Football fans in Illinois and the Chicago area who have followed the high school game for years and annually are caught up in the college recruiting process ought to enjoy two books that became available this week.
They are "Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right: High School Football In Illinois," my fourth book and second for University of Illinois Press, and Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report, evaluations by the Chicago-based recruiting analyst of more than 1,200 prospects from 50 states in the class of 2011.
My book, the first historical study of high school football in Illinois, can be obtained online at University of Illinois Press, Borders, Barnes and Noble and Amazon or at your local bookstore.
Lemming's magazine, described by Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Sporting News as "the Bible of recruiting," can be obtained by writing to Tom Lemming, Prep Football Report, Box 59113, Schaumburg, Ill., 60159. This magazine and two others in January and March cost $60. The three magazines and five newsletters cost $90.
"Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right" is a "remarkable collection of significant memories of players, coaches, programs, teams, and special games presented in a most enjoyable manner. A must read for high school football enthusiasts," said former Richards coach Gary Korhonen, at one time the winningest coach in state history.
The 255-page book profiles some of the great players of yesteryear, including Johnny Lattner, Dick Butkus, Mike Alstott, Dave Butz and Kellen Winslow, and some of the most successful coaches, including Tony Lawless, Harvey Dickinson, Gordie Gillespie, Pat Cronin, Bob Shannon and Frank Lenti.
The book singles out some of the greatest teams of all time, including Mount Carmel 1950, Fenwick 1962, Metamora 1968, St. Rita 1971, Evanston 1971, Joliet Catholic 1975, Geneseo 1976, East St. Louis 1985 and Wheaton Warrenville South 1998.
It also details some of the championship programs, including such small schools as Aledo, Arcola, Carthage, Decatur St. Teresa, Galena and Stockton, such mid-sized schools as Driscoll, Du Quoin, Geneseo, Metamora, Morris, Belleville Althoff and Providence, and such large schools as Maine Soth, Prospect, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, Peoria Richwoods, Mount Carmel, St. Rita and Thornton.
Other stories cover the Chicago Public League, Chicago Catholic League, Prep Bowl, state playoff and such never-to-be-forgotten games as East St. Louis/Glenbrook North 1974, Glenbard West/St. Laurence 1976, Joliet Catholic/Wheaton Warrenville South 1992 and Mount Carmel/Maine South 1995.
Who are Dusty, Deek and Mr. Do-Right?
As a quarterback at Tuscola, Dusty Burk introduced the now popular spread offense to Illinois and still holds many state records for passing and total offense. Donald "Deek" Pollard coached Pittsfield to a state record 64 victories in a row, including 44 shutouts, in the 1960s. One team was unscored upon. And former Evanston coach Murney Lazier, who lost only 17 games in 18 years, was known as "Mr. Do-Right" by his black players who praised his fairness during the racially torn 1950s and 1960s.
Lemming's 282-page magazine contains biographies and pictures of every top player in the nation. He has been evaluating players and producing this magazine annually since 1979. But this is the first time he has visited every one of the 50 states. He traveled 60,000 miles from December to May and personally interviewed 2,000 players, including 500 in San Antonio in January.
Every year Lemming tries to go out of his way to photograph a unique front-page cover. In the past, he has been to Wrigley Field, the Rose Bowl, the Alamo and several college stadiums. The cover for the summer 2010 magazine features players from Georgia at Georgia Tech's stadium in Atlanta--in 15 degrees and five inches of snow in February.
The most interesting story in the class of 2011, according to Lemming? Ray Drew, a 6-5, 240-pound defensive end from Thomasville, Ga., who is ranked as the No. 14 player in the nation and is being recruited by Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Florida State, is a 17-year-old ordained minister with a flock of 200 people.
Lemming's weekly television show on CBS College Sports Network begins on Sept. 9. It will be the first of 20 weekly shows leading up to national signing day in February.