I attended the Wheaton North/Morgan Park and New Trier/Maine South playoff games last weekend and came away very impressed with four juniors--Morgan Park defensive end Craig Drummond, Maine South quarterback Charlie Goro and running backs Mike Trumpy of Wheaton North and Dominique Bell of Morgan Park.
In fact, I believe Drummond or Goro will be the No. 1 player in the Chicago area next year.
Drummond, a 6-5, 240-pounder, comes off the ball with burst and strength. He is exceptionally quick for a big guy. He is relentless, has good body control and good lateral movement and pursues well. And he never takes a play off.
He could rank ahead of Goro because defensive ends are harder to find than quarterbacks. Big guys who are very athletic and productive, like Drummond, are hard to find. He has the look of Richard Dent, the former Bears All-NFL defensive end, with high cut legs and long arms. He looks like he will weigh 270-280 pounds in the next two years.
Goro, a 6-3, 182-pounder, has completed 75 percent of his passes this season. He surprised me with his arm strength. He is the total package. He has size, throws the deep out pass with authority, isn't afraid to throw over the middle and demonstrates great poise, confidence and leadership qualities. He could be the best quarterback to come out of the Chicago area in the last 10 years. He is more polished that Demetrius Jones (Morgan Park) and Juice Williams (Vocational).
He is a high school version of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. I was surprised at his running ability and ability to bide his time to find open receivers. He doesn't worry about pressure. As far as college is concerned, he needs to find an offense that will work around his talents, rather than fit into another system.
Trumpy, the nephew of former Illinois and NFL player Bob Trumpy, was stopped cold by a Morgan Park defense that was geared to contain him. But I think he will be one of the most recruited running backs in the Midwest as a senior. Even in defeat, he looked like a big-time running back with good speed and burst. He is fast, tough and bigger than former Wheaton Warrenville South star Dan Dierking.
Bell, a 6-0, 200-pounder, showed more speed than I anticipated. Trumpy came into the game with all the publicity but Bell had a better game. Of course, he had a better supporting cast. Bell is strong, has good vision, balance and burst. He was able to turn the corner on Wheaton North's defense consistently.
Other Morgan Park players who impressed me were 6-4, 350-pound senior offensive tackle William Sargent, 6-4, 315-pound junior offensive tackle Terrance Allen and 6-1, 180-pound sophomore wide receiver Daron Brown.
Sargent was the best lineman on an offensive front with a lot of big guys on it. I think college recruiters should look at him. He needs more experience and he isn't a dominating player as he should be. But he has good feet and is athletic. He could develop into an outstanding lineman in college.
Allen doesn't look like he is in great physical condition yet. But he has quick feet and great size. He has trouble getting to the second level of blocking. With another year to play, he bears watching.
Brown will be one of the most recruited players in the Chicago area as a senior. He can be a big offensive weapon. He has good hands and is very electric in the open field. He has big-time speed.
Two other juniors who have great size and potential and could develop into big-time prospects in another year are 6-5, 280-pound tackle Jamie Tesnow of Wheaton North and 6-5, 315-pound tackle Mark Zielinski of New Trier.
Tesnow had trouble against Morgan Park because he was matched up against Craig Drummond, who also beat Wheaton North's other offensive tackle, Nick Adamle, who is committed to Northwestern.
Zielinski needs to work with a speed trainer to improve his quickness, something every big guy needs to do. But he is persistent, doesn't give up on blocks and played both ways against Maine South. He seems to be technically sound.
Finally, a note on Homewood-Flossmoor's Supo Sanni, who committed to Illinois on Sunday. He isn't a great wide receiver but he looked very good on defense when I saw him. He is a good catch for Illinois coach Ron Zook. He isn't real fast but he has a strong body, is very athletic and looks like a college player, physically and athletically. He has the potential to be a dominating player when he begins to concentrate on football.