In the midst of turmoil, Simeon prepares for Morgan Park


In the midst of turmoil, Simeon prepares for Morgan Park

Theyre disgusted.

That was Simeon head coach Robert Smiths description of his players' mood after practice on Tuesday evening, just a few hours after finding out three of their teammates had been ruled ineligible by the IHSA.

Donte Ingram, Sean Moore and Jaycee Hillsman, all transfers, were declared ineligible just a day before one of the biggest high school games on the local docket as the Wolverines take on the Morgan Park Mustangs Wednesday night at Chicago State.

They feel like somebody did something to them, said Smith. As a school, we didnt do anything wrong and theyre upset about it. The players dont want to do any interviews, they dont want to talk to anybody, they dont want to do none of that stuff. They just want to focus on basketball.

At the beginning of the season, all three had been ruled eligible by the IHSA, but after a recent review of their cases, they were informed that they couldnt play. Ingram transferred to Simeon from Danville, Hillsman came from St. Thomas More in Champaign and Moore came over from Leo. Making matters worse, the aforementioned Moore is a senior this year.

At the end of the day, they were ruled eligible. Months ago. To come back in the middle of the season and rule them ineligible, thats wrong.

All three players practiced on Tuesday, which they are still allowed to do. They just cant play in the games. And having to sit out one of the biggest games of the year thus far just makes matters worse. But coach Smith thinks the trios absence will light a fire under the rest of his squad.

This probably wont do anything but give us more motivation against Morgan Park explained Smith before reiterating how unfairly he feels his kids are being treated. They just feel like somebody did something to them when they didnt do anything wrong. And these are good kids. Its not fair to them.

Although Moore, Hillsman and Ingram werent starters, they provided depth for coach Smith off the bench. Now itll be up to sophomore D.J. Williams, senior Rickey Norris and junior Bobby Harris to carry more of the load.

But despite the turmoil, Smith knows he has a tough task on his hands with Morgan Park and wanted to make sure his players didnt lose sight of the importance of the game.

We had a pretty good practice. We wanted to go over some of the stuff that they do well and execute on some of the stuff that were going to need to do well in order to beat those guys, explained Smith. They play extremely hard for the whole 32 minutes. Thats the biggest part of it.

"The most important thing is getting ready for tomorrows game. All that other stuff were just going to put aside. The kids will be fine. I just hate to go to a game and they cant dress, knowing this wasnt their faults But theyre still a part of the team.

Montini's Mitch West gives verbal commitment to Purdue

Montini's Mitch West gives verbal commitment to Purdue

Montini Catholic senior DB Mitch West (5-foot-11, 175 pounds), as expected, gave the Purdue Boilerm​akers his verbal commitment. West added an offer from Purdue earlier this week after making an unofficial visit.

"I just fell in love with Purdue so I committed," West said. "I've always dreamed of playing in the Big Ten and it's too hard to pass up the opportunity."

West, who had offers from a handful of FCS level programs, impressed the Boilermakers coaching staff at a recently held satellite camp at North Central College in Naperville. 

63 Days to Kickoff: Saint Ignatius College Prep

63 Days to Kickoff: Saint Ignatius College Prep preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26.

School: Saint Ignatius College Prep Wolfpack

Head coach: John O'Connor

How they fared in 2015: 6-6 (2-2) Chicago Catholic League White Conference. Saint Ignatius made the Class 6A playoff field and lost to Riverside-Brookfield in opening-round action.

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Wolfpack make it back-to-back state playoff appearances?

Names to watch this season: OL/DL Luca DiLeo, LB Eric Steiner

Biggest holes to fill: The Wolfpack will need to reload at a few key spots including quarterback.

EDGY's early take: If Saint Ignatius can reload at a few key spots they have a good shot at getting back into the playoff field. Getting off to a good early start against Bremen and Whitney Young is key for the Wolfpack.

EDGY Tim recruiting update: Marist's Robert Topps III commits to Jayhawks

EDGY Tim recruiting update: Marist's Robert Topps III commits to Jayhawks

Marist three-star defensive back Robert Topps III gave Kansas his verbal commitment on Wednesday night.  

"Kansas is just a great fit, and I connected with the coaches right away," Topps III said. "It came down to either Miami (Ohio) and Kansas for me. Kansas just felt right to me and feels like it will be the best place for me, so I committed."

Topps III also pointed towards the strength of the Jayhawks coaches, in particular defensive coordinator and safeties coach Clint Bowen, as another big factor in his decision.

"Coach Bowen has helped produce some of the top defensive backs in the (NFL). That automatically tells me that he's one of the best defensive backs coaches in the nation."

Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey added yet another top in-state name to the Huskies' Class of 2017 when Morgan Park linebacker/defensive end Jawon Denton gave NIU his verbal commitment.

Northern Illinois has seen a big summer boost in its class and touts nine known verbal commitments including six in-state names. Denton joins a very strong in-state class, which includes St. Charles North offensive tackle Isaac Hawn, DeKalb wide receiver Cole Tucker, Immaculate Conception athlete Jordan Rowell, Mount Camel safety Michael Kennedy and Phillips safety Dexter Warren.

Montini Catholic once again has multiple Division-I recruits this summer, and senior defensive back Mitch West added his first Big Ten offer on Wednesday from Purdue.

"I was asked to come up to Purdue (on Wednesday) for a visit, and that's when they offered me," West said. "The Purdue coaches saw me workout at the North Central College satellite camp a few weeks ago and said that I had a good camp."

West could also be making his college choice very soon.

"I camped at Boston College last week, and the coaches said they would let me know if they would offer me or not on Thursday," West said. "I'm hoping to make a decision pretty quickly."

Mount Carmel senior safety Phazione McClurge made his college choice earlier this week when he gave North Dakota State his verbal commitment after making an unofficial visit to the Fargo-based school.

"Just the whole atmosphere at North Dakota State was great," McClurge said after his visit. "I love the school and the people around the football program, and I just feel like I'll be a great fit. I wanted to make my decision early so I can focus on Mount Carmel for the rest of the summer. Everything just felt right at NDSU."

McClurge joins a North Dakota State program (which plays in the Missouri Valley Conference) that has been dominant at the FCS level, having won five straight FCS national championships.