Beth Long’s football recruiting notebook

Phillips' Fabian McCray (7) picks off a pass intended for Lemont's Austin Nagel (2), November 11, 2017. Allen Cunningham / for the Sun-Times.

Phillips running back and linebacker Craig Elmore is a threat no matter where he is on the field. The senior is turning heads this season and colleges are noticing.

“I am excited that the coaches have trust in me to play both sides of the ball and I am thankful that I have the ability to actually play both ways,” Elmore said. “I am glad the team trusts me to do it as well.”

The 5-9, 215-pound athlete doesn’t put much stock into the fact that he’s dynamic on both sides of the ball, but it has helped lead the Wildcats to the Class 5A semifinals. Phillips beat Lemont 15-3 in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

“I never really think that I’m going to have a huge day on this side of the ball and not the other, I just try to play as hard as I can every play,” Elmore said. “Lemont’s defense was great and the game was hard.” Elmore said.

As for recruiting, it’s moving forward for Elmore.

“Recruiting is going,” Elmore said. “I have talked to coaches and I hear from them that everything will happen in December.”

Elmore has improved and changed his game this season. He’s added weight and power. As a freshman, he tipped the scales at 180 pounds and is now 220 pounds. He’s also worked on his leadership style.

“I’ve improved my leadership a lot this season,” Elmore said. “Last year I was told I was a good player and people would say that next year it was my team. I didn’t want to hear that because I wanted to focus on the present. Now that I’m here though I’m happy to get that respect from the guys.”

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Marist receiver Jadon Thompson has seen his recruitment take off over the last several weeks. He’s added several offers, most notably from Indiana and Illinois. The Illini were the first to offer the 6-2, 160 pound sophomore. Thompson contributed in a major way to a quick-strike Marist offense this season.

Another young athlete starting to add offers is Phillips receiver Fabian McCray. The junior had two touchdowns and two interceptions against Lemont.

“Recruiting is going well, I’ve got a lot of coaches talking to me and I’m trying to get down for some visits,” McCray said. “But right now the days that we play on are the same days that they are playing on so it’s been kind of hard to get out to visits recently.”

McCray has scholarship offers from Toledo and Western Michigan and interest from several other schools.

“I am trying to visit Minnesota and Cincinnati as soon as possible,” McCray said.

McCray has been playing on varsity since he was a freshman. He’s quick to mention where he’s improved the most.

“My footwork and route running for sure,” McCray said.

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