Preps Talk

Why Prairie Ridge's Samson Evans is Edgy Tim's IHSA Football Player of the Year


Why Prairie Ridge's Samson Evans is Edgy Tim's IHSA Football Player of the Year

My 2016 State of Illinois Player of the Year?

Say hello to Prairie Ridge junior quarterback Samson Evans, one of the state's most dominant football players on the field and one of the most humble and down-to Earth kids off it.

How down to Earth?

"All of his success this season just doesn't faze him," said Prairie Ridge head coach Chris Schremp. "Samson still doesn't realize how good he is."

Evans, playing in a era of hype and flash, was simply all substance in 2016. While so many others talk, Evans just simply let's his play on the field speak for him.

Much like last year's 2015 Player of the Year, then-Glenbard West and now-Wisconsin running back Sam Brodner, everyone who saw Prairie Ridge knew Evans would carry the football.


Evans was a marked man on literally every snap he took in 2016, yet still found a way to average nearly a first down every time he touched the football. Evans took hit after hit and never backed down. You might stop him for a short gain, then a play or two later he would be running downfield untouched for one of his 43 touchdown runs.

Evans, who led the Wolves' power option running attack, ran for 2,211 yards and 43 touchdowns and averaged a sick 9.6 yards per carry. Evans also completed 29 of 52 passes (yes, Prairie Ridge can and will pass the football) for 815 yards and 13 touchdowns. Strong numbers? Certainly, yet as the case in many Player of the Year winners, stats alone don't tell the entire story.

Prairie Ridge scored an amazing 701 points in 2016, and at one point had 10 straight games of putting up a running clock (40-point lead) on its opponents. That same running clock streak also stretched into the postseason as the Wolves accomplished the feat in each of the first three rounds of the Class 6A state playoffs. Their blowout win in the 6A state title game came by a mere 31 points. Evans ran for 274 yards - a 6A state-title record - and four touchdowns.

Imagine Evans' overall stats in 2016 if he played in more than just four games where he was still playing on the field in the fourth quarter. Yes, Evans was able to play in just four full games all season long and was pulled in most games by the middle of the third quarter.

How can anyone be expected to pick this humble, hard working and somewhat quiet kid off the field as anyone's Player of the Year?

It's simple.

Samson Evans from start to finish was simply the best player in the State of Illinois in 2016.

Evans reminded me of a combination of former Player of the Year Tom Zbikowski (Buffalo Grove/Notre Dame/Baltimore Ravens) and standout QB Antwaan Randle El (Thornton Township/Indiana/Pittsburgh Steelers).

Evans showed the combination of speed/power/determination and work ethic of Zbikowski, mixed in along with the God-given athletic skills start/stop/burst/wiggle/first step and break away ability of an Randle El.

Yes, those are some big names and high praise. No, I'm not saying Evans is in that league. At least not just yet.

What I am saying is that Samson Evans in 2016 was simply in a class by himself.

64 Days to Kickoff: T.F. South

64 Days to Kickoff: T.F. South

Head coach: Bob Padjen

Assistant coaches: Trent Jensen, Jesse Kikkert, Jonathan Hill, Doug Smith, Mike Tisza, Rob Shell and Tim Russell

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (3-3 South Suburban Blue Conference), T.F. South made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Rebels lost to Danville in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Thornwood

Sept. 1 vs Julian

Sept. 7 vs Oak Forest

Sept. 14 @ TF North

Sept. 21 vs Bremen

Sept. 28 @ Reavis

Oct. 5 vs Hillcrest

Oct. 12 @ Lemont

Oct. 19 @ Tinley Park

[MORE: 86 Days to Kickoff - Reavis]

Biggest storyline: T.F. South has advanced to the playoffs 20 times in the past 24 seasons. Can the Rebels get back to the IHSA state playoff field and make more noise this fall?

Names to watch this season: QB Kamron Clayton LB Michael Smith

Biggest holes to fill: The Rebels will need to replace seven starters on each side of the football this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: T.F. South head coach Bob Padjen was able to keep the Rebels on a winning path in his first season as Rebels head coach after several years serving in an assistant role. South always has talent. If the underclassmen can step up this summer, look for the Rebels to challenge for the top half of the South Suburban Blue conference race. 

Recruiting News and Notes: Wynston Russell verbally commits to Oregon State


Recruiting News and Notes: Wynston Russell verbally commits to Oregon State

Homewood-Flossmoor’s senior three star-ranked defensive back Wynston Russell (5-foot-10, 160 pounds) announced his verbal commitment to Oregon State via his Twitter account.

"I really like the coaches at Oregon State a lot and they played a big role in my decision," Russell said. "Coach Tibs (Tim Tibesar) and head coach (Jonathon) Smith along with the rest of the coaches at Oregon State are a newer staff and they are going to win a lot of games at Oregon State. On my official visit I was able to learn more about the great academic support system in place. The academic support that is offered at Oregon State is great and they also work hard on career planning and placement."

"Everyone on the official visit really bonded last weekend, and the guys already on the team also made us feel like part of the team already. The guys on the team are great guy. I also really liked the campus life at Oregon State. You have plenty of things to do but you can also focus on academics and you don't have a ton of distractions. I just felt very comfortable at Oregon State and that was another big part of my decision. I just felt like I fit in there."

Russell was holding multiple scholarship offers and also considered Wisconsin, Western Michigan and Toledo before giving the Beavers his commitment. 

Chicago Mount Carmel senior offensive guard recruit Marcelo Mendiola (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) impress the University of Cincinnati coaches at a recently-held North Central College satellite camp. A few weeks later Mendiola added a Bearcat offer, visited the campus and then gave Cincinnati his verbal commitment.

"It's (Cincinnati) just a great fit for myself and my family," Mendiola said. "We talked it over and I just have a lot in common with the coaches and the philosophy in the football program at Cincinnati. I looked hard at things like the overall depth chart and I'll have a chance to come in and earn early playing time."

Joliet Catholic senior offensive tackle Dave Monnot III (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) decided to give Purdue his verbal commitment after adding a camp offer from the Boilermakers. Monnot III camped at Purdue last Monday, added a Boilermakers offer last Thursday and immediately gave the Purdue staff his verbal commitment.

"One of the big things that sold me on (Purdue) was the coaching staff," Monnot III said. "I love the way Coach (Dale) Williams coaches. He's an Ohio guy and he's going to hold me accountable if I mess up, and that's something I look for in a coach. The final factor was the players (at Purdue). I didn't get a chance to talk to any of the players while I was there, but at my gym here at home, Rudy's, Evan Panfil used to go there, so I had his number. I gave him a call and asked him about his experience there and he sold me."

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin senior three star-ranked offensive tackle Nick Broeker (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) decided earlier this week to give Ole Miss his verbal commitment. Broeker, who was holding 18 scholarship offers this summer pointed towards his connection to Ole Miss as one of his reasons on giving the Rebels his commitment.

"Ole Miss just has so much to offer," according to Broeker. "It's a great fit for me in so many ways. They play in the best conference in the nation in the SEC West. My goal has always been to play at the highest possible level in college and you can't find a higher level of college football than the SEC. Ole Miss offers a good education plus I just feel at home. Ole Miss offered and recruited me as an offensive tackle. I looked at several schools and in the end I found myself comparing everyone else to Ole Miss. My family is also really excited about Ole Miss and they also really loved it.