Preps Talk

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

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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.

Everyone.

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 EDGYTIM.com Player of the Year Tom Zbikowski (Buffalo Grove/Notre Dame/Baltimore Ravens) and pre-EDGYTIM.com 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.

Edgy's recruiting news and notes: LWE's Dzioban commits to Miami (OH)

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USA TODAY

Edgy's recruiting news and notes: LWE's Dzioban commits to Miami (OH)

Lincoln-Way East junior kicker Dominic Dzioban (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) added a recent scholarship offer from Miami of Ohio and has since given the Redhawks and head coach Chuck Martin his verbal commitment. 

"I just had a great visit on Saturday to Miami of Ohio and I was able to get every question I had about the school and the program answered on Saturday," Dzioban said. "When I was first offered by Miami (Ohio) I had no idea what they had to offer or what they are all about. Miami (Ohio) has a historic campus and they also offer an amazing education. It seems like every facility at Miami (Ohio) is brand new and Oxford is just a great small college town. Miami (Ohio) really offers everything I was looking for in a school and having a chance to go to Miami on a full scholarship is a huge opportunity I couldn't pass by at all."

Lake Forest sophomore linebacker Cal Uihlein (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) was able to add his first offer recently from the Wisconsin Badgers, and Uihlein also made a visit to the University of Wisconsin this past Saturday. 

"I had a great visit to Wisconsin on Saturday," Uihlein said. "It wasn't a usual recruiting type of visit, it was much more low key and I was able to just see everything behind the scenes including seeing the team scrimmage. I was able to get a good feel for the team and the coaches after the scrimmage. I was also able to talk with some of the coaches at Wisconsin including head coach Paul Chryst and linebacker coaches. Everyone at Wisconsin seems very excited about me and it was just good to get to know them a bit better. I was able to just basically see the stadium and I didn't get to see too much of the facilities or the campus. I'll definitely head back again to Wisconsin soon and see more of the school and the facilities and overall it was a great visit."

Warren Township junior three star ranked defensive tackle Willis Singleton Jr. (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) was able to add an offer from the University of Illinois last Saturday while on a visit to watch the Fighting Illini's spring game. 

"I was hoping that an offer (from Illinois) was coming but I still had no idea," Singleton Jr. said. "I know that Illinois is on the rise and have added some really strong players from my recruiting class. My Dad also went to Illinois and just telling him over the phone that Illinois had offered me was an amazing felling and experience."

Singleton Jr. also said that "Illinois is definitely on the top of the spectrum. My recruitment is open, but there are definitely one of the top schools because of how they went about things with me on the visit."

Bolingbrook sophomore safety Justin Walters (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) has also seen more and more schools take notice of him this spring. Walters is currently holding six FBS level offers and growing by the day. 

"I have six scholarship offers now," Walters said. "I have offers from Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Army, Iowa, Iowa State and now Minnesota. Minnesota is my latest offer and they offered me a few weeks ago."

Walters has also been hitting the road and visiting a few schools this spring and plans to see even more soon.

"I've made visits already to Iowa and Iowa St and Wisconsin. I also visited Northwestern awhile ago. I'm also planning to visit Michigan State sometime this spring."

Breaking: Northwestern adds another in-state pledge

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Breaking: Northwestern adds another in-state pledge

It didn't take Wheaton North junior outside linebacker Xander Mueller (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) long to give the Northwestern coaching staff his verbal commitment today. Mueller — whose older brother (junior linebacker Erik Mueller) is already on the Wildcats roster — attended the Wildcats final spring practice today. He picked up a scholarship offer and then gave head coach Pat Fitzgerald his verbal commitment on the spot. 

"I didn't expect it (adding a Northwestern offer) and I was very surprised," Mueller said. "Northwestern is the place for me because of the incredible academics, the location, having my brother already on the team and the amazing coaching staff and football program. I'm super happy."

Mueller is the second in-state name for the Wildcats and the seventh known verbal commitment for the Northwestern Class of 2020. Mueller joins Lake Zurich tight end Hunter Welcing (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) as the Wildcats in state commitments so far in the 2020 class. 

Mueller was also the Wildcats second overall verbal commitment today as Groveport (Ohio) Madison three star ranked offensive guard TeRah Edwards (6-foot-3, 295 pounds) also committed to the Wildcats after today's final spring practice.