Football recruiting

IHSA moves football, boys soccer and girls volleyball to Spring 2021

IHSA moves football, boys soccer and girls volleyball to Spring 2021

February football will not just be limited to the Super Bowl. It’ll be coming to many Illinois high school football fields in 2021.

The IHSA Board announced Wednesday that the 2020-2021 sports calendar will be significantly altered, with football, boys soccer and girls volleyball moving to the Spring 2021 season, in conjunction with Governor J.B. Pritzker's guidelines on COVID-19 safety protocol.

Boys and girls golf, girls tennis, boys and girls cross country and girls swimming and diving will play this fall. The season gets underway Aug. 10.

The winter sports schedule, which begins Nov. 16 and runs to Feb. 13, includes boys and girls basketball, wrestling, boys swimming and diving, competitive cheerleading, competitive dance, boys and girls bowling and girls gymnastics. Contests can begin on Nov. 30.

In spring season, which begins Feb. 15, football, boys soccer, girls volleyball, girls badminton, boys gymnastics and boys and girls water polo. Contests begin Mar. 1

The summer sports season, which starts May 3 and goes to June 26, includes baseball, softball, boys and girls track and field, girls soccer, boys volleyball, boys and girls lacrosse and boys tennis. Contests begin May 17.

“I applaud our Board of Directors for choosing a model that allows every student-athlete the opportunity for a modified season,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid. Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first.”

Pritzker announced a series of restrictions on high school sports, travel clubs, park district leagues and other adult recreational sports programs earlier this afternoon.

The guidelines, which go into effect on Aug. 15, will place sports into three risk levels: low, medium and high based on the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during practices and game competition.

Lower-risk sports include badminton, baseball (if players can be at least six feet apart in dugouts or in bleachers; otherwise considered medium-risk), bass fishing (if room on boat permits social distancing), bowling, cross country (if teams are limited), golf, gymnastics, softball (same rules as baseball), swimming and diving (single lanes/single diving, no relays; otherwise it’s medium-risk), tennis and track and field (if delayed starts, every other lane and cleaning of equipment between usage otherwise medium-rosh).

Medium-risk sports include basketball, flag football/7-on-7 football, soccer, volleyball, water polo and wheelchair basketball.

High-risk sports include competitive cheerleading, competitive dance, football, hockey, lacrosse and wrestling.

In tandem with those guidelines, the measures also dictate four additional levels by which these sports can be played based on current public health statue, with level 1 allowing only no-contact outdoor practices and level 2 allowing intra-team scrimmages (but not competitive play). In level 3, intra-conference and intra-league play is allowed, with the possibility of state championship games for low-risk sports. Level 4 is with the least amount of restrictions, where inter-conference and interstate competition can occur, along with the other state championship games.

Lower risk sports are currently allowed to play in the first three levels, medium-risk sports are allowed to play in the first two levels and the high-risk sports are first-level only.

The 2019-20 IHSA calendar was thrust into uncertainty back on March 12 when the 1A and 2A boys basketball state finals were called off, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was soon followed by the cancellation of the 3A and 4A boys hoops and the rest of the IHSA spring sports calendar.

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

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USA Today

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

Ottawa Marquette three-star ranked tight end Vic Mullen (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) earlier this week gave Louisville his verbal commitment. Mullen, who chose Louisville over scholarship offers from the likes of Syracuse, Iowa State and Central Florida, told CardinalSports.com's Dave Lackford why he decided upon the Cardinals. 

"Every time I've been to Louisville it feels like a second home," Mullen said. "It just felt like Louisvville is the place I need to be. I like the coaches at Louisville and  they just treat you right and Louisville is just the best fit."

Mullen was also able to make three separate unofficial visits to Louisville over the past year, which Mullen admitted played a big role in his decision. Recruits have not been allowed to make any on-campus visits since the NCAA enacted the current Dead Period on March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Marengo (Ill.) junior defensive end recruit Jonah Pace (6-foot-5, 235 pounds) decided to give Central Michigan his verbal commitment last night. 

"I feel great about my decision to commit to Central Michigan," Pace said. "Central Michigan is just a very solid program and the coaches at CMU have built a great foundation. I just felt ready and I wanted to be a part of something great they are building there."

Pace, who also considered several offers from FCS level schools in the end pointed towards several key factors in favor of the CMU Chippewas.

"I looked hard at all of the schools who offered me," he said. "Illinois State, Fordham and North Dakota really caught my attention and they are great teams and schools. In the end the combination of playing at the FBS level along with everything that Central Michigan has to offer was too hard for me to pass up. My family is totally on board with my decision and they are really happy and excited for me."

Mount Carmel junior three-star ranked safety recruit Benjamin Perry (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) recently named his Top 7 favorite schools listing that includes Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa State. Louisville, Michigan State and Northwestern. On Wednesday night Perry announced via his Instagram account that he will make his college decision announcement on Sunday at 1 pm. While Perry has been quiet for the most part on any leanings, I'm looking at either Louisville, Minnesota or Michigan State as potential landing spots for Perry. 

Bolingbrook junior three-star ranked outside linebacker recruit Tyler McLaurin also named his Top 5 favorite schools list earlier this week and it includes Michigan, Iowa State, Michigan State, Texas Tech and Nebraska. McLaurin, who said earlier this month he was planning to announce his college choice on July 7, could end up pushing up that decision date due to a recent rush in verbal commitments. Several top ranked names have made recent verbal commitments nationally and in many cases recruits have pointed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty of how long it could continue. McLaurin has made unofficial visits to all four schools except Texas Tech. 

Top 5: Hottest Recruits in Illinois Class of 2021 this spring

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NBC Sports Chicago

Top 5: Hottest Recruits in Illinois Class of 2021 this spring

The Top 5 takes a look this week at who are the hottest recruits so far this spring in the State of Illinois Class of 2021.

East St. Louis four star-ranked wide receiver Dominic Lovett (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) - Lovett, who is now holding nearly 20 scholarship offers, has also become a highly sought after name from several Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools this spring. Lovett has now added SEC offers from the likes of Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi State and Missouri. It's pretty rare for any kid from the Land of Lincoln to be heavily recruited from the powerful SEC conference schools.

Willowbrook three star-ranked offensive tackle Enrique Cruz Jr. (6-foot-6, 260 pounds) - Cruz Jr. added his first FBS offer back in early April and since then has seen his recruiting stock soar. Cruz Jr. added three new offers over the past two days from Wake Forest, Temple and Kansas and also recently added offers from Indiana and Toledo. Several new schools are beginning to line up for Cruz Jr.'s attention this spring, including Michigan. Cruz Jr.'s appeal is his impressive junior season video along with possessing balance, quick feet, length and the potential to add additional weight and strength at the college level. 

Glenbrook North offensive guard Jackson Carsello (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) - Carsello has just steadily added new offers after new offers this spring and is approaching 25 scholarship offers so far this spring. Carsello has also seen his offers grow from adding FCS level scholarships to his latest offers from the likes of Illinois, Syracuse and Central Florida. Carsello has continued to make big strides in the weight room and at the training table, having gone from around 200 pounds a year ago to now checking in at nearly 270 pounds.

Prairie Ridge three star-ranked athlete Carter Evans (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) - Evans, who played fullback and defensive end last season for the Wolves, is holding an impressive 31 scholarship offers so far this spring. Evans has been drawing recruiting interest and offers at either defensive end or at tight end. Evans has also remained on the short list for several Big Ten schools this spring including Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Evans' size, athletic skills and football IQ have been a big draw for multiple college programs this spring. 

St. Viator three star-ranked defensive end Jeremiah Pittman (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) - Pittman is now approaching 20 scholarship offers this spring and his latest offer comes from the University of Illinois. Pittman is now holding Big Ten offers from Illinois, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Northwestern. Pittman has tentatively set up an official visit to Iowa on June 19 as long as the NCAA decides to allow on-campus activities during the coronavirus pandemic.