While I recover from jet lag, having just returned from my four-day trip to Hawaii, allow me to clear some things off my desk before I recount my experiences in the Aloha State.
Two players who had outstanding senior seasons but continue to slip under the radar of many Division I coaches are defensive end Nick Abbate of Glenbard North and tight end Cameron Brate of Naperville Central. Both compete in the tough DuPage Valley Conference so nobody can complain that they aren't battle hardened.
Abbate, a 6-2, 220-pounder, earned a spot on the Sun-Times' 25-man All-Chicago Area team. He spearheaded a defense that registered six shutouts and keyed Glenbard North's drive to the state semifinals.
Abbate plays defensive end on film but he also has enough quickness and football sense to be a linebacker in college. Because of his academic standing, he could be a candidate for the Ivy League. But schools such as Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Western Illinois should be looking at him.
He is playing defensive end so he is being overlooked at 6-2, 220. But he will grow to 240 pounds in college. He had great production as a senior with 75 tackles and nine sacks. He should be attracting more interest.
Brate, a 6-5, 230-pounder, looks great on film. He is a definite Division I player, in my opinion. As a senior, he had 45 receptions for 490 yards and nine touchdowns. He also is a good blocker. His speed is questionable, probably what scares away some recruiters, but he has great size and production. And he is an excellent student with a 3.9 grade-point average and a 30 ACT.
Brate has Mid-America Conference ability. Frankly, I don't understand why he has been overlooked.