Preps Talk

Morgan Park center Tamell Pearson commits to UAB

Morgan Park center Tamell Pearson commits to UAB

After a strong summer on the grassroots circuit, Morgan Park senior center Tamell Pearson committed to UAB on Monday afternoon.

The 6-foot-10 Pearson was a role player for the IHSA Class 3A state champion Mustangs during his junior season, but he saw his recruiting stock explode over the last several months thanks to his improved play with the Mac Irvin Fire in the Nike EYBL.

Although high-major programs like Illinois, Oklahoma State and Washington State had offered Pearson scholarships over the summer, the big man opted for UAB, a Conference USA school that has competed for NCAA tournament berths over the last several years.

"I picked UAB because of the family feel and the great opportunity to be successful," Pearson told CSN. 

UAB has done a nice job of developing bouncy senior forward William Lee as he's become an NBA prospect after three productive seasons with the Blazers. By landing a commitment from another athletic big man in Pearson, UAB is hoping to mold him into another productive player.

While UAB might not seem like a typical school for a Chicago kid to attend, the commitment of Pearson signifies that the Blazers will be a major factor when it comes to recruiting area talent. Chicago-area native Kevin Devitt, an assistant coach at UAB, was the lead recruiter for Pearson as head coach Rob Ehsan has made the Chicagoland area a major recruiting priority for the school.

Pearson should be one of the area's premier big men this season as he'll be one of the key returning players at Morgan Park. With star guard Ayo Dosunmu also returning, the Mustangs will have a chance the be the preseason No. 1 team in the CSN Preps Power Rankings later this year. 

High School Lites Week 5 football capsules and picks

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High School Lites Week 5 football capsules and picks

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 5 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11 p.m. Can Cary-Grove beat Huntley in Huntley in one of the top Fox Valley Conference showdowns of the season? So who can get a leg up in the Interstate 8 Large conference race when Coal City visits Herscher? Can Lincoln-Way Central defeat the state's top ranked team when Lincoln-Way East comes down Route 30 on Friday night to take on Central in New Lenox? So who ya got: St. Rita or Mount Carmel?

Payton at Lindblom, 4:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Payton Prep (3-1), coached by George Klupchak, has an experienced team back this season. Keep an eye out for senior WR Eli Geleerd, who leads a deep group of skills along with senior OL/DL Ben Lohman. Lindblom (4-0) and head coach Justin Pressley also boast a speedy and explosive offense led by QB Bryce O'Walker plus senior WR CJ Rutherford (Indiana State). Can the Payton defense slow down the Eagles passing attack?

EDGY's Pick: Lindblom 31, Payton Prep 26

Bartlett at (2) Prairie Ridge, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Prairie Ridge (4-0) gets a rare non-conference opponent this week in hosting Bartlett (1-3). Prairie Ridge is starting to hit their midseason stride as QB Samson Evans ran for five touchdowns and passed for another in a 56-13 win last Friday over Crystal Lake South. Bartlett struggled in slowing down South Elgin in last week's 37-15 loss. Can the Hawks defense contain the Wolves option attack?

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 45, Bartlett 14

(17) Cary-Grove at (20) Huntley, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This is easily one of the top games all season in the Fox Valley Conference. Huntley (3-1) will feature a one-two punch on offense with seniors Eric Mooney (QB) and Melvin Aninagyei-Bonsu (RB). Cary-Grove (3-1) counters with senior RB Max Skol and a big, physical offensive line. The Trojans defense is also a big strength this fall. Can Huntley's offense extend drives and finish with points against the Cary-Grove defense?

EDGY's Pick: Cary-Grove 31, Huntley 30

Coal City at Herscher, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: A huge Interstate 8 (large school) conference showdown this week -- the biggest test of the year for both schools. Both Coal City (4-0, 2-0) and Herscher (4-0, 2-0) want to run the football. Class 4A-ranked Herscher will get the ball into the hands of QB Tyler Sarnagin and RB/LB Anthony Koranda while Coal City counters with RB Danny Norton and QB Payton Hutchins. Last possession wins?

EDGY's Pick: Herscher 28, Coal City 20

Plainfield North at Oswego East, 7 p.m. 

EDGY's Take: Plainfield North (3-1) is looking to recover from its Week 4 loss to Minooka and will rely heavily on the arm of senior QB Brady Miller. Oswego East (4-0) has been impressive so far but the schedule ramps up big time beginning this week with Plainfield North. Keep an eye on Oswego East senior WR/DB Antwain Walker (Illinois) along with junior QB/S Justin Clark. Can the Wolves raise their game against one of the Southwest Prairie's best teams? 

EDGY's Pick: Plainfield North 20, Oswego East 17

(1) Lincoln-Way East at Lincoln-Way Central, 7:30 p.m. #SendEdgy

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East (4-0) has been on a roll all season. They’re the state's top-ranked team and they rely on a balanced offense led by senior QB Brendan Morrissey. They also feature one of the state's top defensive lines, anchored by Northwestern verbal commit DE Devin O'Rourke. Lincoln-Way Central (4-0) has continued to improve every season under head coach Jeremy Cordell. The Knights are also balanced on offense and will look towards their run game led by senior RB Matt Pollack, junior RB Justin Ellis and a very effective play action passing attack led by QB Sam Pipiras. Can Central's offense run the football consistently against the East defense? Can the East offense run the football against the Central defense? 

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 24, Lincoln-Way Central 21

(15) Mt. Carmel at St. Rita, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Mount Carmel (3-1) and St. Rita (3-1) are both looking to get a leg up in the CCL Blue standings with a win on Friday night. The Caravan and Hall of Fame head coach Frank Lenti could have senior QB Alek Thomas (TCU) back in the lineup after missing the first four games of the regular season due to participating in the Team USA U18 baseball tournament. St. Rita and head coach Todd Kuska will look to senior RB Chris Childers (Indiana State), senior QB Jake Zlyman and a defense that has made key stops all season. Can Mount Carmel's offense add a spark with Alek Thomas back under center? Can the St. Rita offense keep moving the football again this week against the Mount Carmel defense? 

EDGY's Pick: Mount Carmel 28, St. Rita 27

St. Joseph at St. Ignatius, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: St. Joseph (2-2) will look to rebound this week after a 21-0 loss to Chicago Hope. The Chargers and head coach Rich Petroski are looking to get back into the state playoffs after the school's historic season a year ago. Keep an eye on senior WR/DB Zach Ford for St. Joseph. St. Ignatius (3-1) was off to a good start this season but then ran into a buzzsaw last Friday in losing to Providence Catholic 35-6. Can St. Ignatius and QB Quinn Donath get the Wolfpack offense back on track this week?  

EDGY's Pick: St. Ignatius 31, St. Joseph 27

(5) Lake Zurich at Warren, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lake Zurich (4-0) has relied on a quick hitting offense and a lights-out defense so far this season. The Bears will rely on senior RB/LB Joey Stutzman, senior QB Evan Lewandowski plus senior LB/RB Jack Sanborn (Wisconsin). Warren Township (4-0) and head coach Bryan McNulty have also played lights out defense. The Warren Township offense features WR Micah Jones (Notre Dame) and senior QB Ian Shilling. They have both been outstanding so far this season. Can the Lake Zurich offense dent the Warren Township defense? Can the Warren offense big play the stingy Lake Zurich defense? 

EDGY's Pick: Lake Zurich 21, Warren Township 14

VIEWERS' CHOICE: (24) Montini at Marmion Academy, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Montini Catholic (3-1) and first year head coach Mike Bukovsky has settled on senior Nick Orlando at quarterback. The Broncos have rolled ever since. That includes last week's come from behind, last-second win over Brother Rice 29-28. Marmion Academy (4-0) and head coach Dan Thorpe will look to multi-sport standout senior QB Brandon McPherson. The Cadets also had a thrilling 34-31 OT win last Friday over Bishop McNamara. Can the Montini defense contain the Cadets and QB Brandon McPherson? Can the Cadets ramp up its game with first place in the Chicago Catholic Green on the line?

EDGY's Pick: Montini Catholic 27, Marmion Academy 17

High School Lites Podcast: What is the greatest high school football rivalry in Illinois?

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High School Lites Podcast: What is the greatest high school football rivalry in Illinois?

Excellent teams. Tradition. Locality. Fan base animosity.

They’re the cornerstones of what make a great high school football rivalry. In this edition of CSN Chicago’s High School Lites podcast, Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran dive into this topic and discuss which ones stand out above the rest in Illinois.

The panel also breaks down the newly-released IHSA playoff outlook and discuss the early candidates for offensive player of the year. They’ll also look ahead to Friday’s matchups, which feature several teams jostling for playoff position.

Listen to the High School Lites Podcast below: