By Carter De Roeck, Sports Reporter
It happened, the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series! Next step? Win it again. With 2016 behind them, Theo Epstein and his executives have some work to do this offseason particularly with pitching with the probable departures of Jason Hammel and Aroldis Chapman. With the free agent field lacking any noteworthy starting pitchers, the Cubs may have to dig into their system or free agency to find that 5th starter to replace Jason Hammel and a new closer. Here’s the way-too-early 2017 Cubs starting pitching predictions.
Joe Maddon has expressed his positivity about Mike Montgomery and thinks that he could be a successful starting pitcher in the MLB. When Montgomery became a Cub in July, his curveball was described as “erratic” and it was something Chris Bosio and the rest of the coaching staff wanted to work on with him. As 2016 progressed, Montgomery started to use his curveball a lot more and he got more comfortable with it as the year went on. If Montgomery can perfect his curveball this offseason and fix a few tweaks in his mechanics to allow him to throw for an extended amount of innings, we will more than likely see Mike Montgomery starting a lot of games for the Cubs next year. There have been a few names from free agency that have been thrown around for the Cubs such as Edinson Volquez and Brett Anderson. Edinson Volquez has been considered somewhat of a clubhouse cancer, but if any team can manage his attitude it’s the happy, friendly, Cubs. Brett Anderson’s stature, 6’ 4” 215 pounds, is appealing to any team in need of a new pitcher, but his velocity and stamina just isn’t there to be considered a quality number 5.
Aside from free agency, the Cubs have a potent pitching prospect in 20-year-old Dylan Cease. Cease is the #1 pitching prospect in the Cub’s organization and is #97 in the MLB’s top 100 prospects list. The 6’ 2” 190 pound righty had a successful season with the Eugene Emeralds, the Cubs short season Class A affiliate team, posting a 2.22 ERA in 44.2 innings of work. Cease is young and hasn’t experienced enough of the minor league level to be on the MLB roster opening day, but don’t be surprised to see him work his way up in the organization as the 2017 season progresses. As for the top half of the rotation, Jon Lester is definitely their #1 in 2017 after he showed the Cubs that he’s worth that $150 million they signed him for two years ago by posing a 2.44 E.R.A. (second in majors) and had a fantastic postseason. As for the two and three spots, it can go either way between Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks shined last year after recording the best E.R.A. in the MLB with a 2.13. More importantly, Hendricks had a productive postseason and looked like a veteran when he stepped on the mound in game 6 against the Dodgers and game 7 of the World Series.
Kyle Hendricks gained some serious postseason experience and will now be put on the pedestal of one of the best pitchers in the game. As for Arrieta, he proved at many times this year and postseason that he is still elite. He finished tied with Corey Kluber for the second most wins in the MLB and recorded two key road wins in the world series. I think Kyle Hendricks has the edge in this one over Arrieta but it really doesn’t matter given how many times the rotation is going to get moved around. Whoever the #3 is from this rotation, you got to expect that they will be considered the best #3 pitcher in the pros. John Lackey will be towards the bottom of this stacked rotation, and his experience and competitiveness will greatly benefit this team.
The Cubs boast one of the most talented starting rotations in the MLB and that’s especially because they have three guys who could easily be a number one starter on a lot of other teams in the league. The Cubs rotation isn’t getting any younger, but their experience and veteranship will keep the Cubs atop the World Series favorites for at least the next couple of years.
By Hunter Haffner, Sports Reporter
The four spots open in the College Football Playoffs are coming down to a dramatic finish. This usually means a tight Heisman race, but this year there is a clear favorite. Ask any college football expert, analyst or fan. Only one name comes to mind, Lamar Jackson, the Louisville Cardinal standout. Chasing the shifty quarterback from afar are Deshaun Watson, Jabrill Peppers and Donnel Pumphrey.
Lamar Jackson, Sophomore, Quarterback, Louisville Cardinals:
Lamar Jackson has been the clear Heisman favorite this season. Jackson embodies what it means to be a duel-threat quarterback. He has thrown for 3,109 yards and 28 touchdowns while adding 1,367 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. Despite his poor performance last week in a blowout loss to Houston, 244 total yards and one touchdown, he remains a big Heisman favorite due to a lack of a strong number two candidate.
Expected Finish: First Place
Deshaun Watson, Junior, Quarterback, Clemson Tigers:
Deshaun Watson’s numbers have dropped off from his record breaking season a year ago, but he has continued to put up big numbers for the Tigers high-powered offense. This season Watson has thrown for 3,279 yards with 28 touchdowns. The problem for Watson has been his decision making and accuracy at times, which has lead to thirteen interceptions. Watson led Clemson to a win over Lamar Jackson's Louisville Cardinals, but even with that and a likely ACC championship, it is unlikely Watson will be able to catch up to Jackson.
Expected Finish: Second Place
Jabrill Peppers, Junior, Linebacker, Michigan Wolverines:
Jabrill Peppers is the most versatile player in the country. Peppers is listed as a Linebacker but has played all over the field. This season he has played linebacker, cornerback, running back and more. Peppers has 60 tackles and three sacks on defense. As a running back he has three touchdowns. He is averaging 15.3 yards per return as a punt returner. Peppers has starred at every position he has played this year and is always a threat on the field no matter where he is.
Expected Finish: Third Place
Donnel Pumphrey, Senior, Running Back, San Diego State Aztecs:
Donnel Pumphrey was not on the Heisman radar to start the season, but thanks to consistency throughout the season he has jumped onto the Heisman radar . At 5’9” 180 pounds Pumphrey is undersized but still has rushed for 1,855 yards and 14 Touchdowns with 6.5 yards per carry. He has averaged 168 rushing yards per game, but with only 76 rushing yards and no touchdowns last week he is a longshot to take home the Heisman.
Expected Finish: Fourth Place
(a) Jake Browning, Sophomore, Quarterback, Washington Huskies
(b) Jalen Hurts, Freshman, Quarterback, Alabama Crimson Tide
(c) Dede Westbrook, Senior, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma Sooners
(d) D’Onta Foreman, Junior, Running Back, Texas Longhorns
By Christian Cole, Sports Reporter
With the NBA season finally underway, we are getting an exciting look at who is going to take over the league this year. Though it is only the beginning of a very young season, it is quickly becoming clear who the favorites are for the most prestigious individual award basketball has to offer. With only a couple of weeks worth of games under our belt, I can confidently say that the Maurice Podoloff Trophy can find itself in the hands of one of the following four players: Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook.
Like Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Anthony Davis is the epitome of a one man show. After battling back from a injury plagued 2015 term, Davis was immediately expected to be the one to facilitate this organization and that he has. With 31.7 points per game, 11.3 rebounds per game, and 3.0 blocks per game, Davis is finding himself in the top 5 of nearly every major category. Though Davis puts up quite impressive numbers, his team sits at a 4-10 record, exemplifying his inability to generate wins the way the other “one man shows” are. For this reason, it is hard for me to see him as the MVP of the 2016-2017 season.
Expected Finish: Fourth Place
DeMar DeRozan has quickly exploded for the best season start of his career. With a league leading average of 33.0ppg, he has rapidly pushed his way up the list with the best scorers in the league. DeRozan’s ability to generate points efficiently comes from his tremendous use from the charity stripe. He averages 10.4 free-throw attempts per game while shooting a consistent 80% from the line. Despite the scoring capacity DeRozan can bring on a nightly basis, his lacking capabilities of ball distribution and passive numbers in the rebounding category leaves me feeling his game is more one-dimensional than the others in contention.
Expected Finish: Third Place
The Howard-less Rockets seem to be much better off at the start of their 2016-17 campaign. Especially the team’s “new” point guard who is on pace for a career year, James Harden. “The Beard” has been almost mirroring Russell Westbrook as he has become a triple-double machine of his own. With averaging 28.7 points per game, 12.5 assists, and 7.8 rebounds, he is finding the triple-double not to hard to come by. His Rockets are off to a 8-5 start, making it clear that the Rockets are back to their playoff caliber level to Harden. However, even with this solid start, Harden’s lack of defensive leadership has led the Rockets wins to be a little too close for comfort. This leaves me myself with a lacking confidence as the Rockets head down the stretch. In conclusion, the tremendous depth Harden offers on the offensive end and the amount his team relies on him will put him ahead of DeMar DeRozan, but will not be enough to take home the Maurice Podoloff trophy.
Expected Finish: Second Place
CONGRATULATIONS RUSSELL WESTBROOK! You are the winner of the Kia 2016-2017 NBA MVP award! Though the other candidates are on pace for seasons they will never forget, Russell Westbrook still finds himself as the leader of the pack. With the departure of long time teammate Kevin Durant, Westbrook has taken control of not only the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the league as well. With 31.7 points per game, 10.1 assists, and 9.6 rebounds, “Mr. Loyal” has made it his mission to lead this team in Durant’s absence. Russell Westbrook finds himself ahead of James Harden due to one category...defense. Westbrook and Harden find themselves in nearly identical situations with their organizations, so it’s difficult when it comes to differentiating the two. However, I feel as though Westbrook’s overall leadership and aggressiveness on both sides of the floor makes him the most complete player in the league, as well as the most valuable to his team.
Expected Finish: First Place
With the season still in its infancy there are still many opportunities for other athletes to make their MVP case. Do not be surprised if you see names such as four time MVP winner, LeBron James or back to back MVP Stephen Curry push their way into contention down the stretch. However, for now these four individuals have established a clear lead over the rest of the league with Westbrook at the head of the pack and I would not anticipate a decline from them anytime soon.
By Nick Lanscioni, Sports Reporter
With a big splash in the off-season, the Chicago White Sox are hoping that they’ve found some diamonds in the rough. Two of the biggest deals in the off-season arguably occurred with the White Sox. The former southpaw ace of the White Sox was sent over to the Boston Red Sox in a major haul of 4 young prospects that included Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz. Moncada and Kopech rank amongst the top 15 according to the MLB.com 2017 top 100 prospects. Although this was a surprising package the White Sox received, they didn’t stop there. Rick Hahn pulled off one of the biggest steals as the White Sox general manager. In early December when the hot stove was hotter than ever, the White Sox traded their top outfielder Adam Eaton for 3 of the Washington Nationals top pitching prospects including Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning. Looking back at the MLB.com 2017 top 100 prospect list, Lucas Giolito ranks 8th overall and Lopez ranks 39th. Before the 2017 season, the White Sox only had two top 100 prospects on MLB.com. Now, they have 6 and have boosted their farm system to one of the top ones in the MLB. Now, lets dive in deeper into 5 of these top young prospects the Sox received through trades starting off with the top prospect, Yoan Moncada.
Today Yoan Moncada has moved up to the number 1 spot on the prospect list. Also being ranked the number 1 prospect last year, Moncada was for sure the most exciting player the Sox received in last year’s offseason. After a great year in the minors last year with a .294 average, 15 home runs, 62 RBI’s, and 45 stolen bases, he seems to be picking up right where he left off. This year, Moncada is off to a blazing start batting .342 with 6 home runs, 11 RBI’s, and 9 stolen bases. He will not be called up until later this summer because there’s no need to rush him, but once his service time reaches May 14th, the White Sox get a full 6+ years of maintaining him. This is the best offensive prospect for the Chicago White Sox and as long as he continues to blister the baseball, be on the lookout for him to be called up in the middle of the summer.
Another prospect that holds a lot of excitement is pitcher Lucas Giolito. So far this season, he has not pitched as plan. In fact, his ERA is the worst it's ever been being 7.31 through 6 games. Hitters batting average against Giolito is .288 which is not his worst, but pretty close. All of these terrible statistics don’t seem to support the excitement for him, however, there’s reason why he’s not making the flashy pitches he was known to making before he started to struggle. After having much frustration with the way he was pitching last summer, Giolito altered his pitching mechanics in July. In result to this, his wind up shortened and his fastball dropped in terms of speed. Now, the White Sox plan on easing Giolito back into his old self when he used to have an ERA in the high 2’s or low 3’s. Fans should not be expecting him to be called up soon, and there’s a good possibility that he might stay in the minors this entire season. So there needs to be a lot of patience when it comes to this young pitcher.
One of the next top White Sox prospects, who is another pitcher, is Michael Kopech. Personally, this is the pitching prospect I’m most excited about. Even though he still has a long road ahead of him in the minors, he’s shining in double A currently. So far, he has posted a 2.70 ERA through 30 innings giving up 9 earned runs, striking out 42 batters, and walking 18 of them. Kopech is widely known for his speed topping out at 105 mph in a minor league game last year. This year during a max-velocity workout, he hit 110 mph on the radar gun. Not only can he throw the fire fastball, but he has a nasty curveball that drops to 79 mph and causing the hitter to be completely thrown off. With the ability to also throw a nice change up and wipe out slider, Michael Kopech is destined to be a deadly pitcher when his time comes in the big leagues likely in 2019.
With a heavy crop of pitchers the Sox received this offseason, Reynaldo Lopez was amongst the group of young talent through the Adam Eaton trade. Before last season, Lopez was overlooked mightily with Giolito coming off a great season of pitching. Now, the tables have turned with Lopez pitching exceptional and Giolito off to a bad start. So far this season, Lopez is 4-1 with the Charlotte Knights maintaining a 3.55 ERA through 38 innings and tacking on 39 strikeouts to 19 walks. There’s still debate on whether the Sox should move him to the bullpen or keep him as a starter. I think the more experience he has under his belt, the more comfortable he’ll be as a starter. He made 6 starts last year during the regular season and also started one game in the playoffs. Lopez should be up with the team in the middle of June and he’ll be given many opportunities with the Sox being in rebuild mode this season.
Last but not least-another pitcher who was the third piece of the Adam Eaton trade-is Dane Dunning. This might be the biggest steal that Rick Hahn pulled off. As a first round draft pick from the University of Florida, there’s a lot of potential this youngster has to offer. He has started the season in single A with the Kannapolis Intimidators, and has dominated ever since. His stats are off the charts with a 0.35 ERA through 26 innings, 1 earned run allowed, 33 strikeouts, and only 2 walks! Dunning has a long road ahead of him and probably will not be called up for a couple of years. But if the third piece of any trade is doing this, the sky’s the limit!
It’s been a long bumpy road for these Chicago White Sox ever since they won the 2005 World Series. They’ve only made 1 playoff appearance ever since they hoisted the trophy. Other than that, it has either been mediocre or well below average baseball. But what Rick Hahn has pulled off this offseason is something special. It has sparked a little more excitement amongst the fans for the future. Even though it might take a couple of years, it will be well worth it in the end.
By Jack Durchin, Sports Reporter
The average Minor League Baseball player makes about twelve thousand dollars a year. That is not enough to live off of. The minimum wage in Major League Baseball is five hundred thousand dollars, the difference between the two is too large. Nobody, I mean nobody, can live off of twelve thousand dollars a year. I believe that the MLB should raise the salary for minor league players substantially. In this ten billion dollar industry, they clearly have the money to raise the minimum salary in the Minors. Only ten percent of minor league players make it to the majors, which makes the hope of someday making money in the business very slim.
The average salary for a Major League Baseball player is about four million. That is more than most minor league players will make in their entire life.The average salary in the majors has gone up 2,500 percent while the average salary in the minors has only gone up 75 percent, that is way too big of a difference. Once you get to the majors you finally have financial freedom, but for all that don’t make it, they have to make crucial decisions regarding money. Many during the offseason have to take jobs just to help out their family. During spring training it is especially hard as minor league players don’t get payed to help the major league players get ready for the season. Most players have to rely on spouses or parents to provide for them. Most Minor League players have to rely on their signing bonus once they get drafted because they only get payed about one thousand dollars a month to play baseball. The only way a player gets a good signing bonus is if they are signed within the first round, if not they are getting barely anything.
One person that has acted on the salary is Kyle Johnson. He is a career minor league baseball player. He is in the Mets system, staying between Double A and Triple A, never being included in the forty man roster. He and former minor leaguer in the Giants, Garrett Broshuis are among many Minor League players that are filing a lawsuit against the MLB for the wages they receive. Their lawsuit seeks to apply the terms of the Fair Labor Standards act, which is in regards to the minimum wage. They believe that they are entitled to at least minimum wages. During the average week they work around five days a week, about two to midnight. They are trying to get minimum wage and are trying to get pay for working overtime. During Spring Training, they don’t even get paid. They only get covered for morning breakfast and dinner and then for some of the basic house coverages. Most players during the year have to live with sponsor families that help them with hospitality during the year.
I believe the players filing a lawsuit are doing the right thing. It is unreasonable to expect Minor League players to be happy making less than minimum wage and stay in the minors forever.
By Brendan Darcy, Sports Reporter
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. Four of the top 15 players in the NBA are all in one team’s starting lineup. This unbelievable gathering of talent on one team is unlike anything seen in the NBA prior to this year. While this may be exciting to the Golden State fans this team’s impact on the rest of the league, and the Western Conference in particular, is fairly negative in my opinion. This is a new era in NBA history where the finals matchup up year in and year out it pretty obvious, Warriors Cavs. The competition in the league just isn’t what it used to be and with the Kevin Durant move from Oklahoma City to Golden State it basically locked in the Warriors as NBA champions. As of right now in the current NBA playoffs the Warriors have not lost a game and won more games than not by ten plus points. No team in the Western Conference is even going to come close to contending with the Warriors while they are on their game and even if they have an off night they have enough star power to still beat any team in the NBA. This utter domination of their conference, and now possible the entire NBA with the addition of Durant, is taking the unpredictability of the playoffs away from the game. The Warriors are the closest thing the league has seen to a lock on winning multiple NBA championships in succession since Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
There is nothing wrong with how the Warriors acquired their players, however there is still blame and that falls on the player’s that “ring chase”. Kevin Durant was on one of the only other teams in the Western Conference that could contend with the Warriors and was one game away from beating them and advancing to the NBA finals. But instead of attempting to dethrone his biggest rivals the next year and come back stronger to achieve his goal Kevin Durant decided to play villain and live by the saying “If you can’t beat them, join them”. This great shift of power over the summer in free agency could have just started one of the greatest, yet most unfair, dynasties in NBA history. Kevin Durant alone has caused the competition in the NBA to vastly diminish. The difference between the first and fourth seeds in the Western conference, skill level wise, has never been greater. Most teams simply just cannot compete with the Warriors based on player skill alone.
To put it simply, the Warriors are not good for basketball. The NBA playoffs are less exciting, almost every other team in the Western Conference have realized that they have a very low chance to win even one game in a series with Golden State. While the Warriors are clearly one of the best, if not the best, team in NBA history and all fans of the NBA love to see great and legendary teams, in the end the Warriors have robbed from their only competition and now possess one of the most unbeatable rosters in the history of the NBA.
By Will Fay, Sports Reporter
What a great Time of the year it is to be a golf fan. The PGA Tour’s Flagship event is set to kickoff Thursday. The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass has one of the most exciting finishes in Golf, with the island green on the par 3 17 anything can happen in the final round on Mother’s Day. A month after the Players concludes the U.S. Open starts at Erin Hills Golf Course in Erin,Wisconsin. The course stretches over 7,800 yards and is made for players like Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Jon Rahm to battle it out in the final round. Another major Championship follows the U.S. Open when the Open Championship starts on July 20th at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. This is the tenth open that Birkdale has hosted and the course has produced great tournaments in the past and is sure to produce another exciting championship this summer. Here are my predictions and some players who could see themselves in the winners circle in these key championships of the 2017 golf season.
The Players Championship
No matter if you hit the ball long or far you can win at TPC Sawgrass, the key at the stadium course is hitting it in the right places (mainly not the water) and keeping your composure on the final three holes of every round. Players who win this championship are usually on good form, like Jason Day last year who had won two tournaments in 2016 prior to the players. Unfortunately for Jason I do not think he has played enough competitive Golf over the past month to be ready for this tournament. No you might be thinking the player who has the best form right now is world number one Dustin Johnson. That is true he is exploding with confidence right now after taking a month off and the nearly winning the Wells Fargo last week. I do think Dustin will be in the mix on Sunday but I think another player who has been playing extremely well over the last month will challenge him for the championship on Sunday. Justin Rose nearly won a major and he would have if Sergio Garcia had not caught a couple of lucky breaks. But Rose is determined to win a major tournament this season.
Winner: Justin Rose-He has a lot of confidence coming off the playoff loss in the Masters and is looking for redemption.
The U.S. Open
Aerial shots of Erin Hills are picturesque and make the course look extremely hard and long. The course is hosting the U.S. Open for the first time and this will be the first time the state of Wisconsin hosts a U.S. Open. The fact that this course is only 11 years old makes it very hard to predict who will win this years championship. I still think this course is made for the long, straight hitters. Dustin Johnson for sure will be in the mix because of his length alone. But a young spaniard by the name of Jon Rahm has the length and accuracy to challenge Dustin for the title. In the end Dustin has outdueled Rahm before and I believe he will do it again with his experience.
Winner:Dustin Johnson- He will still be on fire and nobody can overpower that golf course like I think he will.
The Open Championship
This is the tournament you look for Rickie Fowler or a Jordan Spieth two guys who are hungry for majors, in Rickie’s case his first major. I think Jordan will be in midseason form by that time and I think he will be playing some very good golf enough to win at an Open especially at a shorter course like Birkdale where he can light it up on the putting green. It is still unknown how players like Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day will be playing at that time which scares me away from picking them to win this open but if they are on their game they can win a major easily. Right now I do like Jordan Spieth to win around this Golf course.
Winner: Jordan Spieth- He will light it up on the greens and be striping the ball on the fairways by this point in the season.
With all these great players vying for major championships this summer should be one of the most exciting since Tiger was in his prime. But with so much young talent who could win a major it is very hard to pick who will win a major this summer. Sergio’s win at the Masters was very surprising to me because he was not on form, but he prepared properly for the Masters and was ready to win a major this year. Golf right now has so many stars who can hit the ball over 300 yards it make the game even more unpredictable and exciting to watch. The upcoming months in Golf will be filled with so much anticipation and fireworks it will be hard to blink when watching on TV and while fans and spectators wander around the course.
By Daisy Taylor, Sports Reporter
Not many people know about the difficulty and frustration that comes with college recruiting, especially for softball. Because of how competitive today’s sports are, it is much harder to commit to a Division I school later in your high school career. There are many factors that go into the recruiting process. Where you’re from, the travel team you play for, and the age at which you are starting your process are just a few of many factors that play a key part in softball college recruiting.
The Midwest is an awful place to live if you are a lover or player of baseball and softball. Because half of our year is consisted of snow, rain, and below freezing weather, we do not get to play outside year round like those who live in California or Tennessee. Our lack of consistent outside play has a huge impact on schools selecting girls to play for their team. Big Division I schools look for girls who get to play year round and are at top levels of play. Auburn and Alabama, for example, look for girls who have the opportunity to improve each and everyday outdoors. Yes, in the Midwest we practice indoors, but it will never match the same level of play as it does outside. We are not on dirt, we are not on a field. We also do not get to experience natural weather conditions such as wind. The Midwest generally produces big DII and DIII schools. Very rarely do we produce a player who is playing at a huge DI schools. Not because they are incapable of playing there, but because of where they are from.
Playing for an elite team helps tremendously when it comes to wanting to play at the college level. Playing against the top teams in the country gives you an opportunity to improve and learn. Many colleges look at the team you play for. Colleges want to see that you play at a competitive, hard level that can help transfer you from high school to college ball. My travel team, the Schaumburg Sluggers, is considered to be an elite team because of the tournaments we play in and the level we play at. We play against teams from California, Hawaii, and Florida in a tournament we have in Colorado. Colleges like to see that we play against such hard teams because they know it makes us better. My team is one of few in the area that produce DI level softball players, and that is because of the elite teams we play against. We play against many teams that are not at a competitive level, and those are the teams that do not produce top level athletes.
In today’s day and age, we have to start looking at colleges and know what we want to do in the future when we are in 7th grade. Colleges have begun to look at kids who are in eighth grade to have them play at their school. We see almost everyday a 14-year-old getting recruited to a big school because of their athletic capability. Colleges are looking for young recruits to have come to their schools when they graduate high school. An example of elite athletes committing at a young age is LaMelo Ball. LaMelo was 13 when he committed to UCLA. This is incredibly young for a top school to find someone to come play for them. A couple years ago, a girl named Stormy Kotzelnick committed to Washington for not only softball, but she is able to play basketball as well. She is a top athlete and the top player for the class of 2020. She can deadlift 240 pounds and squats 185. She is actually a local, attending Carmel High School in Mundelein. She plays for an elite team called the Beverly Bandits. She started her recruiting process at a young age, and this is what athletes have to do if they want to play at the next level.
College recruiting is a pain. It is difficult and incredibly stressful, especially if you do not meet the criteria of top players everywhere. College recruiting is incredibly hard, and my advice to you is start early.
By Connor Nash, Sports Reporter
The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the most respected and talented football schools in the nation. USC has developed multiple NFL stars in the past such as Clay Matthews, Carson Palmer, Troy Polamalu, and many more. The Trojans of USC have 11 national titles and one of the most dominant college football dynasties in NCAA history. It all began under the reign of Pete Carroll.
Former Head Coach Pete Carroll, now with the Seattle Seahawks, led the Trojans to a 96-19 record with two national championships and built a dynasty using Hollywood recruiting methods. Carroll used actors like Snoop Dogg to recruit 5-star athletes to join the USC recruiting class. Carroll brought in USC greats like Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Lendale White. Together, they brought in multiple great seasons and added fame to the USC program. Then all of a sudden, the sanctions arrived. Reggie Bush had accepted gifts from agents before his tenure was over at USC, which forced the NCAA to dish out some harsh punishments including a ban from bowl games for two years and a loss of 30 scholarships. After the punishment was given, USC football lost their relevance in the NCAA.
After many brutal seasons under former coaches Ed Orgeron and Steve Sarkisian, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden hired the perfect man for the job, Clay Helton. Clay Helton previously had been a position coach for the USC football program. Despite hiring Helton, Haden didn’t want to hire Helton as the new head coach. If it weren’t for the players, who sent Haden a letter explaining why they want Helton as the head coach, Pat Haden would’ve tried hiring a big name head coach. With the right man at the helm, the season began against the #1 ranked team in the nation, the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Multiple USC alum and faithful weren’t happy with the hiring, especially due to the 1-3 record to start the season with embarrassing losses to Alabama, Stanford, and Utah. Just as the season looked lost and Clay Helton was put on the hot seat, something magical happened in the USC locker room. Coach Helton stood in front of the team and told them he was proud of them, no matter what the result was. Yet, this revelation wasn’t the magical thing that happened. After the loss to Utah, Clay Helton announced the QB Max Browne will be benched in favor of Freshman QB Sam Darnold.
Darnold and the Trojans rattled off eight straight wins including a major victory over the #4 ranked Washington Huskies. However, the Trojans still weren’t in line for the conference championships and their Rose Bowl prayers were slowly slipping away. Then, Washington destroyed Colorado in the PAC-12 championship game, leaving USC in a position to play Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
The Rose Bowl went back and forth all the way down to the wire. Sam Darnold was bordering 500 yards, but the defense didn’t know how to stop RB Saquon Barkley and QB Trace McSorley. All of a sudden, Darnold led USC to a major comeback to tie it with a minute left in the fourth quarter. McSorley was leading Penn State down the field before he threw in a interception to Safety Leon McQuay. McQuay ran the ball back into field goal range, where kicker Matt Boermeester put the Trojans ahead as time ran out. USC were Rose Bowl Champions.
Now heading into the 2017-18 season, Sam Darnold is back at QB and the USC Trojans will be ranked in the top 5. During the recruiting season, they added five 5-star players. The increased passion to join the USC football program is leading the resurgence of USC football. USC is now projected to land in the College Football Playoff for the first time in the College Football Playoff era. USC will compete for a spot in the playoffs and their first PAC-12 Championship since 2008.
By Jacob Newman, Sports Reporter
It is always the same story with the LSU Tiger football team, an outstanding defense and lackluster offense. But, the tide has changed in Baton Rouge with newly acquired Head Coach Ed Orgeron and first year Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada. Orgeron promised to build a championship program “fast, very fast”, and with the addition of Matt Canada that is a very realistic goal. I was very excited to see the new-look offense that Matt Canada has brought to LSU. But, I was very disappointed in what I saw on that Friday night. Yes, it was nice to see LSU players in motion in a more modern offensive scheme, but in the end the defense dominated (like it always does). Coach Orgeron said that the “offense was tired of getting their butt kicked all spring”, but I’m not buying it. Nothing made me more excited than the addition of Matt Canada from Pitt. Canada has had a past of developing quarterbacks and beating some of the best competition in the country. For example, last year at Pitt Canada made Nathan Peterman, who was a 3 star recruit out of high school, into a 5th round pick this year. He also took down the National Champions in the Clemson Tigers, putting up 43 points against their top of the line defense. With all the talent LSU brings in year in and year out Matt Canada has been put in a very good spot. Some of the guys to watch out for on the offensive side of the ball include…