St. Francis' Bosch commits to Michigan

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St. Francis' Bosch commits to Michigan

Kyle Bosch, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound offensive lineman from Wheaton St. Francis, has become the first member of what is being characterized as one of the most talented classes in the history of high school football in Illinois to make an oral commitment.

During a campus visit on Saturday, Bosch announced he will attend Michigan. He had 23 scholarship offers, including Alabama, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Stanford, Nebraska, Michigan State, Iowa, Missouri, Miami, Illinois and Northwestern. In the end, he said, he chose Michigan over Michigan State and Stanford.

"It felt so right," Bosch said. "I visited several schools and I was all over the place. The recruiting began to be a little overwhelming. It was time to make a decision. I had to put my foot down. I finally decided that I wanted to be a Michigan Man.

"The coaches, staff, academics, football, tradition, everything they have to offer. I didn't get that gut feeling anywhere else in the country. In the end, it came down to academics. It just felt so right. I'm so excited to be a Michigan Wolverine. I couldn't see myself going anywhere else."

"Michigan did the best job of recruiting him," said recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network. "He is a legitimate four-star plus player. He is consistent, athletic, versatile, technically sound and has great feet. He impressed everyone when he went their college camps."

Bosch was recruited by Michigan receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski, a former quarterback at Palatine who was USA Today's Player of the Year in 1992, and offensive line coach Darrell Funk, who made 17 visits to Wheaton St. Francis over the past year.

"They have recruited Bosch for a year," Lemming said. "Why did he decide to commit so early? He got overwhelmed. There was a lot of pressure on him. He committed to a school while attending an event. But I don't think anyone would say that he made a bad decision. He is a Big 10 player."

Bosch is the first member of the class of 2013 in Illinois to made a commitment. Curiously, he is one of three nationally ranked offensive linemen from the state to be offered by Michigan. The others are Lemont's Ethan Pocic and Peoria Manual's Logan Tuley-Tillman, who has made five visits to the Ann Arbor campus.

Lemming ranks Bosch as one of the top five prospects in the Chicago area. He is ranked No. 44 in the country by one recruiting service and No. 60 by another. One service compared him to former Michigan All-American tackle Jeff Backus. Bosch already has been invited to participate in the second annual Semper Fidelis all-star football game next January in Phoenix,
Arizona.

A year ago, Lemming called Bosch "the best sophomore lineman he had seen since Chance Carter," the former Loyola star who currently is at Northwestern. Lemming and long-time observers of high school football in Illinois said Bosch, as a freshman, was the best young prospect since Evanston's Howard Jones.

"He is the best young offensive lineman I've had in 30 years," said Wheaton St. Francis coach Greg Purnell. "He has the most big-time potential of anyone I've seen. He has an intensity level that I have never seen in a big guy. He plays with an edge. He can play on Sunday."

At the Junior Rank camp in Chicago in January, recruiting analyst Allen Trieu of Scout said Bosch stood out among all underclass linemen. "He is ahead of the curve and really impressive. He has excellent technique, is strong and plays mean and physical," Trieu said.

Recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt of Rivals said Bosch "stood out because he is well ahead of his years technically." He reportedly went undefeated in one-on-one pass blocking drills at the Junior Rank camp.

Hecklinski and Funk liked what they saw early on. Michigan extended an offer last October. Bosch visited the campus in September for the MichiganNotre Dame game and was very impressed with what he experienced.

"Ann Arbor is beautiful," he said at the time. "Their academics are among the best in the country."

Bosch isn't the only Illinois product that Michigan is recruiting. Pocic, Tuley-Tillman, running back Ty Isaac of Joliet Catholic and wide receiver LaQuon Treadwell of Crete-Monee also have been offered.

Isaac, Illinois' Player of the Year in 2011, has more than 20 offers, including Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Auburn, Tennessee, Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Iowa and Arkansas.

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

Bobby Howry wasn't aware of the fact he was part of one of the more infamous transactions in White Sox history until a few years after it happened. 

In 1997, with the White Sox only 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians, general manager Ron Schueler pulled the trigger on a massive trade that left many around Chicago — including some in the White Sox clubhouse — scratching their heads. Heading to the San Francisco Giants was the team's best starting pitcher (left-hander Wilson Alvarez), a reliable rotation piece (Doug Drabek) and a closer coming off a 1996 All-Star appearance (Roberto Hernandez). In return, the White Sox acquired six minor leaguers: right-handers Howry, Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, left-hander Ken Vining, shortstop Mike Caruso and outfielder Brian Manning. Only Foulke had major league experience, and it wasn't exactly good (an 8.26 ERA in 44 2/3 innings). 

Howry was largely oblivious to the shocking nature of the trade that brought him from the Giants to White Sox until, before the 1999 season, he was featured in a commercial that referenced the "White Flag trade."

"I don't even know if I knew it was called that before then," Howry recalled last weekend at the Sheraton Grand Chicago at Cubs Convention. 

The trade was a stark signal that youth would be emphasized on 35th and Shields. Both Alvarez and Hernandez were set to become free agents after the 1997 season, and the 40-year-old Darwin wasn't a long-term piece, either. With youngsters like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee rising through the farm system, the move was made with an eye on the future and maximizing the return on players who weren't going to be long-term pieces. 

Sound familiar? 

It's hardly a perfect comparison, but when the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in December for four minor leaguers — headlined by top-100 prospects in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech — it was the first rebuilding blockbuster trade the organization had made since the 1997 White Flag deal. Shortly after trading their staff ace at the 2016 Winter Meetings, the White Sox shipped Adam Eaton — their best position player — to the Washington Nationals for a package of prospects featuring two more highly-regarded youngsters in Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. 

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And there still could be more moves on the horizon, too, for Rick Hahn's White Sox (Jose Quintana has been the subject of persistent rumors since the Winter Meetings). But for those looking for an optimistic outlook of the White Sox rebuilding plans, it's worth noting that the club's last youth movement, to an extent, was successful.

Only Howry (3.74 ERA over 294 games) and Foulke (2.87 ERA, 100 saves over 346 games) became significant long-term pieces for the White Sox from those six players brought over in 1997. And it wasn't like Schueler dealt away any of the franchise's cornerstones — like Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Robin Ventura — but with future starters in Lee, Ordonez and Chris Singleton on their way the White Sox were able to go young. A swap of promising youthful players (Mike Cameron for Paul Konerko) proved to be successful a year and a half later. 

And with a couple of shrewd moves — namely, dealing Jamie Navarro and John Snyder to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cal Eldred and Jose Valentin — the "Kids Can Play" White Sox stormed to an American League Central title in 2000. 

"It was great," Howry said of developing with so many young players in the late 1999's and 2000. "You come in and you feel a lot more comfortable when you got a lot of young guys and you're all coming up together and building together. It's not like you're walking into a primarily veteran clubhouse where you're kind of having to duck and hide all the time. We had a great group of guys and we built together over a couple of years, and putting that together was a lot of fun."

What sparked things in 2000, Howry said, was that ferocious brawl with the Detroit Tigers on April 22 in which 11 players were ejected (the fight left Foulke needing five stitches and former Tigers catcher/first baseman Robert Fick doused in beer). 

"About the time we had that fight with Detroit, that big brawl, all of a sudden after then we just seemed to kind of come together and everything started to click and it took off," Howry said. 

The White Sox went 80-81 in 1998 and slipped to 75-86 in 1999, but their 95-67 record in 2000 was the best in the league — though it only amounted to a three-game sweep at the hands of the wild-card winning Seattle Mariners. 

Still, the White Flag trade had a happy ending two and a half years later. While with the White Sox, Howry didn't feel pressure to perform under the circumstances with which he arrived, which probably helped those young players grow together into eventual division champions. 

"I was 23 years old," Howry said. "At 23 years old, I didn't really — I was just like, okay, I'm still playing, I got a place to play. I didn't really put a whole lot of thought into three veteran guys for six minor leaguers." 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox 2016 first round pick Zack Collins joins the podcast to talk about his future with the White Sox, when he hopes to make the big leagues and the doubters who question whether he can be a major league catcher.   He discusses comparisons with Kyle Schwarber, his impressions of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, why his dad took him to a Linkin Park concert when he was 6 years old and much more.