Brother Rice

Edgy Tim goes 1-on-1 with Brother Rice's Justin Jefferson

Edgy Tim goes 1-on-1 with Brother Rice's Justin Jefferson

Justin Jefferson is far from typical. 

The Brother Rice junior defensive end (6-foot-0, 232 pounds) might not possess prototypical Power 5 size or tools; however, when it comes to becoming a force on the field, Jefferson remains as impressive as anyone. He is one of the top defensive linemen in the Land of Lincoln for the Class of 2020. 

Jefferson is holding an early scholarship offer from both NIU and Toledo. He took part in the recently held fourth annual EDGYTIM Underclassmen Showcase powered by EFT Sports Performance. He was impressive in various drills on the field and took a few minutes afterward to recap his latest recruiting news and look ahead to the Crusaders' 2019 season. 

Edgy Tim's 20th annual IHSA football All-State team


Edgy Tim's 20th annual IHSA football All-State team

Below is the 20th annual All-State team. All players have been selected from Classes 8A thru Class 5A. 


QB JJ McCarthy, Nazareth Academy (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) - Only a sophomore, passed for 3,448 yards and 37 touchdowns in leading the Road Runners to the Class 7A state title. 

RB Jirehl Brock, Quincy (6-foot-0, 200 pounds) - Ran for 2,158 yards and 33 touchdowns in just 10 games in 2018. 

RB Keenan Hailey, Joliet Catholic (5-foot-9, 185 pounds) - Ran for 2,637 yards and 34 touchdowns in leading the Hilltoppers to the 5A state title. 

TE Jahleel Billingsley, Phillips (6-foot-5, 227 pounds) - Alabama commit. Just did it all (TE/DE/WR/QB) for the Wildcats in 2018 and is one of the state's best overall athletes. 

WR Jackson Ritter, Lincoln-Way East (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) - Was easily one of the biggest impact receivers from one of the state's most dominant teams in 2018. Averaged 19 yards per catch in 2018. 

WR Rashaan Palmer Jr., Simeon (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) - Was at times as dominant a receiver as anyone in the state of Illinois. Possesses a huge reach and length and exceptional overall physical tools and ball skills. 

OL Peter Skoronski, Maine South (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) - Only a junior, Skoronski, who already has multiple Power 5 scholarship offers was dominant on both sides of the football for the Hawks

OL Trevor Keegan, Crystal Lake South (6-foot-6, 290 pounds) - The state's top ranked recruit in the Class of 2019 will announce his college choice on Dec 11. Helped led the Gators to the state playoffs in 2018. 

OL Addison West, Cary-Grove (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) - Western Michigan commit. Class 6A state champion who played on both sides of the line and keyed one of the state's best running attacks in 2018. 

OL Evan Kirts, Brother Rice (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) - Illinois commit. Has physically grown and developed into a strong offensive tackle this past season for the Crusaders. 

OL JJ Guedet, Washington (6-foot-8, 265 pounds) - Minnesota commit. Was a dominant two way starter on both sides of the football for the Panthers in 2018. 

KR/PR Michael Love, Nazareth Academy (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) - One of the state's best and most versatile players who was a huge key in the Road Runners 2018 Class 7A state title season. 

ATH Alante Brown, Simeon (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) - Michigan State commit. Brown has played quarterback, receiver and defensive back for the Wolverines and is also one of the state's most dangerous athletes in 2018. 


DL Zack Pelland, Warren Township (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) - Colgate commit. Was a team leader and captain for one of Chicagoland's top defenses in 2018. 

DL Demond Taylor, East St Louis (6-foot-3, 275 pounds) - NIU commit. Taylor is one of three players (Taylor, Jeff Thomas and Jerrell McDaniels) who have been a four-year varsity starter for the Flyers and head coach Darren Sunkett. 

DL Deion Harry, Crete Monee (6-foot-6, 257 pounds) - Harry was a key leader and defensive end for the Class 6A state runner up Warriors in 2018.

DL Cam Mattox, Hillcrest (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) - NIU commit. Speedy off the edge pass rusher who also can drop back into coverage. Was a big key for the Hawks and head coach Mo Weaver in 2018. 

LB Maema Njongmeta, Stevenson (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) - Wisconsin commit. Njongmeta has all the tools to develop into a big time defender at Wisconsin. Has great speed and physical tools.

LB Jackson Bruscianelli, Montini Catholic (6-foot-0, 200 pounds) - A multi-year starter and tackling machine (148 total tackles in 2018) for the Class 5A state runner up Broncos. 

LB Michael Jansey Jr, Batavia (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) - Northwestern commit. Was simply one of the top overall defenders and athletes in the Dukane Conference and in Class 7A in 2018. 

DB Sebastian Castro, Oak Lawn Richards (6-foot-1, 198 pounds) - Iowa commit. Castro has been one of the best and most versatile athletes in the state of Illinois over the past few seasons. 

DB Tyler Nubin, St. Charles North (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) - Minnesota commit. Another versatile and high level athlete who played QB/WR/RB/S for the Class 7A state runner up North Stars in 2018. 

DB Jake Gonzales, Loyola Academy (6-foot-1, 193 pounds) - Penn commit. Gonzalez has been the quarterback of the Ramblers defense for the past few seasons. Was the leading tackler for the Class 8A state champion Ramblers this fall. 

DB Sam Tumilty, Willowbrook (5-foot-9, 175 pounds) - Just a junior, Tumilty was a key high level two way starter who just never left the field for the Warriors and head coach Nick Hildreth in 2018. 

K/P Jack Olsen, Wheaton Warrenville South (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) - A junior, Olsen set a new IHSA state record with hitting 8 field goals this season. Possesses one of the top legs in the Class of 2020. 

Power Rankings: #13 - Brother Rice

Power Rankings: #13 - Brother Rice preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.


School: Brother Rice

Head coach: Brian Badke

Assistant coaches: Mike Emanuelson Sr., Mike Emanuelson Jr., Dan Nicholson, Bill Hardy, Dan O’Brien, Anthony Malopsy, Joe Cano and Randy Johnson

How they fared in 2017: 2-7 (0-4 Chicago Catholic League Blue Conference). Brother Rice failed to qualify for the 2017 IHSA football playoff field. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs. Marist

Aug. 31 vs. Crete-Monee

Sept. 7 vs. Fenwick

Sept. 14 vs. Loyola Academy

Sept. 21 @ Providence Catholic

Sept. 28 vs. St. Rita

Oct. 5 @ Marmion Academy

Oct. 12 vs. Leo

Oct. 19 @ Montini Catholic

Biggest storyline: Can the Crusaders go from 2-7 in 2017 to a state playoff berth and CCL Blue conference title challenger in 2018?

Names to watch this season: TE David O'Keeffe (Harvard) and OT Evan Kirts

Biggest holes to fill: The Crusaders went young last season and will bring back 15 returning starters (nine offense, six defense). They only have a few holes to fill (DL and DB) before the season kicks off. 

EDGY's Early Take: Badke’s Crusaders took their collective lumps in 2017. But this year’s team has talent and depth back. The Rice offense features plenty of capable playmakers including senior QB John Bean, senior RB Jessi Plunkett, senior RB Jack Rice and senior TE/H-back David O'Keeffe. They also bring back three starting offensive linemen, led by D-1 recruit senior OT Evan Kirts (6-foot-5, 265 pounds). The defense also has experience. Keep an eye on senior DB Jayshon Means and senior LB Joe Fitzgerald. The schedule remains daunting for Brother Rice but this team has the makings to make some noise into the fall.