November 2010 Archives

Wrapping up the 2010 season

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

In the wake of the eight state championship games conducted in the Illinois playoff last weekend at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, here is everything you need to know about the state of football in the Chicago area and beyond:

* It wasn't a great year for individual talent in Illinois--the class of 2012s shapes up as a better and deeper crop--but there were a lot of teams that performed well and a lot of small running backs who made reputations for themselves, including St. Rita's Jahwon Akui, Plainfield North's Kapri Bibbs, Carmel's Jordan Kos and Michael Panico, Schaumburg's Shepard Little, Lake Zurich's Jacob Brinlee and the smallest of all, Maine South's 5-4, 161-pound Paul Preston.

The 2010 High School All-America Team

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

This is my 2010 high school All-America football team, selected for CBS College Sports. Of the 26 players, 15 have made college commitments.

The Player of the Year will be running back Savon Huggins of Jersey City, N.J., or 6-6, 240-pound defensive end Jadeveon Clowney of Rock Hill, N.C. My choice as the nation's No. 1 player in the preseason, fullback/linebacker James Wilder of Tampa, Fla., was slowed by injuries throughout the season but still played well enough to earn a spot on the elite team. He is committed to Florida State.

The quarterbacks are Auburn-bound Kiehl Frazier of Springdale, Ark., and Florida-bound Jeff Driskel of Oviedo, Fla.

More trouble at Notre Dame

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has lost another blue-chip recruit, running back Justice Hayes of Grand Blanc, Mich., who is the fourth highly regarded prospect to de-commit from the Irish program.

Hayes, a 5-10, 187-pounder with 4.42 speed, is rated as the No. 60 player in the nation. He joins two other top 100 players, defensive end Aaron Lynch of Cape Coral Island, Fla., and offensive lineman Jordan Prestwood of Plant City, Fla., and defensive end Clay Burton of Venice, Fla., who also decided to de-commit from Notre Dame.

Lynch and Prestwood have since committed to Florida State. Burton opted to commit to Florida. Hayes didn't take very long to make a decision, choosing to commit to Michigan on Tuesday. Lynch was rated as the No. 61 player in the country, Prestwood No. 66.

Nation's top outside linebackers

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

The crop of outside linebackers for 2012 is very good, better than the crop of inside linebackers. There are several tall and rangy linebackers who can grow into defensive ends. Outside linebackers are becoming more popular with 3-4 and 3-5 defenses but, to be successful, you must be tall and rangy and quick-footed and agressive.

Six of the top 10 outside linebackers rank among the top 100 players in the nation, including Stephone Anthony, who is No. 4.

1. Stephone Anthony of Wadesboro, N.C., is a 6-3, 220-pounder who has the best nose for the ball of any linebacker in the nation. He had 18 career interceptions heading into this season. He is instinctive, athletic, a big playmaker, applies pressure on the quarterback, stuffs the run and is excellent in pursuit. Uncommitted, he is considering North Carolina, North Carolina State, USC, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Nebraska, UCLA, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

On the road again...and again

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

I just returned from my first trip to evaluate the class of 2012. Trust me, watching a football game on the sideline of Bryant/Denny Stadium at Alabama in front of a raucous crowd of 101,000 people is an exciting event that every football fan should experience.

I started in Memphis, meeting the top two players in the area and interviewing Federal Express CEO Fred Smith for my television show on CBS College Sports Network. Then I interviewed the top players in every region of Alabama except Mobile before ending up in Tuscaloosa for the Mississippi State/Alabama game. On the way home, I stopped to visit the top player in Indiana.

You can't believe how the University of Alabama has changed since 1971, when I first visited the campus to see a Southern Mississippi/Alabama game before 40,000 at Denny Stadium.

Nation's top defensive tackles

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

It is a below-average year for defensive tackles except for the top three, who are superior talents and figure to make an early impact on the college level.

1. Anthony Johnson of New Orleans, La., is a 6-3, 285-pounder who is ranked as the No. 18 player in the nation and is committed to LSU. He is referred to as "the Freak," a dominating difference-maker at his position. He was Louisiana's defensive player of the year as a junior after being credited with 14 sacks. He has all the tools to be a No. 1 draft choice in the NFL in four years.

2. Viliami Moala of Sacramento, Calif., is a 6-3, 336-pounder who is ranked as the No. 34 player in the nation. He is what the NFL looks for in a defensive tackle. He is big, super fast and quick for his massive size. He is best at stopping the run and taking on two or three blockers at once. He dominates everything up the middle. Uncommitted, he is considering Oregon, UCLA, USC, California, Arizona State, Washington, Arizona and Oregon State.

Looking for a college?

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

It is early November, most high school football players in Illinois have handed in their equipment while 64 teams in eight classes are preparing for the quarterfinals of the state playoff. So what is going on with the recruiting process?

Running back Malin Jones of Joliet Catholic became the first junior to make a commitment, choosing Northwestern. He is one of the headliners in a very promising class of 2012 that includes Glenbard West defensive end Tommy Schutt, quarterbacks Robert Gregory of Simeon and Ryan West of Oswego, Barrington tackle Dan Voltz and Montini wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp.

The junior class is better than the senior class, which is well below normal. For the last seven or eight years, the junior year has become the most important time for recruiting, the time to make college coaches aware of who you are, that you have Division I potential.

Nation's top defensive ends

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

This is an outstanding crop of defensive ends. Nine of the top 10 are rated among the top 100 prospects in the nation. And top-rated Jadeveon Clowney, who is ranked as the No. 2 player in the country, could move up to No. 1 because running back/linebacker James Wilder, my preseason choice as the best player in the nation, has been injured.

1. Jadeveon Clowney is a 6-6, 240-pounder from Rock Hill, S.C., who is the No. 1 or No. 2 player in the nation, depending on whom you believe at the moment. He is a high school version of Mario Williams, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft three years ago. Clowney is so gifted that he even played tailback recently. He had 26 sacks last season. He has long arms, exceptionally quick feet and great athleticism. South Carolina leads Alabama in his recruiting. He has the potential to be the best pass rusher in the last few years.

Illini Nation should be happy

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

Imagine, the roller-coaster, up-and-down, on-the-fence members of Illini Nation who were calling for the firings of football coach Ron Zook and athletic director Ron Guenther only a few months ago are now packing their bags for a bowl game and conceding that the Zookster has saved his job for at least another year.

In fact, Illini Nation has found an old target to spew their displeasure--basketball coach Bruce Weber. He recruited one of the nation's best young classes, including McDonald's All-American Jereme Richmond of Waukegan, but Illini performances in their first two exhibition games didn't meet with the critics' high expectations.

Zook deserved a lot of credit. Illini Nation should be happy, overjoyed, ecstatic. This is a rare occasion when a coach is on the hot seat before the season begins and turns his program around, especially when he is in his sixth year. He has had only one good season in five and was targeted as the college coach who was most likely to be fired this season. But look what Zook has done.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2010 is the previous archive.

December 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.