Four locals make Rivals' Top 100 for Class of 2013

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Four locals make Rivals' Top 100 for Class of 2013

Joliet Catholic running back Ty Isaac may have slipped in the postseason evaluations after being slowed by a series of injuries. But Crete-Monee wide receiver Laquon Treadwell emerged with a five-star rating and the No. 10 spot in Rivals' top 100 in the class of 2013.

"We finally have a wide receiver as a five-star, something we have every year but hadn't found yet this season," said Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell.

Treadwell, a 6-foot-3, 198-pounder, boosted his stock by leading Crete-Monee to a 14-0 record and the Class 6A state championship. After making his third visit to the Ole Miss campus last week, he said Ole Miss was the "clear leader" in his recruiting. But he still plans to make other visits before announcing his decision.

One plus in Ole Miss' favor is the presence on its roster of freshman defensive back Anthony Standifer, a star on Crete-Monee's 2011 football team and a close friend of Treadwell's who originally committed to Michigan before opting for Ole Miss.

"Coming out of the summer, Treadwell had clearly established himself as the nation's top receiver in the class of 2013," said Rivals.com Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt.

"This fall, though, he took his game to the next level and turned in one of the most impressive high school seasons we have seen in the Midwest in some time. He is so big, so fast, so powerful and so fundamentally sound, he could help out a college team right now."

Related: Rivals.com top 100 prospects

Isaac, who ranked as high as No. 8 in some preseason surveys, fell to No. 20 in Rivals' postseason evaluations. Named the Chicago area's Player of the Year for the 2011 season, he remains committed to USC.

The other two Chicago area players who earned Top 100 recognition are LSU-bound offensive tackle Ethan Pocic (44) of Lemont and Michigan-bound offensive tackle Kyle Bosch (99) of Wheaton St. Francis.

Rivals' top five picks are defensive end Robert Nkemdiche of Logansville, Ga., defensive end Carl Lawson of Alpharetta, Ga., linebacker Jaylon Smith of Fort Wayne, Ind., quarterback Max Browne of Sammamish, Wash., and defensive back Su'a Cravens of Murietta, Calif.

Related: Te'o, Smith win NCAA, prep Butkus Awards

Ironically, like Treadwell, Nkemdiche also is seriously considering Ole Miss. He originally committed to Clemson but reopened his recruiting. He also is considering Alabama, LSU and Georgia. But his mother has made it clear that she favors Ole Miss. And Robert's brother Denzel is a starting outside linebacker for the Rebels.

Lawson is committed to Auburn, Smith to Notre Dame and Browne and Cravens to USC. In fact, USC has five commitments from five of the top 20 players and the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation according to Rivals.com.

Notre Dame, which has the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation according to Rivals.com, has commitments from five other top 100 players -- running back Greg Bryant (16) of Delray Beach, Fla., linebacker Alex Anzalone (50) of Wyomissing, Pa., offensive lineman Steve Elmer (56) of Midland, Mich., offensive lineman John Montelus (65) of Everett, Mass., and defensive back Cole Luke (95) of Chandler, Ariz.

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Here are some of Monday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Preview: Cubs look to bounce back vs. Giants tonight on CSN

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

Cubs can't complete another miracle comeback against Giants bullpen

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

How Bears are using veteran videos to school rookies on NFL way

Luis Robert the latest high-end acquisition for White Sox

For Joe Maddon, Cubs winning World Series came down to Giant comeback in SF and avoiding Johnny Cueto in elimination game

Carlos Rodon 'getting closer' but still without time frame for return

Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?

MMQB's Peter King's thoughts on Trubisky, Howard, White and the Bears offense

Theories on why Cubs haven’t played up to their defensive potential yet

Theories on why Cubs haven’t played up to their defensive potential yet

“That’s what we’re supposed to look like,” Joe Maddon said Monday night after a 6-4 loss where the San Francisco Giants scored the first six runs and Wrigley Field got loudest for the David Ross “Dancing with the Stars” look-in on the big video board, at least until a late flurry from the Cubs.

But for a manager always looking for the silver linings, Maddon could replay Addison Russell’s diving stop to his right and strong throw from deep in the hole at shortstop to take a hit away from Christian Arroyo. Or Albert Almora’s spectacular flying catch near the warning track in center field. Or Anthony Rizzo stealing another hit from Brandon Belt with a diving backhanded play near the first-base line.

The highlight reel became a reminder of how the Cubs won 103 games and the World Series last year – and made you wonder why the 2017 team hasn’t played the same consistently excellent defense with largely the same group of personnel.

“Concentration?” Jason Heyward said, quickly dismissing the theory a defensive decline could boil down to focus or effort. “No shot. No shot. It is what it is when it comes to people asking questions about last year having effects, this and that. But this is a new season.

“The standard is still high. What’s our excuse? We played later than anybody? That may buy you some time, but then what?

“The goals stay the same. We just got to find new ways to do it when you have a different team.”

FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver’s statistical website, framed the question this way after the Cubs allowed the lowest batting average on balls in play ever last season, an analysis that goes all the way back to 1871: “Have the Cubs Forgotten How to Field?”

Even if the Cubs don’t set records and make history, they should still be better than 23rd in the majors in defensive efficiency, with 37 errors through 43 games. The Cubs have already allowed 28 unearned runs after giving up 45 all last season.

“We just got to stay on it and keep focusing and not let the miscues go to our head,” Ben Zobrist said. “We just have to keep working hard and staying focused in the field. A lot of that’s the rhythm of the game. I blame a lot of that on the early parts of the season and the weather and a lot of difficult things that we’ve been going through.

“If we’re not hitting the ball well, too, we’re a young team still, and you can carry that into the field. You don’t want to let that happen, but it’s part of the game. You got to learn to move beyond miscues and just focus on the next play.”

Heyward, a four-time Gold Glove winner, missed two weeks with a sprained right finger and has already started nine times in center field (after doing that 21 times all last season). Zobrist has morphed back into a super-utility guy, starting 16 games at second base and 15 in two different outfield spots.

[MORE CUBS: Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?]

Maddon has tried to drill the idea of making the routine play into Javier Baez’s head, so that the uber-talented second baseman can allow his natural athleticism and instincts to take over during those dazzling moments.

The Cubs are basically hoping Kyle Schwarber keeps the ball in front of him in left and setting the bar at: Don’t crash into your center fielder. Like Schwarber and Almora, catcher Willson Contreras hasn’t played a full season in The Show yet, and the Cubs are now hoping Ian Happ can become a Zobrist-type defender all over the field.

“I’m seeing our guys playing in a lot of different places,” Heyward said. “It’s not just been penciling in every day who’s going to center field or right field or left field. We did shake things up some last year, but we did it kind of later in the season. We had guys settle in, playing every day. This year, I feel like we’re having guys in different spots.

“It’s May whatever, (but) it seems like we haven’t really had a chance to settle in yet. Not that we’re procrastinating by any means, but it’s just been a lot of moving pieces.”

The Giants won World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 with a formula that incorporated lights-out pitching, airtight defense and just enough clutch pitching. The Cubs are now a 22-21 team trying to figure it out again.

“Defense comes and goes, just like pitching,” said Kris Bryant, the reigning National League MVP, in part, because of his defensive versatility. “I feel like if you look at last year, it’s kind of hard to compare, just because it was so good. We spoiled everybody last year. Now we’re a complete letdown this year.”

Bryant paused and said: “Just kidding. Different years, things regress, things progress, and that’s just how it goes sometimes.”