Jeremy Cooper

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 14 Mount Carmel

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 14 Mount Carmel 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 Jul. 31, we'll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Mount Carmel

Head coach: Frank Lenti

Assistant coaches: Mike Minogue, Bill Nolan, Dave Lenti, Mark Antonietti, Jerry Blew, Rick Good, Tom Sulo, Mark Carmen

How they fared in 2016: 4-5 (0-4 Chicago Catholic League Blue Conference), failed to qualify for the 2016 IHSA state playoff field.

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 15 New Trier]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 vs. Taft *Soldier Field*

Sept. 1 @ Lane Tech

Sept. 9 @ Loyola Academy

Sept. 16 vs. DePaul Prep

Sept. 22 @ St. Rita

Sept. 29 vs. Brother Rice

Oct. 6 @ De La Salle *St. Rita*

Oct. 13 vs. Montini Catholic

Oct. 20 vs. Providence Catholic

Biggest storyline: Can the Caravan bounce back from a 4-5 season in 2016?

Names to watch this season: senior QB Alek Thomas (TCU), senior OL/DL Jeremy Cooper (Cincinnati)

Biggest holes to fill: Mount Carmel will need to reload on the offensive line with just one returning starter in senior Marcelo Mendiola. 

EDGY's early take: It's pretty rare to see Mount Carmel sitting at home come state playoff time, and its 4-5 record in 2016 was the first time since 1985 that the Caravan missed the IHSA playoffs. The 2017 Caravan? The defense welcomes back eight starters this fall and senior two-sport standout Thomas will takes the reins under center, running the Caravan's option attack. A key will be how quickly an inexperienced Mount Carmel offensive line can come together, yet this is also a very proud football program looking to put last season behind them in 2017.

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Ben Bryant (QB), Lyons Township

Lyons Township senior three-star quarterback Ben Bryant (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), who originally gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment only to have the Badgers rescind his verbal scholarship offer, has given Cincinnati his verbal commitment.

"It was a much harder decision this time around compared to the first time I committed," Bryant said. "When I committed the first time (to Wisconsin) I had two offers. This time around I had a lot of options and some great offers, but Cincinnati is the best place for me."

Bryant is thrilled to have ended his recruiting process again and can now focus on his upcoming senior season while also putting to rest the entire ordeal with Wisconsin.

"I've put the whole Wisconsin deal behind me and I stand my statement that I sent out on my Twitter account and that's all I have to say. I had some great offers and options and it was a great problem to have. I can just focus now on my team this summer and having a great senior season."

Bryant joins Simeon wide receiver Jayshon Jackson and Mount Carmel senior offensive linemen Jeremy Cooper as part of the Bearcats Class of 2018. 

Jeff Griffin (DL), Homewood-Flossmoor

Northern Illinois continues to do well with filling out its Class of 2018. The Huskies added another Chicagoland piece when Homewood-Flossmoor senior defensive linemen Jeff Griffin (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) became the team's ninth in-state commitment and 14th overall pledge.

"I visited NIU (last Saturday) and that visit really sold me on NIU," Griffin said. "I always wanted to stay closer to home for school and once NIU stepped up and offered me it was a hard offer to turn down. After the visit on Saturday I was sold on NIU so I called up the coaches and committed."

Griffin is also hoping to help NIU add a few more pieces from Homewood-Flossmoor's talented senior class.

"I'm definitely already talking to Justin (Hall) and Mario (Wright II) about joining me at NIU."

Seniors' athlete Justin Hall and linebacker Mario Wright II have both listed Northern Illinois as one of their favorite schools this summer. 

[RELATED: Recruiting News and Notes - Jyran Mitchell commits to NIU]

Indiana State recruiting

Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory has been on fire when it comes to the Sycamores recruiting this summer. Mallory, who was a long-time assistant coach at various stops in Illinois, now has an amazing 24 verbal commitments — including two recent additions in Bishop McNamara safety Giavion Mason (6-foot-0, 190 pounds) and Lindblom wide receiver CJ Rutherford (6-foot-0. 170 pounds).

So why the Sycamores?

Rutherford pointed towards the strength of the coaching staff as a big factor in his decision.

"I really love the coaching staff at Indiana State," Rutherford said. "Coach Mallory brought in a staff that has a lot of experience and several of his coaches worked with him when he was at Michigan. The coaches made us feel comfortable and at home at Indiana State and I'm just excited to be a part of helping the football program win."

Recruiting News

Who are the Top 5 uncommitted players remaining in the Class of 2018?

Carterville tight end Luke Ford (6-foot-7, 245 pounds) has offers from literally every Power 5 school in the nation. Ford originally committed to Arkansas.

Oswego DT Noah Shannon (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) was committed to Minnesota but reopened his recruiting process. Shannon has shown heavy interest in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana and Arkansas.

Bolingbrook DT Dashaun Mallory (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) added a camp offer from Michigan State, and has a Top 3 list of the Spartans, along with Iowa State and Toledo. 

Waubonsie Valley tight end Charles Robinson (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) listed Iowa State, Minnesota and Mississippi State as his Top 3 favorite schools.

Bolingbrook wide receiver I'Shawn Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) camped earlier this summer with Wisconsin and also made a recent visit to Syracuse.