September 2007 Archives

Illini entertain two talented prospects

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Illinois rolled out the red carpet for two talented recruits last weekend--running back Lamaar Thomas of Fort Washington, Md., and 6-3, 280-pound defensive lineman Reggie Ellis of Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. Credit offensive coordinator Mike Locksley and freshman sensation Arrelious Benn for luring them to the campus.

Both are being heavily recruited. Ellis was a teammate of Benn's at Dunbar, which could be a very good sign for Illinois. One of the top 120 prospects in the nation, Ellis will play in the U.S. Army All-America Game in January in San Antonio. They aren't as good as Benn and Simeon's Martez Wilson, this year's prize recruits, but they boost the talent level of next year's class.

Big-time prospects at St. Viator, Palatine, Fremd

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Until last week, St. Viator's Eric Huber was a quarterback. After a shoulder separation, however, the 6-2, 200-pound senior was switched to wide receiver. Good decision. Because Huber, who has 4.4 speed, is a Division I prospect at that position.

In last Friday's 26-21 loss to Notre Dame, Huber caught six passes. Boston College, which just received a commitment from Huber's teammate, tackle Emmett Cleary, is recruiting him. And he has received interest from Northwestern and Indiana. He is athletic and can run. He likely will be recruited as an athlete/defensive back/wide receiver.

Promising prospects at Fremd, Barrington

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I attended the Barrington/Fremd game last week and observed several good prospects, including Fremd quarterback Mark Tolzien and three sophomores who showed Division I potential and will bear watching in the next two years.

What happened to Miles Stroter?

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Remember Miles Stroter, King High School's 6-4, 340-pound offensive lineman? He was ranked among the top 10 prospects in the Chicago area before his senior year and was offered a scholarship by Illinois faster than you can say "King Kong." But then he virtually disappeared. Whatever happened to him?

How good is Garrett Goebel?

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The business of evaluating and rating the talent and skills of high school football players is an inexact science. In most circles, you are a genius if you rank someone as the No. 1 prospect in the area, state or country and a bum if you don't. Which brings us to the subject of Garrett Goebel, Montini's 6-4, 270-pound lineman.

Goebel is my choice as the No. 4 player in the Chicago area this season--behind St. Rita's Darius Fleming, Mount Carmel's Steve Filer and Marian Central's Sean Cwynar. Goebel is committed to Ohio State while Fleming, Filer and Cwynar opted for Notre Dame.

How about that Mendenhall?

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I'm not going to say "I told you so" when it comes to the play of Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois' fast-emerging running back. But I wonder what all those skeptics and naysayers who predicted that he was vastly overrated--by me, that is--are saying today.

So let's re-examine how the former Niles West product was discovered and how then Illinois coach Ron Turner recruited him and why I believe, if he stays healthy, he will be a certain first-round selection in the NFL draft, maybe after this season.

A look at national recruiting

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I was shocked when Morgan Park's Demetrius Jones left Notre Dame. The way Notre Dame is playing, he could be back in the mix in a week or two. But, football-wise, he made a great decision. he will be the starting quarterback at Northern Illinois on the day he becomes eligible. If he had opted to go elsewhere, he would have had to battle for a job. Sure, he didn't look good in his opening game against Georgia Tech--but he has great talent. He could have been a major player at Notre Dame. He will be at NIU.

Will Tommie Thomas make the grade?

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Richards' Tommie Thomas is the best athlete I've seen in Chicago this year. After watching him pass for 134 yards and rush for 114 yards and score the winning touchdown in the last three seconds to beat Lemont 23-22 on Friday in Oak Lawn, there is no doubt in my mind that he ranks among the top 200 players in the nation. If only he can make the grade.

Illini make strides on the recruiting trail

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Illinois football coach Ron Zook, a bit silent since his Arrelious Benn/Martez Wilson recruiting class raised some thunder around the nation, is making some noise again. He just got an oral commitment from quarterback Jacob Charest of Matthews, N.C., and is one of three finalists for Lamaar Thomas of Fort Washington, Md., one of the top running backs in the nation.

Loyola has big-time prospects

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After observing Loyola's 35-14 victory over Brother Rice last Saturday in Wilmette, I concluded that Loyola coach John Holecek has several potential college scholarship athletes on his roster. And sophomore Chance Carter probably is the best of all.

Changing The Recruiting Process

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The biggest change in college football recruiting over the past 30 years is the timetable. The entire process has been pushed up a year. Nowadays, most junior recruiting is completed by June before a prospect's senior year. In the past, it was done in December and January after the season.

Why did all of this begin to happen?


No one knows for sure. But the fact is some college coaches--Penn State's Joe Paterno pulled the trigger--began to offer scholarships earlier than usual and others had to do the same to catch up or risk losing out on a top-rated player. There was pressure on all schools to be competitive off the field as well as on it.

Coaching rates 5 stars at Lincoln-Way East

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I saw Lincoln-Way East, one of the best teams in the Chicago area, play at St. Charles East last weekend and I came away very impressed with the coaching of Lincoln-Way East's Rob Zvonar and his staff. The Griffins are an exceptionally well-coached team without any superstars. They don't make mistakes. They always get good field position and put their opponent in bad field position.

Some Good News For Michigan

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Take heart, Michigan football fans, the news isn't all bad in the wake of last Saturday's stunning loss to Appalachian State. Coach Lloyd Carr and his staff continue to recruit one of the best freshman classes in the country.

Who will be Player of the Year?

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It's easy to pick the Player of the Year if the sport is basketball and the candidate is LeBron James or Kevin Garnett. But football always creates more of a hassle. And 2007 doesn't figure to be an exception.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2007 is the previous archive.

October 2007 is the next archive.

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