May 2009 Archives

Fiedorowicz on the right track

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Every high school athlete who goes through the college recruiting process should be as smart as C.J. Fiedorowicz of Johnsburg.

The 6-7, 250-pound junior is the biggest, fastest, most athletic and best tight end in the country in the class of 2010.

He knows who he is, what skills he possesses and how he wants to use them. He is a tight end who wants to play in a passing offense where he can catch the ball, not just block for ball-carriers.

I wish all kids did as much research about colleges, to see where they fit in best. It shouldn't come down to a personality contest between assistant coaches. Most Chicago kids commit too early. A lot of them make mistakes. They don't check out all the schools to determine all the options they have.

Robinson is No. 1 QB in Illinois

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This is one of the best years for Downstate talent in a long, long time. No, there isn't anyone as good as East St. Louis' Terry Hawthorne, last year's headliner. But the class of 2010 has more depth and more good prospects outside the Chicago area than I can remember.

The leaders are quarterback Sean Robinson of Rochester and wide receivers Matt Milton of Mascoutah and Jimmie Hunt of Cahokia.

In fact, Robinson is the No. 1 quarterback in Illinois. The 6-4, 215-pounder is a great athlete, not one-dimensional. He has a great arm, can throw on the run or from the pocket or the spread. He is a legitimate big-time prospect even though he plays at a small school. His coach is Derek Leonard, son of Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin coach Ken Leonard.

Michigan, Ohio State lead Big 10 recruiting

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It is very early in the recruiting process, of course, but Michigan and Ohio State have taken an early lead in the annual sweepstakes. So what else is new?

Michigan has two five-star commitments--quarterback Devin Gardner of Inkster, Mich., and safety Marvin Robinson of Eagle River, Fla.

The Wolverines also are in on several big-time prospects, including defensive lineman William Gholston of Detroit, linebacker Jordan Hicks of Westchester, Ohio, and offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson of St. Paul, Minn., the nation's top-rated player. Gholston and Gardner are the top prospects in Michigan. Hicks may be leaning to Texas.

Remember Mike Alstott?

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Running backs are always underrated and run under the radar in the Chicago area. They usually have to prove themselves more than ball-carriers from other regions because the city and suburbs are known for producing linebackers and linemen, not running backs.

Despite the oversight, Chicago has produced a lot of outstanding running backs, including Michael Turner, Garrett Wolfe, Chris Brown, Mike Alstott, Howard Griffith, Walter Stanley, Dex Jones, Pierre Thomas, A.J. Johnson, Jamil Walker, Joe Montgomery and Cecil Martin.

Sure, the area also has produced some talented ball-carriers who were highly recruited, including Mike Burden, Rashard Mendenhall and Robert Hughes.

But Turner, Wolfe, Brown, Alstott, Griffith, Stanley, Thomas, Montgomery and Martin weren't listed on many college recruiting charts coming out of high school. But they got an opportunity, made the most of it, developed their skills and, in some cases, had outstanding careers in the NFL.

QB Derby in Illinois

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Keep an eye on the promising class of quarterbacks in Illinois for the 2009 season. There are at least seven who have big-time college potential and they will receive more attention after recruiters view their film and size them up during the May evaluation period.

Quarterbacks are overlooked a lot in the recruiting process. Remember, Wheaton North's Chuck Long wasn't offered until Iowa came along at the of his senior season. He became a star at Iowa, was a Heisman Trophy runnerup and played in the NFL.

It is a tough position to evaluate. College coaches look for height and arm strength. They overlook prospects who simply can play better than taller, stronger guys. Who would you rather have, Joe Montana or Jeff George? Coming out of high school, George was the better prospect at 6-5 with one of the strongest arms anyone had ever seen.

Irish eyes aren't smiling

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Notre Dame lost a prized recruit to Penn State and another to Stanford, is battling USC and Florida for the leading prospect in California, isn't sure if it will land the son of former Irish star and NFL legend Joe Montana and continues to wait for Chicago area stars C.J. Fiedorowicz of Johnsburg and Chance Carter of Loyola to make up their minds.

Penn State wooed 6-3, 190-pound wide receiver Adrian Coxson of Baltimore, Md., away from Notre Dame. Credit Penn State assistant Larry Johnson, the Big 10's best recruiter, for pulling it off. Johnson turned down $400,000 to be Illinois' defensive coordinator to stay as defensive line coach at Penn State.

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, recruiting the school's best class in 20 years, lured wide receiver Tai-ler Jones of Atlanta, Ga., away from Notre Dame and North Carolina. Last year, he caught 80 passes for 1,000 yards. Jones' father Andre played on a national championship team at Notre Dame and his mother attended the South Bend school.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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