Offensive tackle Christian Lombard of Fremd and wide receiver C.J. Fiedorowicz of Johnsburg are the top prospects in the junior class in Illinois and LaSteven McKinney of Nazareth is the leading running back.
Lombard,a 6-6, 278-pounder, is the No. 1 lineman in the Chicago area next to Notre Dame-bound senior Chris Watt of Glenbard West. He is a natural athlete, very consistent, quick off the ball, strong and technically sound. Iowa offered him after his freshman year.Notre Dame and Michigan also have offered.
Fiedorowicz, a 6-7, 238-pounder, has been offered by LSU, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, Duke and Notre Dame. He looks like a man among boys. He is a great target at wide receiver or tight end. He is very athletic. He looks like a college player already.
McKinney is short and squat with a low center of gravity. But he has burst and can take punishment. He has a lot of Division I skills. In my opinion, he is a Big Ten running back, a cross between Garrett Wolfe and Michael Turner. Look for several major colleges to offer him soon.
Thornton's Darren Jones could be the next quarterback/athlete to make it in college. He has great running skills and is a strong thrower. Look for interest to increase now that Jones is getting exposure in coach Bill Mosel's new shotgun, no-huddle offense. Jones is a good fit for a spread offense that will utilize his talents as a quarterback.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Aurora Christian's Jordan Roberts is closing in on two all-time state passing records. Sure, the competition he faces isn't on par with the Catholic League or DuPage Valley. But I think he is a Division I prospect. He is a precision passer who is cool under pressure.
Another quarterback who is rising on the chart is Tom Gibson of Brother Rice. He can run and throw and has been very productive this season for an unbeaten team. College recruiters should take a look.
I'm still very on St. Rita linebacker Marty Hopkins. I saw him in Cincinnati and said he was one of the three best players among the 12 teams that participated in the Kirk Herbstreit Shootout. The 6-3, 235-pounder was the most dominating defensive player in the event. I am shocked to see that he has no Big Ten offers and only four MAC offers. But I believe he certainly can play in the Big Ten and I expect he will have several big-time offers before the season ends. When he does, a lot of people will wonder why they didn't go after him.
Hopkins' teammate, versatile Dave Marciano, also has proven that he is a Division I prospect despite his smallish stature. In fact, he is emerging as a Player of the Year candidate in the Chicago area. He plays hard on both sides of the ball. He could grow into a linebacker or safety in college. He definitely can play defense at the Division I level.