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Second Season: September 2008 Archives

Juniors get better and better

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The junior class keeps getting better and better, though some critics seem to disagree with my evaluation that Aurora Christian quarterback Jordan Roberts has Division I skills and go so far as to argue that he is overrated and overhyped.

Let's be clear. Roberts has Division I skills. He has vision, arm strength and good production. The level of his competition raises some doubts. I don't think he can play in the Big Ten. He lacks great size and great arm strength. But he can play in the MAC, which is Division I.

Roberts isn't as good as Maine South's Charlie Goro, an outstanding all-around athlete who has big-time size and speed and leadership qualities. He is a precision passer. He has what all college coaches are looking for, an athletic quarterback who can run a spread offense.

A look at Illinois' top juniors

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Offensive tackle Christian Lombard of Fremd and wide receiver C.J. Fiedorowicz of Johnsburg are the top prospects in the junior class in Illinois and LaSteven McKinney of Nazareth is the leading running back.

Lombard,a 6-6, 278-pounder, is the No. 1 lineman in the Chicago area next to Notre Dame-bound senior Chris Watt of Glenbard West. He is a natural athlete, very consistent, quick off the ball, strong and technically sound. Iowa offered him after his freshman year.Notre Dame and Michigan also have offered.

Fiedorowicz, a 6-7, 238-pounder, has been offered by LSU, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, Duke and Notre Dame. He looks like a man among boys. He is a great target at wide receiver or tight end. He is very athletic. He looks like a college player already.

A look at national recruiting

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Expect the Big Ten to have a bad recruiting year overall because there is a lack of talent in the Midwest. You can count on Ohio State and Michigan to do well, as usual, and Illinois, Minnesota and Penn State are doing well. But the others must pick up the pace.

Michigan landed another blue-chipper in 6-5, 235-pound defensive end Craig Roh of Phoenix, Ariz. That gives coach Rich Rodriguez two of the best defensive ends in the country. Earlier, he landed Anthony LaLota, the top prospect in New Jersey.

De-commiting is becoming an all too frequent practice among college recruits and the latest is Pat Patterson of Macon, Miss., a wide receiver who ranks as the No. 16 player in the nation.

Junior crop gets better and better

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Illinois coach Ron Zook says it is difficult to recruit within the state, that it is easier to recruit in Florida or Washington D.C. or even Ohio, because alumni, high school coaches and parents expect the state school to offer scholarships to one and all.

But what about a kid named Meiko Locksley, a 6-2, 185-pound junior quarterback at Champaign Centennial?

Yes, the son of Mike Locksley, Illinois' offensive coordinator and Zook's chief recruiter.

And Mike's teammate, 6-3, 215-pound junior linebacker Rayvonte Rice, whom I project to be one of the most recruited players in the state next year.

Once again, top players are de-committing

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It is the beginning of another eventful recruiting season and already some of the leading prospects in the country are reneging from their early commitments and starting to look around for other schools.

It is hardly surprising. In fact, it is a trend. Last year, close to 200 players de-committed and opted for other schools. This year? The figure will be between 150 and 200.

Why? Kids commit without thinking about the process. They are very impulsive and often jump at the first offer that comes along. Then they are intrigued when other schools show them some attention. College coaches don't honor early commitments. They lack maturity and integrity. And many kids, thriving attention, like to open the door to one and all.

3 players to watch

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With my annual book finally published and having rescheduled my trips to New York for my nationally televised show on CBS College Sports, I finally have some time to attend some high school football games in the Chicago area and evaluate some players on tapes that have been mailed to me.

Three players to watch--running back LaSteven McKinney of Nazareth Academy, two-way lineman Laken Tomlinson of LaneTech and wide receiver Kyle Prater of Proviso West, all juniors.

St. Rita's Marty Hopkins is a big-timer

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The top three performers at Kirk Herbstreit's annual Varsity Football Series, which was conducted last weekend in Cincinnati, were linebacker Marty Hopkins of Chicago St. Rita, sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller of Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio, and wide receiver Duron Carter of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

They were the best of several standouts who demonstrated their skills as 12 teams from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee participated in the two-day event at Paul Brown Stadium. Three games were nationally televised on CBS College Sports, including St. Rita's 28-21 victory over Lakota West.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Second Season in September 2008.

Second Season: August 2008 is the previous archive.

Second Season: October 2008 is the next archive.

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