Five ranked recruits in the Class of 2014 who are still alive in the state playoffs
1. Marist tight end Nic Weishar (Notre Dame) - Weishar is pulling double duty in the state playoffs to great success. Weishar, who plays receiver for the Redhawks, has moved over to outside linebacker and has been a force on the Marist defense.
2. Wheaton North quarterback Clayton Thorson (Northwestern) - Thorson has been a key part of the Falcons offense all season. Thorson, who suffered a season ending injury in 2012, missed most of the summer but hasn't skipped a beat this fall. He committed to the Wildcats back in March and has never wavered on his early decision.
3. Monini Catholic linebacker Nile Sykes (uncommitted) - Sykes has also played exceptionally well this season for the Broncos and head coach Chris Andriano. The linebacker is looking at Missouri along with a half dozen others at this stage and has yet to make an official visit.
4. Mount Carmel defensive tackle Enoch Smith Jr. (Michigan State) - Smith Jr. has been an important part of the Caravan's stellar defensive front again in 2013. He is playing defensive end for the Caravan, but will move inside for the Spartans. Smith Jr. gave the Spartans his verbal commitment back in April and despite more recruiting looks and interest, Enoch remains very solid on his commitment to the Spartans.
5. Glenbard West offensive lineman Eric Shute (North Carolina State) - Shute has been a mainstay on the defending Class 7A state champion Hilltoppers offensive line for the past two seasons. He pledged to former NIU and current NC State head coach Dave Doeren back in June.
Five sleeper recruits in the Class of 2014 to watch this weekend
Schaumburg athlete Stacey Smith - The Saxon plays quarterback, returns kickoffs and fields punts for head coach Mark Stilling. You might be hard pressed to find a better game breaker type here than Smith. Several FCS level schools have shown interest.
Marist quarterback Jack Donegan - He leads an explosive Redhawks spread offense. In his first varsity season, Donegan has been as solid and as productive as any quarterback in the state this year. Donegan is getting looks and interest from a few Mid-American schools along with several FCS level schools.
Richards wide receiver Tacari Carpenter - He's as explosive as any receiver in Chicagoland. Carpenter has offers from Akron, Eastern Illinois, North Dakota, North Dakota State, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Richards linebacker Romel Hill - He leads a speedy and hard hitting Bulldogs defense this fall. Hill has offers from Eastern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, North Dakota, North Dakota State and Wyoming.
Rochester defensive end Matt Swaine - The lanky 6-foot-6 defensive end has been causing havoc all season for the defending Class 4A state champion Rockets. He has offers from Illinois State and Western Illinois.
Five recruits in the Class of 2014 who could be difference makers
Montini Catholic defensive end Dylan Thompson (Ohio State) - Thompson has been outstanding all season long for the Broncos. If Montini Catholic is able to slow down Joliet Catholic running back Mike Ivlow, look for Thompson to have a big game on Saturday.
Neuqua Valley wide receiver Mike Dudek (Illinois) - He is just a handful to cover and once he's in the open field with the football, forget about it. Dudek can change the momentum of a game in a heartbeat and is a threat every time he touches the football.
East St. Louis running back/defensive back Greg Taylor (Missouri) - He was strictly a defensive back for the Flyers but injuries forced head coach Darren Sunkett to put Taylor at running back. The Flyers haven't lost since the move and Taylor has been a force in the East Side's running game.
Sacred Heart-Griffin wide receiver Malik Turner Sacred (Illinois) - He's arguably been the state's top receiver in 2013. Turner has the ability to be a major difference maker in a Cyclones offense which has scored an amazing 620 points so far in 2013.
Lincoln-Way North running back/defensive end Julian Hylton (Illinois) - Hylton, who will play defensive back at Illinois, is an impact running back this season for the Phoenix and head coach George Czart. He will be asked to play large this week against Richards on both sides of the football.