November 2008 Archives

Chance takes a chance

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Locally, most of the top senior prospects have made commitments. Here is everything you need to know about the class of 2010, which shapes up as one of the most talented in years:

* Loyola defensive end Chance Carter is giving up basketball to concentrate on football. He had a good year in football, not great. He should have been better. Now he realizes he isn't a big-time basketball player and plans to train full-time to prepare for his senior season in football. To live up to his enormous potential, he must dedicate himself to football.

Carter is one of the top five juniors in the Chicago area. But he needs to put on 20 pounds of muscle. He has good football instincts and he is very athletic. He just has to dedicate himself to football and the rest will take care of itself. Notre Dame offered early.

QB problems at Illinois, Notre Dame

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Everybody wants to know what is wrong with the programs at Illinois and Notre Dame. After demonstrating so much promise and potential in 2007, both schools have fallen on their faces this season. And it is easy to see why.

Both schools are hurting at quarterback. Illinois has talent--offensive linemen, running backs and receivers--but Juice Williams hasn't developed as he should have. He is inconsistent. He hasn't improved as a passer. He has the strongest arm in college football but he hasn't gotten better since his freshman year.

Notre Dame recruited a lot of talented high school players in the last few years but they haven't shown any progress in college. Quarterback Jimmy Clausen is a major talent but he hasn't developed as the No. 1 high school player in the country should have in his second year in college. He has gone downhill.

Watt is All-American

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Glenbard West offensive lineman Chris Watt, who is committed to Notre Dame, is one of only three Midwest products to be named to my 2008 CBS College Sports/Maxsports high school All-America football team, which will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Friday on CBS College Sports.

Watt, a 6-4, 285-pounder who was ranked No. 67 in the nation at the beginning of the season, joins tight end Rashede Hageman of Minneapolis, Minn., and Ohio State-bound defensive lineman John Simon of Youngstown, Ohio, as the only Midwest representatives on the 26-man squad.

It underscores the fact that the Midwest was barren of talent this season. But Watt certainly has made a positive statement.

What's wrong with Notre Dame?

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Notre Dame keeps recruiting what I and Rivals, Scout, ESPN and other analysts agree are some of the best players in the country. But they aren't winnning. Why?

Coach Charlie Weis' freshman and sophomore classes boast as much talent as any school in the country. The talent isn't overrated because every major recruiting service ranked them in the top 10.

Last year's class was ranked No. 1 by Rivals and No. 2 by me. Two years ago, Notre Dame was rated No. 7. This year's class should rank between 10 and 20. It is good but not as good as last year.

Political football

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It's all about the money.

That's the problem with recruiting Web sites on the Internet. But before we go for the jugular, let's clarify something about the Internet. It has changed the face of recruiting. It provides instant information to thousands of readers, mostly college football fans and alumni who want to know who's going where and who's recruiting whom.

It's a cottage industry that I've been a part of since the 1970s. But 30 years ago, I had to travel around the country to find prospects. Now I know who they are before I even pack my bags and leave on a trip. I still believe, however, that a video doesn't provide all the answers. I still have to meet the prospect while evaluating him.

Why Lemont is so good

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Lemont has emerged as one of the leading high school football programs in Illinois, thanks to coach Eric Michaelsen and the Lemont Hornets.

The Lemont Hornets is one of the most productive feeder systems in the Chicago area, one of the best youth programs I have seen. It was founded years ago by Ron Nagel Sr. and currently is being run by his son, Ron Jr. In the past, most graduates of the Hornets program went to Providence Catholic in New Lenox or Joliet Catholic.

But Ron Jr. sent his oldest son, Aaron, to Lemont. Then Brett went to Lemont. Both are now playing at Northwestern. Connor, a 6-0, 210-pound junior linebacker, might be the best prospect of all. He is better on defense than his brothers. He is smaller but more instinctive on defense.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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