SKOKIE, Ill. – I braved the first real cold night of Midwest high school football here at Niles North Friday. It turned out to be well worth the minimal sacrifice.
Glenbrook North overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to defeat the home team, Niles North, 34-30. The Spartans scored 20 unanswered points to win it.
The game entertained as did Iowa verbal commitment Barrington Wade. The 6-foot-1, 218-pounder from Niles North excelled at running back, linebacker, and on kick and punt returns. He carried the ball 33 times for 232 yards and a touchdown.
EVALUATION: I watched this game with a complete open mind. The Iowa coaches have told Wade that he’ll start at running back with the possibility of moving to linebacker.
It says a lot about the player that he has the potential to play on either side of the ball on the next level. After watching him live, I see why that’s the case.
Wade is all of 6-1, 218 with plenty of room to add weight to his frame. When he does so, it will accentuate his ability to play physically and downhill on both sides of the ball. The ceiling is high here.
First on offense since, for now at least, that’s where he’ll start in Iowa City. Wade is long and eats up ground quick with strides. He’s at his best when blasting through the hole and running up field. He’s tough to tackle when momentum is generated.
Several times, Wade tried to stretch out the run to the sideline in hopes of getting the edge or cutting it back up and was stopped on those plays. His coaches yelled at him to just go forward and he was very successful doing so. He also would benefit from a lower pad level as he tends to run upright.
Wade didn’t show top-end speed but he wasn’t a slug either. On his touchdown run, he ran over a few would-be tacklers at the line and then outran the safeties. As I said, when he got a head of steam, his power-speed mix impressed.
Flipping over to the other side of the ball, Wade moves all over the field. He makes the offense account for him and shows an excellent understanding of the defense and has nose for the ball.
Wade flows really well to the action and knows to stay in his lane to contain and allow teammates to make tackles. He boasts a knack for finding holes to get to the ball and also can overpower blockers.
Wade looked solid against the run, rushing the passer and also in coverage. I haven’t see a whole lot of linebackers at this level in the last few years as well-rounded as was he.
I left the field here Friday feeling Iowa picked up a player with intriguing potential. I can see him as a productive running back but think he has a chance to stand out at linebacker.
Here are the highlights I shot from the game: