Beth Long’s football recruiting notebook

Phillips' Jahleel Billingsley tucks the ball away and heads to the end zone. September 16, 2017. Allen Cunningham / For the Sun Times.

Glenbard West’s offensive firepower was evident in a big 35-3 win over top-ten opponent Lyons.

The Hilltoppers are always known for their staunch defense, but this year it’s their offense that is turning heads, led by seniors Dre Thomas, Tyquan Cox and Alec Pierce. All three athletes are attracting attention from colleges.

Thomas, a 6-1, 190-pound running back, has long limbs, is quick when he turns upfield and doesn’t shying away from contact.

“I think since last year my my speed has improved and my vision has gotten better,” Thomas said. “Plus our offensive line is making holes for me and that has helped my vision improve.”

Recruiting is starting to heat up for Thomas.

“Right now I have Wyoming and North Dakota State looking at me, along with a few other small schools and colleges,” Thomas said.

Thomas says that experience is a key factor in the development of Glenbard West’s offense.

“We had a lot of juniors playing on offense last year,” Thomas said. “So coach has been able to rely on the offense this season, we are so explosive. Our defense is still great.”

Even though his game continues to improve as a senior, Thomas has his sights set on what he could eventually do at the college level.

“I can do it all on the field,” Thomas said. “I can catch, block and run the ball.”

Alec Pierce, who plays both ways for Glenbard West as a wide receiver and defensive back, is another impact player. He had a goal line interception on Friday and several game-changing receptions. Pierce has gained around 20 pounds since his junior season.

“I’ve been trying to become a better all-around receiver, catching and running with the ball,” Pierce said. “Last year I was mostly just a deep threat. I could always go up and get the ball but this year I am focusing on running after the catch, blocking and I’ve been lifting a lot.”

The added size has helped Pierce’s game.

“Last year I was 6-2, low 180’s,” Pierce said. “It’s helped me block kids much easier and I can go up and get the ball and just stronger overall so it’s harder for them to tackle me.”

Pierce has offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois and several more — but his eye on a specific conference.

“Recruiting is going well, I’m kind of just waiting it out trying to get a Power Five offer,” Pierce said. “I have offesr from MAC and Ivy league schools but I’d like to play Big Ten ball.”

New Offers

Phillips junior defensive end Jahleel Billingsley is drawing tons of recruiting interest. He’s recently added offers from Illinois, Toledo and Central Michigan most recently. The 6-5, 230-pound athlete is one to watch.

Another area prospect is back on the market. De La Salle linebacker Joe Bonds recently decommited from Western Michigan. He’s receiving interest from Wyoming and Northern Illinois.

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