Treadwell is in no rush to commit

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Treadwell is in no rush to commit

College footballs recruiting game has gotten downright vicious in recent years. Down and dirty. More pressure than trying to catch a pass amid three defenders. Want a scholarship? Commit now or someone else will get it. If you wait until signing day in February, youll probably end up somewhere you dont want to be.

Laquon Treadwell has heard it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. Crete-Monees 6-foot-3, 197-pound wide receiver is one of the last of the top-ranked prospects in the class of 2013 who hasnt made an oral commitment. But he isnt in a hurry to make a decision. Let em wait. If they really want him, they wont give his scholarship to someone else, right?

Treadwell is sorting through 23 offers from the elite programs in the nation, including Alabama, LSU, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Michigan State. He hopes to add Oregon and Florida to his list before he gets around to thinking seriously about committing.

His stock rose over the summer after he displayed his skills at national invitation-only camps in Florida, Oregon, California and Georgia. He competed against the best players in the country in 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 drills and more than held his own. According to recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, Treadwell is the No. 30 player in his class and one of the top five wide receivers.

I wanted to measure myself against the best, Treadwell said. When it was over, I think I played well against the top players and got my name out there. I made a lot of good plays. I didnt feel anyone was better than me. I feel I am so much better than last year. I learned so much over the summer. Its kind of ridiculous that I know this much in high school. This season, people will see me break big runs on every catch.

He admits he is leaning to Michigan. He has visited the Ann Arbor campus six times in the last two years. He has attended three games in 110,000-seat Michigan Stadium. He likes coach Brady Hoke and the coaching staff. He is comfortable with the players. He has a good relationship with Shane Morris, the third-ranked quarterback in the nation who recently committed to Michigan. He likes the fans, too.

Im comfortable with being there, he said. But I still want to make some visits. After the season, I want to take official (and fully paid) visits to farther places (like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, USC and Oregon). I want to do that. Most likely I wont make a decision until February. I want to weigh all of my options.

I havent narrowed it down yet. I have no dream school. What is important to me? Style of offense, head coach, position coach, how comfortable I feel with the other players. It doesnt 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.

Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde is pleased that Treadwell is so level-headed and comfortable in his own skin, that he isnt intimidated by college recruiters, that he is aware if he chooses to wait and wants to visit faraway schools they will have to pay his transportation to their campus in December or January. So why should he hurry to make up his mind?

What makes him so marketable and so highly ranked among wide receivers in the nation is his competitiveness and his toughness, Verde said. He enjoys hitting. We started him at defensive end as a sophomore because he was so tough. He will play some defense this year, too. Some colleges said they would consider him as a defensive end because of his speed and strength.

To his credit and maturity, Treadwell has bought into Verdes recruiting philosophy. Make sure you are certain. Dont take visits after you make a commitment, the coach told his star player.

Thats why he hasnt committed yet, Verde said. It is hard for him to commit to a Big 10 school when he hasnt visited other schools out West. He is more level-headed than a lot of kids. Sure, he is under unbelievable pressure. What happens to a kid who cant afford to make a trip to a college campus? Laquon wants to be sure he doesnt have any regrets.

Treadwell wants to go to a school that throws the ball, a program that will prepare him for the NFL, his goal since he began playing football for the University Park Lions when he was 10 years old.

He started as a fullback, then was moved to running back, then quarterback as a freshman at Crete-Monee. As a sophomore, he was moved up to the varsity to play cornerback, then was shifted to wide receiver in the first week of practice. He wasnt a very happy camper at the time.

I didnt want to play wide receiver, he said. I had a great year at quarterback. I thought Id move up to quarterback on the varsity. I had a dream of being another Michael Vick. But once I got my rhythm down, I started to like it. There was so much space. After leading the team in receiving as a sophomore, I knew I could be very good. Even though I didnt have the ball in my hands on every play like at quarterback, I enjoyed the position. Now Im going to be another Justin Blackmon.

In the meantime, Treadwell hopes to do everything he can to lead Crete-Monee deep into the state playoff. Last years team finished 10-1, losing to Peoria Richwoods in the second round of the Class 6A playoff. Verde believes this years squad has the potential to be even better. So does Treadwell.

The passing game is intact. Quarterback Marcus Terrell, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior, completed 199 of 301 attempts for 2,822 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. And he threw only four interceptions. Treadwell caught 75 for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns.

We expect another great year from Terrell, Verde said. He has a great understanding of the spread offense. Everyone thought I was full of baloney last year when I said he would be our quarterback and manage the team. With his intelligence (30 ACT) and arm strength, everything is open for us. Our skilled players are very talented. We have fewer holes than ever before.

Other standouts are 6-foot-1, 180-pound wide receiver Lance Lenoir, who caught 48 passes for 625 yards last year; 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior linebacker Nyles Morgan, who already has offers from Illinois, Notre Dame and Purdue; 6-foot-3, 285-pound center Austin Rosenfeldt; 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end Trevelle Smith; 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back Kyle Tilley; 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle Jonathan Schultz; and 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior cornerback and kick returner Deon Benton, who was one of the more dominating players on freshman and sophomore squads that went 18-0.

There are high expectations. We were 10-0 at one point last year and most of our corps is coming back, said Verde, who was a star linebacker on Marian Catholics 1993 state championship team. Potential means nothing. Follow-through means everything. We want to go a step or two farther this year. We feel we have more than in the past to do that.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Why Brett Anderson called Cubs fans ‘f------ idiots’ and loves the idea of pitching at Wrigley Field

Why Brett Anderson called Cubs fans ‘f------ idiots’ and loves the idea of pitching at Wrigley Field

MESA, Ariz. – On an October night where you could literally feel Wrigley Field shaking, Brett Anderson fired off a message on his personal Twitter account: "Real classy cubs fans throwing beer in the Dodgers family section. Stay classy f------ idiots."
 
The Cubs had just clinched their first National League pennant since the year World War II ended, beating Clayton Kershaw and playing as close to a perfect game as they had all season. Anderson kept up the entertaining commentary during the World Series, previewing Game 7 – "We can all agree that we're happy it's not Joe West behind the plate tomorrow" – and tweaking his future manager: "Aroldis (Chapman) might puke on the mound from exhaustion." 
 
In another generation, a veteran pitcher might walk into a new clubhouse and wonder about any awkwardness with a hitter he once drilled with a fastball or some bad blood from a bench-clearing brawl. But overall today's players share the same agents, work out together in the same warm-weather offseason spots and understand the transient nature of this business. When pregame batting practice is filled with fist bumps, bro hugs and small talk between opponents, it becomes trying to remember what you said on social media. 
 
"I'm kind of a sarcastic ass on Twitter," Anderson said Monday. "I kind of sit back and observe. I'm not a huge talker in person. But I can kind of show some of my personality and candor on some of those things.
 
"You look at stuff (when) you get to a new team. I'm like: ‘Wow, man, did I say anything about anybody that's going to piss them off?' But I think the only thing I said about the players is that Kyle (Hendricks) looks like he could have some Oreos and milk after pitching in the World Series. 
 
"But that's kind of the guy he is. Just the calmness that he shows is something that we can all try to strive for."
 
Anderson essentially broke the news of his signing – or at least tipped off the media to look for confirmations – with a "Wheels up to Chicago" tweet in late January. The Cubs guaranteed $3.5 million for the chance to compete against Mike Montgomery and see which lefty can grab the fifth-starter job. Anderson could max out with $6.5 million more in incentives if he makes 29 starts this season. 
 
After undergoing surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back last March, Anderson made three starts and didn't earn a spot on the NLCS roster.  
 
"I obviously wasn't in the stands," Anderson said. "Supposedly from what I was told – it could be a different story – but there was just some beers thrown on where the families were. I'm going to stick to my family and my side.  
 
"I wasn't calling out the whole stadium. (It wasn't): ‘Screw you, Cubs fans.' It was just the specific (incident) – whoever threw the beers on the family section. Everybody has their fans that are kind of rowdy and unruly.

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"That just happened to be a situation. But you like those people on your side. I played in Oakland, and they had some of the rowdiest fans. In the playoffs, it seemed like ‘The Black Hole' for the Raiders games.
 
"You have your bad seeds in every fan base. When people are rowdy and cheering on their team and have one too many beers, the next thing you know, you're throwing them.
 
"Just visiting (Wrigley), it's a fun crowd, because it's such an intimate setting and you feel like they're right on top of you and it's so loud." 
 
Imagine the matchup nightmare the Dodgers could've been if their pitching staff hadn't been so top-heavy and manager Dave Roberts could've confidently gone to someone other than Kershaw, Rich Hill or closer Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers had made Anderson the qualifying offer after a solid 2015 season – 10-9, 3.69 ERA, 180-plus innings, a 66.7 groundball percentage – and he grabbed the $15.8 million guarantee. 
 
Anderson turned around and did the knock-on-wood motion at his locker, saying he felt good after completing a bullpen session with catcher Willson Contreras at the Sloan Park complex. Anderson is a Tommy John survivor who's also gone on the disabled list for a stress fracture in his right foot, a broken left index finger and a separate surgery on his lower back.
 
"Yeah, it's frustrating," Anderson said. "When I'm healthy and able to go out there and do my work, I feel like I'm a pretty good pitcher. I don't think I've ever been able to put everything as a whole together in one season. I've had some good spots – and some good seasons here and there – but hopefully I can put it all together and have a healthy season and do my part."
 
The Cubs are such a draw that Shane Victorino signed a minor-league deal here last year – even with more than $65 million in career earnings and even after a fan dumped a beer on him while he tried to catch a flyball at Wrigley Field in 2009.   
 
Anderson wanted to play for a winner and understood the organization's pitching infrastructure. He saw his pitching style as a match for the unit that led the majors in defensive efficiency last year. He was even intrigued by Camp Maddon and the wacky stunts in Mesa.  
 
"It's obviously an uber-talented group," Anderson said. "(It's also) seeing the fun that they're having. I'm more on the calm and cerebral side, but I think doing some of the things that these guys have in store for me will hopefully open me up a little bit and break me out of my shell. 
 
"'Uncomfortable' is a good word, especially for me. You don't want to get complacent. You don't want to get used to rehab. You want to go out there and do new things and try new things and meet new people and have new experiences. All things considered, the Cubs offered the best mix of everything."