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Joliet Catholic's Ty Isaac runs for a touchdown against Lincoln-Way West at Memorial Stadium Joliet on Friday, October 28, 2011. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
1. Who are the Fab Five Chicago-area prospects?
Joliet Catholic RB Ty Isaac (committed to USC); Crete-Monee WR Laquon Treadwell (uncommitted); Lemont OL Ethan Pocic (LSU); St. Francis OL Kyle Bosch (Michigan); Bolingbrook QB Aaron Bailey (Illinois).
2. Who are the Fab Five prospects from the rest of the state?
Peoria Manual OL Logan Tuley-Tillman (Michigan); Peoria Central DL Josh Augusta (uncommitted); O’Fallon DB Darius Mosely (Illinois); Rochester LB Garret Dooley (Wisconsin); Charleston DB Dillan Cazley (Illinois).
3. Which 2011 state champ has the best chance to win again?
Montini graduated the most prolific receiver in Illinois history, current Nebraska freshman Jordan Westerkamp, and the quarterback who helped him pile up those numbers, John Rhode. But the three-time defending Class 5A champs still have some playmakers on offense, including WR Joe Borsellino and RB Dimitri Taylor. To go 4-for-4, Montini likely will have to go through Joliet Catholic, which has the state’s top player, USC-bound RB Ty Isaac.
4. How do the other big-school classes shape up?
Maine South’s bid to become the first team to win the state’s largest class four straight times ended with a second-round upset loss to Stevenson last fall. Northwestern-bound QB Matt Alviti and the Hawks aim to get back on top this season, but defending Class 8A champ Bolingbrook will be loaded on offense and likely will have something to say about it. Neighborhood rivals Wheaton Warrenville South and Glenbard West meet in Week 1, and the winner could be the favorite in 7A. With 2011 6A champ Prairie Ridge suffering big graduation losses and RB Jordan Getzelman skipping his senior year to prepare for college baseball, 6A could be wide open.
5. Which Chicago-area team has the best chance to win a small-school title?
Hales, which made its first trip to the IHSA playoffs last fall, has a quarterback (Darrien Boone) and receiver (Joe Morrow) both committed to Central Michigan, along with several other major-college prospects. If the Spartans can stay healthy, look for them to make a run in Class 1A.
6. Who’s on the preseason All-Area offense?
QB: Aaron Bailey, Bolingbrook. RB: Ty Isaac, Joliet Catholic; Justin Jackson, Glenbard North. TE: Nathan Marcus, Glenbard West. WR: Laquon Treadwell, Crete-Monee; Nic Weishar, Marist. OL: Kyle Bosch, St. Francis; Colin Goebel, Naperville North; Jack Keeler, Barrington; Colin McGovern, Lincoln-Way West; Ethan Pocic, Lemont.
7. Who’s on the preseason All-Area defense?
DL: Khairi Bailey, Julian; Fred Beaugard, Montini; Ruben Dunbar, Glenbard West; Evan Panfil, Lincoln-Way Central. LB: Caleb Bailey, Romeoville; Jeff Perry, Morris; Reggie Spearman, Simeon. DB: Aaron Banks, Simeon; Jalen Banks, Thornton; Jesse Bobbit, Palatine; Parker Westphal, Bolingbrook.
8. Who are the top kickers and punters?
Lyons’ Jake Elliott, Montini’s Andrew Harte and Carmel’s Steven O’Block.
9. Who are the top Player of the Year candidates?
Joliet Catholic RB Ty Isaac, whom we last saw running for 515 yards and six touchdowns in the 2011 Class 5A title game, won the award a year ago and is the man to beat. Two quarterbacks capable of putting up big numbers — Bolingbrook’s Aaron Bailey and Maine South’s Matt Alviti — also could be in the mix.
10. Who are the area’s Fab Five juniors?
Hinsdale Central OL Brian Allen, Richards QB Tommy Mister, Mount Carmel DL Enoch Smith, Marist WR Nic Weishar and Bolingbrook DB Parker Westphal.
11. What’s the deepest position locally in terms of college prospects?
The Class of 2013 offensive line group is loaded with big-timers. Among those already committed to BCS schools are Lemont’s Ethan Pocic (LSU), St. Francis’ Kyle Bosch (Michigan), Lincoln-Way West’s Colin McGovern (Notre Dame), Barrington’s Jack Keeler (Wisconsin), Naperville North’s Colin Goebel (Iowa) and Minooka’s Blake King and Plainfield East’s Tyler Lancaster (Northwestern).
12. What’s the ultimate prep football fan’s opening weekend?
Set your DVR to record the Joliet Catholic at Providence game at 7:30 p.m. Friday. It airs on ESPNU and features reigning Sun-Times Player of the Year Ty Isaac. Then check out an interesting matchup featuring teams from different classes and areas. Montini at Palatine or Carmel at Lincoln-Way East, both 7:30 Friday kickoffs, are two that stand out. On Saturday, you can catch the Preseason Prep Bowl tripleheader, which begins at noon at Soldier Field: Mount Carmel-St. Patrick, Marist-St. Rita and St. Ignatius-Young. Or check out a pair of Top 10 matchups: Simeon at Loyola or Wheaton Warrenville South at Glenbard West, both at 1:30. If all of that’s not enough, head out to Gately Sunday at 4 for a good Public League opener: Julian-Robeson.
13. What are five more games to watch?
Aug. 31: Maine South at Wheaton Warrenville South; Sept.??: Elk Grove at Palatine; Sept. 21: Joliet Catholic at Marist; Oct. 12: St. Rita vs. Mount Carmel at Gately; Oct. 19: WW South at Wheaton North.
14. Who are some players you haven’t heard of but will?
WW South senior WR Corey Davis’ size (6-3, 195) and speed have earned a scholarship offer from Notre Dame. Kaneland QB Drew David put up video-game numbers (3,300 yards, 39 touchdowns) in 2011, and he still has two years of high school left. Nebraska and Wisconsin are among the colleges already looking at him. Johnny Daniels, a 6-5, 250-pound DT who has an offer from Northern Illinois and interest from many other schools, could be Foreman’s first D-I football recruit.
15. What teams just missed making the Super 25?
In alphabetical order: Kaneland, Libertyville, Morris, Naperville Central, Richards.
16. What are some intriguing story lines to follow this season?
Can former Public League power Morgan Park regroup under its third coach in three years? Will some smaller Public League schools play into November in the IHSA playoffs? Which teams will rise to the top in the balanced Southwest Prairie and North Suburban Lake conferences?
17. What’s the area’s best conference?
Flip a coin. It’s either the Catholic League Blue or the DuPage Valley. Both have great rivalries (St. Rita-Mount Carmel, Loyola-Mount Carmel, Naperville Central-Naperville North, WW South-Wheaton North) and teams with legitimate aspirations of playing at Memorial Stadium on Thanksgiving weekend.
18. What’s the area’s most underrated conference?
The Suburban Christian Blue has a pair of defending state champs (Aurora Christian in 3A, Montini in 5A) and no shortage of big-time prospects, including Rivals 100 OL Kyle Bosch of St. Francis (Michigan) and Minnesota-bound QB Chris Streveler of Marian Central.
19. Who are some notable transfers?
Quarterback Alex Willis moved from WW South to Montini, where he’ll direct the Broncos’ high-octane offense. Hales picked up a pair of Division I players — quarterback Darrien Boone, a Central Michigan recruit, came from Fenger, while lineman Denzel Ward moved from North Lawndale, where he played basketball.
20. What are some impressive streaks heading into the season?
Maine South coach Dave Inserra is 55-0 in the Central Suburban South. Crete-Monee has won 22 straight conference games, first in the SICA South and now in the Southland. Mount Carmel has earned 26 consecutive IHSA playoff berths.
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