With my annual book finally published and having rescheduled my trips to New York for my nationally televised show on CBS College Sports, I finally have some time to attend some high school football games in the Chicago area and evaluate some players on tapes that have been mailed to me.
Three players to watch--running back LaSteven McKinney of Nazareth Academy, two-way lineman Laken Tomlinson of LaneTech and wide receiver Kyle Prater of Proviso West, all juniors.
McKinney, a 5-9, 160-pounder, is a high school version of Barry Sanders. He has strong legs and great vision and has explosive moves. He also is a cross between Michael Turner and Garrett Wolfe. He isn't too small. Many people had questions about Turner and Wolfe but they are playing in the NFL.
I saw McKinney's tape in last Saturday's 69-21 victory over Riverside-Brookfield in which he carried only 12 times but gained 196 yards and scored five touchdowns. He was very impressive. He will put on weight and strength and will keep getting better. Without a doubt, he should get a lot of interest from Big Ten and other Division I schools.
Tomlinson, a 6-5, 290-pounder, also is a Division I prospect. Lane Tech coach Rich Rio describes Tomlinson as the best prospect on his roster.
Prater, a 6-4, 180-pounder, has Division I skills. He is playing for coach Famous Hulbert, a former Illinois player who is doing a good job of building his high school alma mater into a very competitive program in the West Suburban Silver Conference.