Thirty-five seniors have made oral commitments, including most of the top-rated players in the Chicago area. That tells you all you need to know about why uncommitted seniors such as quarterbacks Mark Tolzien of Fremd and Peter Badovinac of Loyola haven't received a single scholarship offer from a major college program.
The problem is because so many city and suburban prospects commit early, most Division I coaches go elsewhere to recruit players. Fewer than half of the Division I schools in the country come to the Chicago area because of early commitments. They have so little time to cover regions, they go where the blue chippers are. Who's left in the Chicago area? Very few. But in the South, most of the top-rated players are uncommitted. They wait until December and January to make decisions.
So the two best senior quarterbacks in the Chicago area, Tolzien and Badovinac, have no offers. I saw them compete against each other on Saturday. This could be the first year in the 30 years I have been evaluating talent that the top true quarterbacks in the Chicago area won't get offers.
But both are Division I players, in my opinion. They are leaders. They just need a college that believes in them.
Tolzien, at 6-1, is not tall, which scares off some colleges. But he has a strong arm, good feet and has good football instincts.
Badovinac is 6-3, has great size and a great arm. It makes no sense to me why he doesn't have a big-time offer. He reminds me of Kurt Warner or Tony Romo, who had to attend small schools to prove how good they are.
Perhaps Tolzien and Badovinac will have to go to a small school or an Ivy League school or walk on to a major program in order to make an impact. They have the tools to do it.
Other seniors who deserve a look from Division I coaches are 6-3, 240-pound defensive lineman Addison Sadewater and 6-6 wide receiver Kevin Finney of Lake Forest, tailback Robert Earnest of Lemont, quarterback Jason Kafka of St. Rita and linebacker Gordon Kickels of Lemont.
One uncommitted senior who doesn't have to worry is 6-4, 225-pound Brett Nagel of Lemont, who is one of the top 10 players in the state. He has 30 offers and rates Stanford, Iowa, Boston College and Northwestern as his favorites. Although he plays quarterback, he is being recruited as a tight end and linebacker. He is a straight-A student.
Robeson's Brandon Green will be to Minnesota what Regus Benn is to Illinois. Minnesota has no speed on its team and Green will be the go-to receiver that Minnesota coach Tim Brewster has been looking for on offense, someone who can spread the defense.
Next year will be a great year for quarterbacks in the Chicago area. The list of prospects includes Maine South's Charlie Goro, Marian Central's Jon Budmayr, Glenbard North's Evan Watkins, Aurora Central Catholic's Mike Adams and Aurora Christian's Jordan Roberts.
Speaking of juniors, Morgan Park's Dominique Bell will be one of the most recruited running backs in the Midwest next year. The 6-1, 200-pounder has speed, power, vision, balance and burst. In fact, I was surprised how fast he is. He is very good in the open field.