Recruiting News and Notes: Marist's TJ Ivy inching closer to college decision

Recruiting News and Notes: Marist's TJ Ivy inching closer to college decision

JJ McCarthy (QB), Nazareth Academy

Nazareth Academy quarterback JJ McCarthy added his first scholarship offer late last week from the Iowa State Cyclones after putting on an impressive showing at the North Central College satellite camp which had the entire Cyclones staff in attendance. While landing a scholarship after a college camp is common, it's not very common when an incoming high school freshman adds an offer.

McCarthy (5-foot-11, 150 pounds) whose 8th grade Hudl highlight video is approaching 3,400 views was, in all honesty, one of the top overall quarterbacks I observed at the NCC satellite camp. McCarthy has also been impressive on the 7-on-7 circuit this offseason for Midwest Boom. McCarthy, despite his abilities and potential, has yet to step on a high school football field. Drawing such an early offer from the Iowa State is proof positive that the recruiting process is drawing attention, and eventual offers at an alarmingly earlier and earlier rate.

TJ Ivy (TE), Marist

Marist three-star ranked senior tight end TJ Ivy (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) is down to his Top 4 schools and seems to be getting closer to making a college decision.

"I'm still down to my Top 4 schools (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and West Virginia," Ivy said. "I'm planning to get out to make some campus visits next month and then I'll make my college decision."

Ivy has made several visits to Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, but has yet to see West Virginia.

"I've never been to West Virginia," Ivy said. "I'm looking forward to visiting them in person next month. I just want to see how I fit in with West Virginia, see the campus and the surrounding area and just get a better feel for them."

[RELATED: Hoffman Estates linebacker pledges to Purdue]

Phil Saleh (OL), OPRF

Oak Park-River Forest senior offensive linemen Phil Saleh (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) is a two-sport athlete (football/basketball) whose football recruiting stock has climbed this summer.

"I have offers now from Ball State, Indiana State, Western Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Fordham," Selah said. "I went to the Northwestern camp and I'm not sure where else I will camp this summer. I'm juggling both my team football camp and basketball camp. NIU has been pushing me pretty hard to come and camp with them this summer so I might end up at NIU for a camp."

Noah Shannon (DT), Oswego

Oswego senior three-star ranked defensive tackle Noah Shannon (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) has been busy since decommitting from Minnesota last month. Shannon camped with the Gophers at the North Central College satellite camp last week which featured several Minnesota coaches, including head coach PJ Fleck. Shannon also has more camps and visits planned.

"I'm heading out to NIU on Wednesday for a camp that will have Penn State, Arkansas and other schools," Shannon said. "I'm pretty sure I'm done with camps after NIU. I also want to get out to visit Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas later this summer."

Jay Cutler experience should push Bears far away from just measurables when choosing next QB

Jay Cutler experience should push Bears far away from just measurables when choosing next QB

Teams routinely evaluate draft candidates starting with measurable traits. Then, once the 40-times, height/weight results and such are tabulated, intangibles like leadership and “football character” enter in as tipping points.

For what the Bears need and want to do this offseason at their  most important position, the Bears need to reverse the process. Do it backwards.

The Bears’ first turn on the draft clock does not come around for upwards of two months, maybe effectively before that if trading draft choices for a Jimmy Garoppolo happens in the meantime. But with the start of the league year and its trading window approach, the talk around Jay Cutler is popping up more and more, whether he’ll command anything in a trade or whether to just cut ties and move on.

But the Cutler experience should be and quite possibly is figuring into what the Bears will do if a quarterback is what they target and select, presumably in the first round. And based on Cutler as a case study, subtle and not-so-subtle indications are that GM Ryan Pace is looking beyond the usual “measurables” in evaluating quarterback prospects, as he absolutely should be.

In this one position, it becomes imperative that the Bears go off-script, outside the box, and look first, hardest and longest at something that won’t show up on any stopwatch or tape measure.

“You want to look for a player who has lifted his program for the most part,” Pace said during his time at this year’s Senior Bowl last month. “That's something that's there. Quarterbacks we've been around, I think Drew Brees, for example, when he was at Purdue, he lifted that program. That's one of the things we look for. That's definitely a factor added into about 30 other things you factor into that position.”

[SHOP BEARS: Get your Bears gear right here]

Why this resonance so loudly over the Bears is because for the last eight years they had a designer quarterback who unquestionably checked every measurable box: size (6-3, 225 pounds, mobility, footspeed, arm strength), yet failed to lift his team the way Pace was accustomed to from his time in New Orleans around Brees.

North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky is Cutler: 6-3, 209 pounds, big arm. Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer is Cutler: 6-4, 230 pounds, big arm, mobility.

Tellingly perhaps, Pace also cited another intangible in a way that suggests it will influence his and the Bears’ draft board: “It's your football intelligence, it's your accuracy, it's your ability to quickly process.”

But Trubisky was a starter just one year (2016). Kizer “led” the Irish to a 4-8 season and a 14-11 overall mark in his starts over two years.

Deshaun Watson, in the National Championship game the past two years, is similar in physical stature (6-3, 209) to Kizer and Trubisky, Garoppolo, too, for that matter. But “lifted his program” should be a monumental tipping point here.

And experience. Garoppolo had one spectacular year, his senior season, at Eastern Illinois. His first three years were nothing special, marked by heavy interception totals and barely 60 percent completions. Pace’s weighted criteria have experience high up.

“Yeah, [experience] carries a lot of weight,” Pace said. “I think there’s nothing that can really substitute [for] that. It’s already a big jump from college to the NFL as it is, so the more of that you have, the more beneficial it is.”

Measurables were why Russell Wilson (size) didn’t go until the third round, and why Tom Brady (foot speed) lasted until the sixth. For the Bears, the hard-to-gauge intangibles should be their first evaluation points, far ahead of the physical skills and talents that they have had here since 2009.

Could Bears overlook Josh McDaniels factor and repeat QB mistake with Jimmy Garoppolo?

Could Bears overlook Josh McDaniels factor and repeat QB mistake with Jimmy Garoppolo?

The Bears once thought they knew more than Josh McDaniels did, about Jay Cutler. If the Bears have targeted a No. 2 quarterback that McDaniels, Bill Belichick and the Patriots are willing to turn loose, do they AGAIN think they’re quarterback-smarter than McDaniels?

The Bears buzz around New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo started quite some time ago (when is there NOT some sort of buzz around the Bears and “quarterback?”) and is now going to increase in volume as the 2017 league year — and free agency and trading window — open in March.

Trading for the largely untested Patriots’ backup would constitute addressing the Bears’ quarterback concern. But “addressing” is not the same as “solving,” and the Bears have been undone once before with a short-sighted infatuation with a quarterback just because of apparent NFL “credentials.”

But there was a reason why Cutler was made available, just as there would be a reason or several why Garoppolo, whom the Patriots thought enough of to invest a second-round draft choice in a few seasons ago.

One common “reason” that Cutler and now Garoppolo presumably have been available is McDaniels, the incoming Denver Broncos coach who ousted Cutler and New England offensive coordinator tasked with mentoring Garoppolo and Tom Brady, the latter both before and after his stint in Denver.

Meaning: McDaniels may not be a fit as a head coach, but he does know something about what an elite quarterback should play and act like. He was quick to dump Cutler, and as the highest-ranking offensive coach under Belichick, McDaniels is intimately involved in any decision regarding Garoppolo.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

If the Bears are good with Garoppolo, then they are addressing their quarterback situation with a second-round draft choice, which Garoppolo was and has thrown exactly 94 NFL passes (albeit, without an interception). If that were the stated plan this upcoming draft, the reaction would be ... not good.

The instant love gush over Cutler after the 2009 trade was bizarre, if only because he had little record as a winner and a Pro Bowl as his credential. (Never mind that, to cite Georgetown legend John Thompson, “Pro Bowl” isn’t a distinction won; it’s given by vote.)

What makes the infatuation with Garoppolo particularly amusing, is that Garoppolo was a decent quarterback at Eastern Illinois — 61 percent completions, but with pedestrian rates of 63 percent and INT rate of 3 percent (118 TD’s, 51 INT’s). Against Ohio Valley Conference competition. Really?

Just for comparison purposes, of course: But Deshaun Watson completed 67 percent of his Clemson passes (every year, 67-plus percent), with an INT rate of 2.7 percent. Against ACC competition. And then there’s the National Championship thing...

Jimmy Garoppolo? It Could work. But brining in another quarterback that Josh McDaniels is OK with going forward without? Really?