Beth Long’s football recruiting notebook

Marist's Kendrick Nowling, right, grabs a loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown after Brother Rice's John Richardson fumbled and was tackled by Marist's Danny Meehan Friday night at Marist in Chicago. Photo for Sun-Times/Jean Lachat

The start of the season brings the rise of seniors who were on the cusp of the recruiting process as juniors. One such player is Marist linebacker Danny Meehan.

In Week 1, Meehan was all over the field in a win over rival Brother Rice, making a number of big plays in the backfield. It was a special game for a senior whose class had not beaten Brother Rice.

“It was awesome,” Meehan said. “The intensity in school all day was super high and coming out it’s our rivals, we haven’t beaten them before so we just got the win,” Meehan said.

Schools are starting to take notice of Meehan, an all-around athlete measuring in at 6-2, 215-pounds.

“I have been talking to Dayton, Drake and Holy Cross,” Meehan said. “Obviously the goal is to go as high as I can, but whatever school is going to give me the chance to play, I’ll be happy.”

Marist’s defense is loaded with talent, including Minnesota commit Elijah Teague, Indiana commit Gavin McCabe and several young prospects.

“Our ceiling is super high, we have a lot of young guys out here and our seniors can even get better,” Meehan said. “We can only go up from here. I’m really excited about where we are at.”

Sophomore emerging

Speedy Lincoln-Way East sophomore AJ Henning put on a show against defending Class 8A champions Maine South on Friday. And as talented as he is, the nerves got to him — just a little before kickoff.

“There were definitely a lot of people here, the nerves were going at first but when I got in the game I was ready to go,” Henning said.

Henning has one offer already and he’s starting to pick up steam on the recruiting trail.

“I’ve had a lot of follows on twitter, I actually received my first offer from the University of Illinois this past summer so hopefully more to come,” Henning said.

As for the Illini, Henning likes what he’s seen so far.

“I like the coaching staff, they are very family oriented and they have a nice facility and a nice team and I love watching them,” Henning said.

Henning ran a 10.67 100-meter dash and that track speed is helping to set him apart on the recruiting trail.

“My track background helps me with breakaway speed, getting away from defenders, running into my routes, running out of the backfield, overall it helps a lot,” Henning said.

He showed that off on Friday, most notably on a 92-yard reception where he beat nearly all eleven defensive players on the field.

“When the ball got in the air I knew it was gone,” Henning said. “The line blocked well and it was a great ball that I just went under and caught it and showed that speed.”

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