Scouting the Naperville Central Redhawks
The rich got a whole lot richer.
Naperville Central's football team may have graduated all-state quarterback Payton Thorne, now at Michigan State, but in steps junior Minnesota commit Sam Jackson with an accurate cannon arm and immense athleticism.
And he's bringing some receiver friends.
Illinois-bound Jadon Thompson, a Marist transfer, and sophomore Reggie Fleurima, a Naperville North transfer whose offers include Virginia Tech, Missouri, Minnesota, Purdue and Illinois, have arrived to electrify the offense.
That trio alone gives Naperville Central hope for another state title run led by Jackson, who last season at receiver had 46 catches for 805 yards.
"If all those pieces come together, we've got a lot of talent," said Redhawks coach Mike Stine.
That's not all. Keon Green transferred from Bloom and Jake Lynch from Bolingbrook to bolster the receiving corps. Bo Turner is a returner who holds an offer from Army.
Before getting caught up with the flashy names and numbers, though, keep in mind the Redhawks have work to do in the ground game with only two linemen returning, Ryan Lakin and Spencer Roehll. Running back Benn Tadd had a great off-season, but he has limited varsity experience.
The defense is even thinner on experience with three starters returning -- lockdown cornerback Jamarri Moore and linemen Sean Key and Angelo Eklou. The young unit has a pair of talented junior linebackers in Shane Roth and Luke Peterson.
For all the star power, Stine knows this team has a lot of work to do to become title worthy.
"We know we'll be a marked team and get everyone's 'A' game," Stine said. "We've talked to the kids about the attention, but it's all about getting everyone on the same page for Naperville Central football."
One to watch: Another brutal nonconference schedule includes a Week 2 game against Lincoln-Way East.
Coach: Mike Stine (14th year, 95-48).
2018 record: 7-4, 4-0, first in DuPage Valley Conference.
Top players: QB Sam Jackson, jr.; WR Jadon Thompson, sr.; WR Reggie Fleurima, so.; DB Jamarri Moore, sr.; DL Sean Key, sr.; DL Angelo Eklou, sr.; WR Bo Turner, sr.; OL Ryan Lakin, sr.; OL Spencer Roehll, sr.; DL Olen Nanninga, sr.; WR Keon Green, jr.; WR Riley Suda, sr.
-- Kevin Schmit
Fri, Aug 30, Naperville Central at Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 6, Lincoln-Way East at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 13, Naperville Central at Pickerington Central (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Fri, Sep 20, Metea Valley at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 27, Naperville Central vs. Naperville North (North Central College), 7 p.m.
Fri, Oct 4, Naperville Central at Neuqua Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 11, Naperville Central at Waubonsie Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 18, DeKalb at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 25, East St. Louis at Naperville Central, 7 p.m.