Rockford Auburn offensive lineman Vederian Lowe left little doubt that he was the best prospect at Barrington on Saturday ... by far. A slimmer, trimmer Lowe -- though he still weighed in at 334 pounds -- moved better than he had in the past but still displayed the power that already had made him a power-five prospect. Lowe simply dominated one-on-one drills against power-five DL prospects Jackson Perkins and Joshua Maize, though Maize did rip under and past him once. Lowe even has the potential to play tackle due to his long arms (7-foot, 1-inch wingspan). He still needs some technique work and to lean up a little more, but Lowe left little doubt that he should be an Illini priority.
Rockford East defensive back Marcus Hayes committed in February to Western Michigan, but expect Illinois to show a lot more love after Saturday's performance. He doesn't have elite measureables (5-foot-10, 192-pounds, 4.78 40-yard dash) but he has solid size and speed and is a top competitor. He's a little raw as a defensive back but has made big strides, suggesting he's just starting to scratch the surface of his DB abilities.
Barrington defensive end Jackson Perkins certainly looks the part. He's long, lean and athletic -- he's a very good basketball player, as well -- and looks like he has the frame to carry a lot more weight. Perkins isn't the fastest (he ran a 4.99 40) but he has enough burst off the line. He projects well as a strongside defensive end -- though if he bulks up, he has the potential to slide inside and offer some versatility. He needs to keep progressing his pass-rush skills and must continue to add strength, evidenced by his struggles one-on-one against Lowe. He holds an Illinois offer and also has interest from Minnesota, Michigan and Notre Dame. While he probably needs time to develop, Perkins gives his college team a lot to work with.
The triplet brother of Nebraska commit Matt Sichterman, Kings (Ohio) defensive end Dan Sichterman showed the best quickness of the FBS-caliber defensive linemen in attendance. Sichterman gets off the ball well and changes direction in a flash. However, he's a classic 'tweener. If he were an inch or two taller and a bit thicker, he'd be a no-doubt power-five offer. Still, if he bulks up a bit and keeps his quickness, he could fit well in the right defensive system. UConn and Air Force have offered.
Prairie Ridge 2018 athlete Samson Evans plays quarterback in a triple-option scheme at Prairie Ridge -- and he plays it well. He ran for more than 1,966 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. However, his college future likely is at receiver or defensive back. And he showed plenty of potential on Saturday, running the camp's fastest 40-yard dash times (4.46 and 4.49). Evans also performed well in the broad jump. He's simply a great athlete and could project well as a slot receiver at the FBS level.
- Deerfield 2017 defensive end Joshua Maize appears to be a tough call for the Illini. He has some unique pass-rushing potential but doesn't have blazing speed and a shorter frame (6-foot-2). He must continue to develop his body and comfort with a hand on the ground. Illinois is his dream school, but Indiana has offered, and Maize wants to make a decision very soon.
- St. Charles North 2017 tight end Griffin Hammer is a good-looking prospect, but what separates him and new Mizzou tight end commit Logan Christopherson is three inches in height. Hammer (6-foot-3, 224 pounds) is strong, moves well (4.80 40) and has huge hands, but he may project better as a superback than an inline Big Ten tight end.
- Barrington 2017 tight end Josh Babicz has a nice blend of size (6-4.5, 215 pounds) and decent speed (4.86 40). He was fluid in running routes and caught the ball well away from his body. He has room to add weight and can be a sleeper if he is able to carry that weight well at the college level.
- Warren 2017 wide receiver Jalin Tolbert is often overlooked because of 2018 teammate Micah Jones, but the 6-foot Tolbert has serious speed (4.59 40). Jones lacks it, however, running a 4.89 40 on Saturday. Jones, though, has a huge frame (6-foot-4, 195 pound), long arms and big hands. His game will center around physicality and attacking the ball in the air.
- Two 2018 prospects to watch are Rockford Guilford defensive back Julian Haynie and Glenbard North cornerback Tyrik Henderson. Haynie (6-foot-1, 196 pounds), is a good athlete (4.64 40) and could play linebacker or safety. Henderson didn't run a blazing 40 (4.75) but is phenomenal in coverage.