Preps

Michigan recruit J.J. McCarthy to transfer from Nazareth to Florida's IMG Academy

Michigan recruit J.J. McCarthy to transfer from Nazareth to Florida's IMG Academy

J.J. McCarthy, the state’s top-ranked high school quarterback and overall player according to Rivals, is transferring from Nazareth Academy to IMG Academy in Florida.

McCarthy made the announcement on his Twitter page Monday afternoon.

The news sent shock waves throughout the national prep football landscape. McCarthy, committed to play at Michigan, led the Roadrunners to an IHSA 7A second place finish back in November. As a sophomore in 2018, he threw for over 3,200 yards and 36 touchdowns. It culminated in a state title win and a 13-1 season.

The move makes sense for McCarthy, as he will team up with offensive lineman Greg Crippen, a fellow Michigan commit. According to Rivals, McCarthy (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) is ranked as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback and No. 33 overall recruit in the country.

The loss is a huge one for head coach Tim Racki and company at the La Grange Park school. That said, the Roadrunners are one of the dominant programs in IHSA football, compiling a 38-4 record the past three seasons with three state titles in the previous six campaigns.

The big questions: Will other high-caliber Illinois high school athletes follow McCarthy? When will the IHSA commit to a fall sports schedule? What will Illinois high school football look like in the fall? What guidelines will be in place? There are many uncertainties.

What is known: The IHSA chose to cancel the state basketball tournament and all 2020 spring sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois is currently in a phased reopening of businesses and other institutions. Florida is ahead of Illinois in respect to some of those aforementioned facilities.

The risk, or perhaps the unknown, was worth it for McCarthy and his family. Will Florida —or other states, including Illinois— even be cleared to play football come August? Will his move be a productive one in retrospect?

Time will tell.

Edgy Tim's top five Illinois high school quarterbacks for the Class of 2021

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's top five Illinois high school quarterbacks for the Class of 2021

The upcoming high school football season should have some quality talent under center. Here are my top five quarterbacks within Illinois for the Class of 2021. 

1. J.J. McCarthy - Nazareth Academy, 6-foot-2 195 pounds (Michigan): McCarthy has added more weight and muscle this offseason and is on track to become one of the best quarterbacks to ever hail from the Land of Lincoln.

2. Athan Kaliakmanis - Antioch, 6-foot-4, 195 pounds (Minnesota): Kaliakmanis saw his 2019 junior season cut short to injury. He is a terrific all-around athlete who is primed for a huge senior season.

3. Tyler Macon - East St. Louis, 6-foot-0, 185 pounds (Missouri): Macon was the state's MVP in 2019 as he lead the Flyers to a 14-0 record and a 6A state title. Missouri lands another top-notch name from the Metro East region. 

4. Justin Lynch - Mount Carmel, 6-foot-1, 205 pounds (Temple): It’s very likely that Lynch will remind you of his older brother/head coach Jordan Lynch: a tough, hard-nosed dual-threat quarterback. The sky is the limit for Justin.

5. Ethan Hampton - Aurora Christian, 6-foot-3 185 pounds (NIU): Hampton has been a highly productive player for the Eagles. He has an excellent arm, touch and accuracy while also serving as a threat running the football. 

On The Rise?

Michael Brescia - Hinsdale Central, 6-foot-3 195 pounds: Brescia has the size, look and overall physical tools to develop into a FBS-level signal caller. 

Tommy Rittenhouse - Wheaton St. Francis, 6-foot-0 180 pounds: Rittenhouse is an electric playmaker who was on a serious roll in 2019 before suffering an injury.

Anthony Sayles - Niles Notre Dame, 6-foot-3  200 pounds: Sayles is also a standout in basketball for the Dons. He could play a few different positions in college.

Ty Michael - O'Fallon, 6-foot-2, 175 pounds: Michael gets bigger, stronger and better every time I see him in person.

Reed Braundmeier - Breese Mater Dei, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds: Downstate signalcaller is a big, strong and accurate passer who crushes the all-important eyeball test.

EDGY Tim: Four top Illinois recruits announce where they'll play in 2021

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AP

EDGY Tim: Four top Illinois recruits announce where they'll play in 2021

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, college football recruiting has been on fire over the past few weeks.

So far this weekend, four ranked names in Chicagoland’s Class of 2021 gave verbal commitments. 

University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh added another local name to the Wolverines’ upcoming ‘21 recruiting class. Bolingbrook’s three-star ranked OLB, Tyler McLaurin (6-foot-3, 215 pounds), gave the Wolverines his verbal commitment on Saturday. McLaurin, who narrowed down his final list of schools to Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Nebraska, pointed to Michigan’s strong academics in his field of study (computer sciences), along with playing for a consistent Top 25 nationally-ranked football program. McLaurin is the 13th known verbal commitment for Michigan in the Class of 2021 and joins Nazareth Academy's four-star ranked QB, J.J. McCarthy, in heading to Ann Arbor from the State of Illinois. According to Rivals.com's Team Recruiting Rankings, Michigan currently has the sixth best recruiting class in the nation. 

On Saturday afternoon, Hillcrest's three-star ranked running back, Markiese Irving (5-foot-11, 175 pounds), gave Minnesota his verbal commitment. Irving, a multi-sport athlete for the Hawks, kept his recruiting process close to the vest but selected the Gophers after landing several offers from the likes of Illinois, Iowa and Michigan State. Irving is the 16th verbal commitment in the Gophers' Class of 2021, which is currently ranked by Rivals.com as the seventh best recruiting class in the nation. Irving is one of several Illinois natives already committed to head coach PJ Fleck. He joins Antioch QB Athan Kaliakmanis, his brother WR Dino Kaliakmanis, Providence Catholic TE Jameson Geers and Naperville Central's Sam Jackson as Gopher recruits from the Land of Lincoln.

On Sunday, Chicago Mount Carmel's three-star ranked safety, Ben Perry (6-foot-3, 190 pounds), gave Louisville his verbal commitment in a live announcement on Instagram. Perry, whose list of top schools included Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa State, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern, reportedly narrowed down his list to either Louisville or Minnesota. 

Also on Sunday, Brother Rice's three-star ranked running back, Willie Shaw III (5-foot-11, 186 pounds), gave the University of Toledo his verbal commitment. Shaw III’s decision came down to three schools: the Rockets, Illinois and Nebraska. Shaw cited a strong bond and connection with Toledo staff as the main factor in his selection.