IL Next Series: Part 1

By Jake Lemming

Posted On: 10/12/20 3:23 PM

With football recruiting occurring at a younger age now; I decided to take a look at some of the top prospects in Illinois that have yet to enter high school. I scoured through tons of game film and workout videos to find some of the states best. Here’s who stood out!

QB Logan Malachuk, Naperville Patriots

This 8th grader has a rocket attached to his arm and can easily drop 50-yard bombs already! Logan shows good footwork in the pocket and can throw on the run as well as a high school senior. He has great timing with his wide receivers and can extend plays with his legs once the pocket breaks down. Tremendous upside and will be a great fit in a wide-open spread offense.

QB: Trae Taylor, Crystal Lake Raiders

Taylor is a true dual-threat who can not only beat you with his arm but also with his legs. Despite only being 12 years old, Taylor keeps his eyes downfield when flushed out of the pocket and can effortlessly drop passes to a wideout while on the move. He has a solid arm for a youngster and knows how to transfer his weight on the deep ball.

ATH: Braylon Bower, Huntley

This fall Bower has lined up as a QB for the first time ever and has shown a ton of potential. This kid is not afraid to sit in the pocket and take a lick if it means hitting his target. That’s a trait that’s hard to find in most high school QB’s! Bower is a powerful runner with the football in his hands and will run you over if you get in his way. I’m interested in seeing his growth as a QB because I do think he could have a future at another position as well.

DE: Iose Epenesa, Edwardsville

I have not been able to get much film on Iose, but based on my research the athleticism is most certainly there. He finished third at state in the shotput as a 6th grader! He’s also a great rebounder on the hardwood. He’s put together at 6’3.5 & 200 pounds and shows no sines of slowing down. His brother A.J. was a five-star himself and Iose could be the next great Epenesa. He already holds an FBS offer from Utah.

WR: Omar Coleman, Naperville Patriots

This kid has impressive footwork for a wideout at such a young age. He’s got good top-end speed and can easily drop his hips and stick his toe in the ground at the top of his route. Despite being only in 8th grade, he can run just about every route on the route tree. He’s a hands catcher and refuses to let the ball get into his body. Keep an eye on this kid for the next few years.

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