Its official.Simeon basketball standout Jabari Parker, theNo. 2 ranked player in the nation, has decided to play basketball forMike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils next year.While Michigan State had long been considered a frontrunner Tom Izzo has been recruiting Parker the longest of any school Duke representedthe "best fit" for Parker, given his skillset, ability, personality and the BlueDevils' style of play. Parker chose Duke over Michigan State,Florida, BYU and Stanford.The high school senior said that the quality of education hewould receive in the classroom was just as important as the quality ofcompetition he would face on the basketball court.At Duke, hell receive both.Its been a blessing just to get an opportunity to be ableto go to school for free. Its a good thing for me as well as my family to beable to save them a couple of dollars in their pocket, said Parker during hisThursday afternoon press conference to announce his college decision.MORE: National recruiting expert Eric Bossi breaks down Parker's decisionParker said he was undecided up until the early afternoon onThursday when he finally made his decision. Despite the entire basketball worldwaiting on pins and needles to see which college he would be attending next fall,the Simeon senior wanted it to be just like any other day.Today, I was just focused on class and let everything elsehandle itself. I probably got my answer at 1 o'clock this afternoon. Everythingcame together and I was confident. You just feel that emotion in your heartthat tells you its time to decide and my heart gave me the right decision.What brought me to the decision was, of course, thehistory. Duke is always going to be a team in the tournament. You cant gowrong at that program. Also, most importantly, was the long-term investment. Ifeel like if I go there I can get a good degree.Parker said that ultimately his decision came down to the Blue Devils, the Spartans and the Florida Gators. Long known for his thoughtfulness andtendency to think of others before himself, Parker gave some insight into whyone of the schools didnt make the cut and his reasoning was something youdont often hear from elite athletes.Branden Dawson is the main reason why I didnt pickMichigan State today, remarked Parker. I dont want to mess up his thing his groove. Hes been there two years so me coming in there would be kind ofdisrespectful to him and the program. I just want Branden to do well. Hes alocal kid, from the area Gary, Ind. and me coming in at the last minutewould kind of ruin everything.Parker is the third top 100 recruit that Coach K has hassigned thus far, but hes also one of the best. He now joins a recruiting classfeaturing guard Matt Jones of DeSoto High in Texas (who beat Simeon last weekin a nationally televised contest) who is ranked No. 36nationally,and Semi Ojeleye of Ottawa High in Kansas who is ranked No. 42in thenation.Surprisingly enough, Parker said that out of all the college visits hetook, his trip to Duke was the one he least enjoyed.RELATED: Newspaper has its 'Dewey defeats Truman' momentTo tell you the truth, that was probably the worst on-campusvisit that I had, said Jabari of his trip to the Duke University campus inDurham, N.C. I didnt do what I wanted to do, and thats be a kid have fun.But I know that being in college is all business and thats what they wanted toshow me. I didnt have a good time, but they wanted to tell me and prepare meand give me a little taste of how its going to be in college.When asked howKrzyzewskiresponded to the phone call he madeon Thursday afternoon letting him know that he was coming to Duke, he said thecoach handled it with his typical cool demeanor.Coach K just said congratulations. He didnt sound like itover the phone but I know he was pretty excited in his mind even though Dukelands players like me all the time.
Illinois added another important in-state piece as Huntley three-star ranked defensive end Olalere Oladipo (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) announced his college decision Thursday night to the Fighting Illini.
"Illinois has a great staff, is close to home," according to Oladipo. "Illinois felt like a nice fit for me."
Oladipo is also the second verbal commitment Illinois added Thursday as the Fighting Illini added a commitment from Miami (Fla.) Central four-star ranked wide receiver Carmoni Green (6-foot-1, 178 pounds).
Oladipo is now the sixth in-state verbal commitment for the Fighting Illini Class of 2017. Oladipo joins St. Rita OLB Marc Mondesir, Auburn OT Verderian Lowe, Marian Catholic QB Cameron Thomas, Chicago Brother Rice WR Ricky Smalling and Bolingbrook ATH Kendall Smith.
Illinois now has 11 known verbal commitments total in the Class of 2017.
CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the season premiere of High School Lites, Friday at 11 p.m. Can the defending 7A state champion Glenbard West Hilltoppers take care of business on the road in Bolingbrook? Can defending 4A champs Phillips begin its road back to the state title game with a win against an experienced Fenwick squad? Who wins the heavyweight ground battle between Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove? And who comes away with a win when Palatine travels to Lincolnshire to take on Stevenson?
Check out the Facebook Live video of CSN Preps contributors Joe Collins and "Edgy" Tim O'Hallaran and be sure to check Facebook at noon every Wednesday for a live preview.
Von Steuben vs. Amundsen at Winnemac Stadium, 4:15 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Von Steuben, led by head coach Alan Rood, will play its first varsity season in school history. The Panthers are looking to build off the foundation set last year, where they played a full JV schedule. Can the Panthers bring winning football to Chicago’s northwest side? As for Amundsen and head coach Nick Olsen, they will look to improve on a 1-7 record from last fall.
EDGY's Pick: Von Steuben 20, Amundsen 18
(5) Lincoln-Way East at (South Bend) Adams, Ind., 6 p.m. CT
EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East will open the season against an opponent who already has a game under their belt. South Bend Adams (1-0) defeated Northridge 46-29 last Friday. Lincoln-Way East will look towards a steady running game diet via senior RB Nigel Muhammad and a strong offensive line anchored by senior Sam Diehl (Colgate). The Griffins defense features junior DE Devin O'Rourke (6-foot-6, 240 pounds) who already has a handful of BCS level offers. Can the Griffins shake off the rust against an opponent who already has game experience?
EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 27, Adams 12
(2) Glenbard West at (15) Bolingbrook, 7 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Glenbard West and head coach Chad Hetlet's defense has always been the Hilltoppers calling card, and expect that to be an early strength. Seven starters are back from last year’s 7A state champion squad. Keep an eye out for senior LB Jackson Goleach, senior DB Justice Bradley and senior FB/DE Dionte Moorehead. As for Bolingbrook, they have a ton of talent on the defensive side as well with senior DE Izayah Green-May (Wisconsin), senior DB/WR Kendall Smith (Illinois), senior S Zyon Bell and junior DT Deshaun Mallory. Watch out for the new-look Raiders offense, spearheaded by Bolingbrook’s new offensive coordinator Doug DiFusco. The Raiders offense remains a huge key to success this season.
EDGY's Pick: Glenbard West 24, Bolingbrook 20
(11) Montini at (22) Maine South, 7 p.m.
EDGY's Take: The biggest question for both Maine South and Montini in this game could be the overall quarterback play. The visiting Broncos will rely on junior Brad Norgle while Maine South will counter with senior Nick Leongas. Both starting quarterbacks are being given the keys to two of the state's top offenses. Will the team who avoids the most turnovers/penalties/early season rust win it?
EDGY's Pick: Montini Catholic 35, Maine South 24
(14) Prairie Ridge at (18) Cary-Grove, 7 p.m.
EDGY's Take: This opening night game in the Fox Valley will feel like a state playoff game atmosphere. Both Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove want to run the football early and often. Both teams also feature great defenses. Prairie Ridge will let junior QB Samson Evans run the Wolves option game while Cary-Grove will give the football to three-time All-State FB/LB Ty Pennington early and often. Look for, possibly, a late turnover or penalty to potentially be a factor here, and I also wouldn't be shocked to see an overtime or two.
EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 22, Cary-Grove 21 (OT)
Kaneland at Brooks (at Gately Stadium), 7:15 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Kaneland made it to the state playoffs a season ago, however the Knights graduated several starters from that squad. However, Knights head coach Tom Fedderly has a very strong underclassmen group led by second-year starting sophomore RB Jonathan Alstott, who is a cousin to former JCA/Purdue and NFL fullback Mike Alstott. Brooks and head coach Benjamin McCall is looking to bounce back after a 3-6 record in 2015.
EDGY's Pick: Kaneland 34, Brooks 14
Simeon at (20) Oak Park-River Forest, 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Simeon and head coach Dante Culbreath might have one of Chicagoland's most dangerous offensive weapons this season in junior QB Jayshon Jackson (5-foot-11, 170 pounds). Jackson, who already is drawing major D1 recruiting looks and offers, moved from receiver to quarterback this fall, giving Simeon a dangerous run/pass option threat. OPRF and head coach John Horerster also welcomes back some key playmakers, including senior QB Jeremy Hunt plus three starters on the offensive line. Can Simeon's inexperienced offensive line come ready to play? Can the Huskies hang with the Wolverines overall team speed?
EDGY's Pick: OPRF 26, Simeon 20
(9) Phillips at Fenwick (at Triton College), 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Phillips and head coach Troy McAllister will look to defend its 4A state title. The Wildcats defense is an early strength, led by senior DT/FB Chris Elmore (Western Michigan) along with OLB Malcolm Fox and senior S Dexter Warren (NIU). The Friars, coached by Gene Nudo, welcome back 19 starters including the entire starting offense from a year ago, including QB Jacob Keller. Can the Phillips offense get going early here? Can Fenwick withstand Phillips quick-strike potential?
EDGY's Pick: Phillips 27, Fenwick 14
Glenbrook South at (24) Barrington, 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Glenbrook South will take the field under first-year head coach David Schoenwetter, who takes over the Titans program from retired head coach Mike Noll. South will be inexperienced with just five returning starters, including WB Noah Acocella and senior WB Jake Smiley. Barrington and head coach Joe Sanchez seems to find a way to reload every year. Keep an eye out for senior WR Josh Babicz (North Dakota State) plus senior DE Jackson Perkins (Navy) and senior LB Blake Holley (Navy).
EDGY's Pick: Barrington 28, Glenbrook South 14
(7) Palatine at (12) Stevenson, 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Great season-opening non-conference game between two 8A powers. Palatine made a terrific run last season. Expect the Pirates to rely heavily on returning All-State QB Zach Oles and a strong core of offensive skills players back from a season ago. Stevenson and head coach Bill McNamara will bring back nine starters (four offense, five defense). The Patriots' key could be the development of first-year starting QB Aidan O'Connell (6-foot-4, 190 pounds). Can the Stevenson defense contain Zach Oles?
EDGY's Pick: Palatine 28, Stevenson 17
**VIEWERS’ CHOICE GAME OF THE WEEK**
Gary West Side at Valparaiso, 7 p.m.
This will be the first-ever High School Lites game featuring Northwest Indiana foes. The host Vikings, who lost 27-7 in their opener against last year’s Indiana 6A runner-up Penn, features eight returning starters on defense. QB Jake Leffew went 19-of-27 and a touchdown against Penn. They face a Gary West Side team looking for revenge after last year’s 56-0 loss against Valpo. One of the strengths of the Cougars is their secondary, featuring senior Mario Newell and juniors Darius Benton and Markell Outlaw.
"5 Minutes with Edgy Tim" is LIVE! Have a question about your favorite High School Football program? Ask now and Edgy will answer. Don't miss the High School Lites debut this Friday at 11 PM!Posted by CSN Chicago on Wednesday, August 24, 2016
CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles 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. View Edgy Tim's other football previews here.
School: Loyola Academy
Head coach: John Holecek
How they fared in 2015: 14-0 (4-0) Chicago Catholic League Blue Conference. Loyola Academy made the Class 8A state playoff field. The Ramblers defeated West Aurora, Stevenson, Homewood-Flossmoor, Palatine and Marist to capture the 8A IHSA state football title.
Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Ramblers repeat in Class 8A?
Names to watch this season: TE Jake Marwede, DB Ian Swenson
[PREPS: Edgy Tim's Countdown to Kickoff series]
Biggest holes to fill: Loyola will need to find answers at a handful of key spots including quarterback and running back.
EDGY's early take: Despite having to replace 14 starters from last year's title team, look for Loyola to reload once again. Holecek has some headliner names in place, along with a very talented and deep roster this season. If Loyola can find some answers early on offense, the defense usually plays at a very high level and can help the offense.
Aug. 26 at Milwaukee Marquette (7:30 p.m.)
Sept. 3 vs. Maine South (1:30 p.m.)
Sept. 9 vs. Mount Carmel *at Gately* (7:30 p.m.)
Sept. 17 vs. St. Francis (1:30 p.m.)
Sept. 23 vs. Fenwick *at Triton College* (7:30 p.m.)
Oct. 1 vs. St. Rita (1:30 p.m.)
Oct. 7 vs. Leo (7:30 p.m.)
Oct. 15 vs. Providence Catholic (1:30 p.m.)
Oct. 21 at Brother Rice (7:30 p.m.)