I recently attended a Lemont football game to see my nephew, Jake Lemming, a 5-8, 130-pound sophomore cornerback. He had five tackles and broke up four passes against Thornton Fractional South. He's a good high school player. But enough about him.
The best prospect on the field was Ethan Pocic, Lemont's 6-6, 265-pound sophomore tackle whose older brother Graham is a starter at Illinois. In two years, he will be one of the heavily recruited players in Illinois. But enough about him.
The best player on the field was Clayton Fejedelem, a 6-1, 180-pound senior safety who hardly anyone knows about. He has 4.5 speed and Division I skills. He has the potential to play in the Big 10 but he definitely can play in the Mid-America Conference. He hits like a ton of bricks, has great cover skills, great football instincts, isn't afraid of contact and makes plays.
Fejedelem is one of the most underrated players in the state, a sleeper who isn't even mentioned on Rivals.com's list of the top 100 prospects in Illinois. He could play either safety position in college and also is a big-time threat as a punt and kickoff returner. He also is an academic qualifier.
According to Lemont coach Eric Michaelsen, Fejedelem is the strongest kid in the program in the weight room. He started as a junior but has put in a lot of time and effort to improve his skills. His brother plays at St. Xavier. Fejedelem said his dream school is Ohio State but he has no scholarship offers and the only interest is coming from Division II and NAIA schools, including St. Francis and St. Xavier.
"I think he can play in Division I," Michaelsen said. "He isn't a surprise to us."
After eight games for highly rated Lemont, Fejedelem has been credited with more than 52 tackles from his strong safety position. Against Tinley Park, he returned a punt 69 yards for the winning touchdown with 11 seconds to play. He has four interceptions. And he has returned seven punts for 260 yards and nine kickoffs for 233 yards. He has returned three punts and one kickoff for touchdowns. In Friday's 44-0 rout of Thornton Fractional North, he had an interception to set up one touchdown and scored on an 80-yard punt return.
Michaelsen has sent information and film to several Division I schools, including a tape of the 69-yard punt return.
Lemming also believes there is another underrated and unappreciated and unseen prospect on the Lemont roster, 6-2, 215-pound junior linebacker Brad Uher. Lemming also recommends the McAuliffe brothers, 6-1, 230-pound sophomore offensive lineman Tim and 6-2, 240-pound senior guard/center Denis, and wide receiver Lee Taylor.
"No one knows about these guys because no one went to Lemont this year to evaluate the talent," Lemming said. "Everybody is aware of the sophomore (Pocic) but the others, especially Fejedelem, should be getting looks from the colleges. I think they are making a mistake if they don't."