are having a great season so far (26-5) and we are aiming for a deep state playoff run. I'm sure I'll try to fit a few more visits later this spring but again it all depends on my schedule and the state playoffs."

Does McLaurin have a time frame just yet for making a college decision?

"I'm hoping to make some official visits towards the end of May or early June. Ideally I would be making a college decision by the end of July, but that's still a ways away. Hopefully the timing will all work out but I also don't want to rush anything just to make a decision near a set date."

Tyler McLaurin is currently holding 14 FBS level scholarship offers this winter. 

Bolingbrook junior DB Malik Rainey (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) was able to add his first ACC offer earlier this week when the University of Virginia extended him a scholarship offer.

"The offer from Virginia was sort of a surprise," Rainey said. "My head coach (John Ivlow) shared my video with one of the coaches at Virginia. I was then asked to call back the coaches at Virginia and that's when they offered me."

Rainey, who is playing 7on7 this winter and spring for Boom Midwest has also been drawing increased recruiting attention this winter.

"I have offers now from Virginia and Kent State. I've also been in contact with the coaches from Texas Tech, Kansas State, Nebraska, Miami of Ohio along with several other MAC schools."

Does Rainey have any upcoming spring visit plans?

"I have three visits I'm looking to make this spring. I want to get out to visit Kansas State, Virginia and also Kent State. When I visit a school I'm looking to just get to know the coaches better and I'm also looking for a school; where I feel comfortable and at home."

Chicago (Ill.) Simeon three-star ranked offensive tackle Cameron James (6-foot-8, 280 pounds) has continued to draw plenty of scholarship offers and recruiting attention this winter. James checks in and lays out his upcoming spring college visit plans and more here.
"My latest offer is from Michigan State," James said. "It's a big offer for sure. They are always strong upfront and they always have a great defense. I also like the Michigan State offense as well."
James also filled us in on his upcoming spring unofficial visit plans.

"I'm going to make some visits next month (March). I'm going to go back to Purdue for a spring practice. I'm also looking at visiting both Minnesota and Missouri in March. Those are the only visits I have planned for now."

James has 17 FBS level scholarship offers so far this winter. 

Oak Park (Ill.) Fenwick sophomore dual quarterback prospect Kaden Cobb (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) is getting ready for what he hopes is a big 2020 junior season. Cobb is also planning on having a very busy upcoming spring recruiting period and recaps his latest recruiting news and more here.

"I've been in touch with several college coaches this winter and a lot of them want me to come out and make a spring visit. I'm already set to go back to Iowa on March 1st. l'm also set to visit Indiana on March 7th and then visit Michigan State on March 8th. I'm also going to visit Michigan sometime in either late March or early April. Missouri has also been in touch and I'm hoping to visit them sometime this spring."

Cobb is excited about the growing list of college coaches expected to visit his school this spring.

"It seems like a lot of the college coaches will be in school this spring and they all want to see me throw. I know that so far we are expecting coaches from Notre Dame, Michigan, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern."