Treadwell likely to pick Ole Miss


Treadwell likely to pick Ole Miss

After sorting through more than 25 scholarship offers from the elite college football programs in the nation, after visiting several campuses, after hearing one sales pitch after another and experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly of the recruiting process, Crete-Monee's Laquon Treadwell has finally reached a decision.

On Thursday, at a press conference at his school, before family and teammates and friends, with at least four college coaches biting their lips and crossing their fingers in anticipation, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound wide receiver will choose Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or Michigan.

Bet on Ole Miss.

Treadwell, who is ranked as the No. 6 player in the nation by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, is one of the last members of the top 100 in the class of 2013 to make a commitment. He has been careful to evaluate each school, to weigh all of his options, make the right decision, to have no regrets.

It hasn't been easy. Last August, he said he was leaning to Michigan. He has visited the Ann Arbor campus six times in the last two years and attended three games at Michigan Stadium. He said he liked coach Brady Hoke, was comfortable with the players and had a good relationship with a Michigan recruit, highly rated quarterback Shane Morris.

But Treadwell, unlike many 18-year-old recruits who are overwhelmed by the first school that shows them a lot of love, wasn't ready to commit. He said he "most likely won't make a decision until February," that he wanted to make visits "to farther places like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State."

Also a standout on Crete-Monee's basketball team, he passed up a game last weekend to visit Oklahoma State. Like Ole Miss, the Cowboys played up the family angle. Treadwell's uncle, Ricky Young, a former All-America linebacker at Oklahoma State, lives in Norman.

However, like Michigan, sources at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma admitted that Ole Miss was the leader. They concede it was significant that Treadwell stopped in Birmingham, Alabama, on his way home from the Under Armour All-American Game to watch Ole Miss' bowl game.

"I have no dream school," Treadwell insisted in August. "What is important to me? Style of offense, head coach, position coach, how comfortable I feel with the other players. It doesn't matter which conference I am in. I just want to compete against some of the best players in the country, in practice and in games."

Ole Miss wasn't among the schools that Treadwell was considering at that time. But it leaped into the picture when close friend and former teammate Anthony Sandifer, a standout cornerback on Crete-Monee's 2011 team who had originally committed to Michigan, changed his mind and opted for Ole Miss.

Treadwell made three visits to the Oxford campus. At a basketball game, the student section began chanting: "We want Treadwell." A report that Ole Miss legend Archie Manning, father of Peyton and Eli, had talked to Treadwell was unconfirmed. But the story gets better.

After visiting Ole Miss in early December, Treadwell told Neal McCready of "I would say Ole Miss and Oklahoma are the favorites. My visit went very, very good. My mom loved it the most, so that's the best thing," he said.

"I feel like it's home when I'm around the coaches and players and that's the most important thing. I feel like I fit right in with everything Ole Miss is trying to do with the program and I love the offense they're running."

But last week, Treadwell told the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger that Ole Miss was his favorite school.

What did he like about Ole Miss? "Basically everything...coaches, recruits, players that are there. I've got a teammate (Sandifer) there," he said.

That's not all. Treadwell has developed a very strong bond with Robert Nkemdiche, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end from Loganville, Georgia, who is the consensus choice as the No. 1 player in the nation. Nkemdiche, who de-committed from Clemson, has stated that Ole Miss is his favorite. He also has ties to Ole Miss. His brother Denzel is a standout linebacker on the football team. And his mother has stated that she wants her two sons to play together. Robert also is considering LSU.

Treadwell and Nkemdiche had an opportunity to hang out for a week while participating in last week's Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando. Treadwell's mother favors the two playing together. Treadwell also has another friend at Ole Miss, tackle Jordan Diamond of Simeon.

"We talked the whole week," Treadwell said about his relationship with Nkemdiche. "We've been talking before we even got here. We've been big on that."

Lemming predicts Treadwell will choose Ole Miss. "They have worked him hard. They came to my banquet in Chicago in December. They have done a great job on him, selling him on their future, him and Nkemdiche," he said.

Michigan apparently has faded out of the picture. "Michigan was the favorite a while ago but it's been trending in the wrong direction for quite some time. I would bet he (Treadwell) does not end up at Michigan," said recruiting analyst Tim Sullivan of Rivals.

Michigan, however, remains very much in the mix for junior cornerback Parrker Westphal of Bolingbrook, one of the top prospects in the class of 2014 in Illinois. Westphal recently said Michigan was the leader in his recruiting process and is "the school against which all others will be compared."

Treadwell, acclaimed the nation's top-rated wide receiver by Lemming and the Player of the Year in the Chicago area by the Sun-Times and Tribune, led Crete-Monee to a 14-0 record and the Class 6A championship by catching 81 passes for 1,424 yards and 16 touchdowns. As a junior, he caught 75 passes for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also stood out as a free safety.

Ironically, when he was growing up and playing for the University Park Lions, he played quarterback and dreamed of being another Michael Vick. But after being switched to wide receiver as a sophomore, he realized where his future was.

"Now I'm going to be another Justin Blackmon," he said, referring to the former Oklahoma State All-America wide receiver who had a standout rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Somewhere, Archie Manning is smiling.

Class 8A-4A Under the radar games to watch

Class 8A-4A Under the radar games to watch

The opening round of the IHSA football playoffs is loaded with great opening week games. Here are some Chicagoland matchups, from 8A through 4A, that have the potential to be very good “under-the-radar” type of games to watch this weekend. 

Class 8A

No. 26 seed Maine South (6-3) at No. 7 seed West Aurora (9-0), Friday 7:00 p.m.

Many will look at this matchup and assume that perennial 8A power Maine South will just overpower West Aurora. But not so fast, my friends. The Blackhawks and head coach Nate Eimers feature a team loaded with talent and speed, including the Cross twins: senior RB/DB DaQuan Cross and senior RB/DB DaVion Cross. This game has the potential to be a high-scoring affair.

Class 7A

No. 25 St. Rita (5-4) at No. 8 Rockford Auburn (8-1) Friday 7:30 p.m.

This is easily one of the most intriguing matchups in the opening round of 7A. Why? Auburn and head coach Dan Appino’s Knights feature a huge offensive line and a strong running game. Also, the Knights never play outside of the NIC-10 conference until state playoff time. St. Rita had an up-and-down season, yet no one will ever accuse the Mustangs of not being battle-tested. They have Chicago Catholic Blue credentials and have non-conference wins over Rich Central and Marmion — two playoff teams.

[MORE PREPS: IHSA Football Playoffs First-Round Matchups]

Class 6A

No. 11 Lakes (6-3) at No. 6 Grayslake North (7-2) Friday 7:00 p.m.

Both hail from the Northern Lake County conference and despite Lakes’ 31-14 win over Grayslake North on Sept. 9, the Eagles are the lower seed/road team this week. Look for another terrific game here. It's always very difficult to beat the same team twice in the same season. 

Class 5A

No. 9 Rich Central (6-3) at No. 8 Woodstock North (6-3), Friday 7:00 p.m.

Rich Central might have one of the state's biggest offensive lines, which includes senior OL/DL Caylon May (6-foot-3, 290 pounds). Woodstock North looks to run the football behind senior RB Casey Dycus. Everybody in the Thunder program continues to be excited, stemming from last week's 23-22 win over Rock Falls. Woodstock North blocked a potential game-winning field goal attempt in overtime to secure the win and a state playoff bid.

Class 4A

No. 12 Wheaton Academy (6-3) at No. 5 Aurora Central Catholic (8-1), Friday 7:00 p.m.

Wheaton Academy hit a rough patch in its Metro Suburban Blue slate and lost three straight games to playoff teams (IC Catholic Prep, Riverside-Brookfield and Glenbard South). The Warriors are undoubtedly battle tested. However, Aurora Central Catholic's only loss came to Ridgewood (7-2) who won the Metro Suburban Red. Expect a packed house in Aurora on Friday night for, likely, a back-and-forth game. 

Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites Week 1 playoff coverage

Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites Week 1 playoff coverage

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of area football fans in our “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week.” Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @CSNPreps crew will cover on Saturday afternoon. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night’s “High School Lites” broadcast at 11:00pm—or just after Cubs Postseason Live. The show also live streams at High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30am and 8:30am the following Sunday. This week, our theme is “5A: Chicagoland and beyond.” We are spotlighting the following IHSA 5A playoff games. Numbers in parentheses represent class seeds:

(12) Rochelle at (5) Ridgewood, 1:00pm

(10) Metamora at (7) Kankakee, 2:00pm

(13) Sycamore at (4) Solorio, 2:00pm

Poll opens Tuesday at 12:00pm and closes Thursday at 4:00pm. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

**Follow @CSNPreps on Twitter.

**Note the “pinned Tweet” atop the @CSNPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.

**Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @CSNPreps just after 4pm Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @CSNPreps for updates on the “Viewers’ Choice Game of the week,” along with other football news, scores and highlights this season,