High School: Kapri Bibbs

The year's top 10 prep football storylines

December, 26, 2010
ESPNChicago.com will review some of top the prep storylines of 2010 over the next week. Here are the top 10 high school football stories.

1. Taking their place in history: Wheaton Warrenville South was dominant from the 2010 season’s opening kickoff to its final seconds. The Tigers began the season by knocking off Maine South on ESPN, followed that up by rolling through one of the toughest conferences in the state, battled through a deep Class 7A field which included last year’s state runner-up Glenbard West and ultimately defeated Lake Zurich and its stellar defense for their second consecutive state championship. They finished No. 1 in ESPNChicago.com’s area poll and No. 13 nationally in ESPN RISE’s poll.

2. East St. Louis’ dismissal : If anyone was going to give Wheaton Warrenville South competition, East St. Louis was the team. The Flyers were also nationally ranked and full of college prospects. Just before the playoffs began, the IHSA ruled East St. Louis would be removed from the Class 7A playoff field because they used an ineligible player. The Flyers appealed the IHSA’s judgment, were granted a temporary restraining order and won their first-round playoff game before the IHSA finally ruled again and East St. Louis was removed from the playoffs for good.

3. The unlikely 3-peat: Maine South’s chances of winning its third consecutive state championship looked much in doubt when the Hawks opened the season with back-to-back losses, including a 44-7 one to Wheaton Warrenville South on national television. Maine South never lost faith, though. The young Hawks got better and better each week, and when it was all said and done, they were on top again. They defeated another historic program, Mount Carmel, in the Class 8A state championship.

4. The best by far: Wheaton Warrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O'Toole ran away with the ESPNChicago.com High School Football Player of the Year award. While leading the Tigers to their second consecutive state championship, he completed 186-of-252 passes for 3,187 yards, 42 touchdowns and three interceptions. An Illinois recruite, he could give the Illini’s young quarterbacks a run for their money sooner rather than later.

5. Bibbs’ day: The question Kapri Bibbs received more than any other this season was whether his commitment to Colorado State was still firm. The reason everyone asked that was because they assumed bigger schools would come calling for him after the Plainfield North running back rushed all over the competition this season. His biggest game was when he ran for a state-record 520 yards against Oswego in Week 6. He also added seven touchdowns in the win. To his credit, Bibbs is loyal and will be playing for the Rams. He was the ESPNChicago.com Offensive Player of the Year.

6. Hiben’s day : Glenbard West isn’t known for its passing game. The Hilltoppers like to run the ball as much as possible. But in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs, Glenbard West senior wide receiver Mark Hiben put his team’s passing game in the record books. Hiben caught 12 passes for a state-record 319 yards in the Hilltoppers’ 42-28 win over Lincoln-Way East.

[+] EnlargeRobert Gregory
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comQuarterback Robert Gregory took Simeon deep into the playoffs and the Wolverines should be a state-title contender again next season.
7. Simeon says: The Public League has never won a state title. Simeon nearly changed that this season. Powered by the state’s most explosive offense, the Wolverines defeated Mount Carmel to open the season, went undefeated throughout the regular season, won their first two Class 7A playoff games and lost to Lake Zurich 17-14 in the quarterfinals. With quarterback Robert Gregory returning, Simeon should again be a threat to go all the way next season.

8. The greatest show in Vernon Hills: The state of Illinois possessed two ESPNU Top 150 players this season, and they both happened to belong to the same team. Vernon Hills was blessed with two of the state’s most dynamic players in DaVaris Daniels and Evan Spencer. Daniels, a Notre Dame recruit, had 23 catches for 513 yards and five touchdowns, threw for 173 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 637 yards and 10 touchdowns, returned two punts for touchdowns, intercepted six passes and scored one defensive touchdown. Spencer, a Ohio State recruit, had 23 catches for 410 yards and six touchdowns, rushed for 266 yards and eight touchdowns, returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns, intercepted two passes and had two defensive touchdowns.

9. Catholic League trio: Before the season, the Catholic League title was thought to be a race between Loyola, Mount Carmel and St. Rita. While it was expected to be close in the end, no one could have imagined that all three would share the title. Loyola defeated St. Rita, St. Rita defeated Mount Carmel, Mount Carmel defeated Loyola, and they all tied for first place.

10. The turnaround : Craig Buzea took over a Homewood-Flossmoor program that a season ago was one of the worst in the area, going 1-8. In just a year’s time, Buzea transformed the Vikings’ culture and their record. Homewood-Flossmoor went 10-3 this season and fell just short of reaching the Class 8A title game, losing 28-21 to Mount Carmel in the semifinals. With quarterback Tim Williams returning and Buzea still making strides to improve the program, watch out for the Vikings down the road.

Offensive Player of the Year: Kapri Bibbs

November, 25, 2010
Plainfield North coach Tim Kane wasn’t knocking his offensive linemen -- he knows they worked hard this season -- but they weren’t exactly the largest line around.

Kane’s biggest player was 6-2 and 215 pounds while most of them were around 5-10 and 205 pounds. The linemen opened holes, but the holes weren’t exactly the same as the ones a line of 260-plus pounders can produce. That’s just a fact.

[+] EnlargeKapri Bibbs
Scott Powers for ESPN.comKapri Bibbs ran for 2,654 yards and 38 touchdowns this season.
Kane could only imagine how many more yards and touchdowns ESPNChicago.com Offensive Player of the Year Kapri Bibbs could have added to his total if he had a massive line to run behind. Without it, he still amassed 2,654 yards and 38 touchdowns during an unforgettable senior season at Plainfield North.

“I know there are some great running backs in the state of Illinois,” Kane said. “I think we had a bunch of kids who worked their tail off, but he wasn’t running behind linemen who are 6-4 and 295 pounds. I’m not taking anything away from our kids, but there are kids running behind offensive lines that size.”

Not only did Bibbs have an average-sized line, but his opponents knew he was going to get the ball and prepared every week for him. Yet, Bibbs still ran wild.

He rumbled for 338 yards and six touchdowns against Grant. He had 306 yards and four touchdowns against Plainfield Central. He rushed for 340 yards and four touchdowns against Romeoville. He had 354 yards and five touchdowns against rival Plainfield South.

Those were just his good days. His best one came when he ran for a state-record 520 yards against Oswego on Oct. 1.

“I thought he was going to be better than last year, but to put up the numbers he did, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that or anticipated that,” Kane said. “When I sit down to put together the highlight tape for his senior year, it’s going to be an amazing sight.”

Staying on the subject of sight, Kane and Bibbs agreed it was his vision that separated him from most backs. Bibbs ran this season as if he saw the play unfold before it actually unfolded. He cut at the right moment. He stopped at the right moment. He burst through a hole at the right moment.

“Definitely, it’s my vision,” Bibbs said. “That’s what I appreciate most as a running back. Speed can’t get you everywhere. If you can have speed, vision and power, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with. There’s no stopping that.”

Colorado State, where Bibbs is headed next season, is surely hoping that continues. While other schools have continued to call during Bibbs’ historic season, he’s continued to stay firm on his original commitment.

For one, Bibbs is loyal, so he says he wouldn’t change his mind no matter what school was interested. Secondly, he wants to create something of his own at Colorado State.

“I want to be able to build something,” Bibbs said. “I don’t want to go somewhere that’s already built. I want to be able to build a legacy.”

O'Toole, Bibbs lead Player of Year race

October, 27, 2010
Kapri BibbsScott Powers/ESPNChicago.comPlainfield North's Kapri Bibbs is still in the Player of the Year race after rushing for 395 yards last week.

ESPNChicago.com’s Player of the Year race is heating up. It’s down to six players. It’s still Reilly O’Toole’s award to lose, but the opening few playoff rounds could decide it all.

1. Reilly O’Toole, SR, QB, Wheaton Warrrenville South (previously ranked No. 1)
Last week: O’Toole closed out an impressive regular season by completing 13-of-16 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 71 yards on six carries in a 42-6 win over West Aurora. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 9-0.
Season: 106-of-145 passing for 1,946 yards, 29 touchdowns and one interception; two rushing touchdowns.

2. Kapri Bibbs, SR, RB, Plainfield North (2)
Last week: Bibbs had another remarkable week to keep himself near O’Toole. Bibbs rushed for 395 yards and five touchdowns on 56 carries in Plainfield North’s 43-35 win over Plainfield South. Plainfield North improved to 7-2.
Season: 2,519 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns on 280 carries.

3. Nick Meyer, SR, QB, Elk Grove (3)
Last week: Anyone outside of Bibbs and O’Toole are likely a long shot at this point, but Meyer kept himself in consideration this past week. He was 15-for-24 passing for 257 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 58 yards and one touchdown in a 35-21 win over Rolling Meadows. Elk Grove improved to 7-2.
Season: 159-of-258 passing for 2,092 yards and 19 touchdowns; 885 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.

4. DaVaris Daniels, SR, WR, Vernon Hills (2)
Last week: Daniels rushed for 68 yards and one touchdown on three carries, completed 2-of-3 passes for 29 yards and caught two passes for 51 yards in Vernon Hills’ 55-6 win over North Chicago. Vernon Hills improved to 8-1.
Season: 9-of-20 passing for 141 yards and one touchdown; 13 receptions for 341 yards and four touchdowns; 431 rushing yards and seven touchdowns; two punt return touchdowns; three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.

5. Robert Gregory, JR, QB, Simeon (5)
Last week: Gregory’s numbers don’t compare to the others, but it’s not his fault. Simeon has been rolling through opponents, and he’s not needed much. In last week’s 48-14 win over Brooks, he completed 2-of-2 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for one yard and one touchdown on one carry. Simeon improved to 9-0.
Season: 46-of-77 passing for 971 yards and 14 touchdowns; 777 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.

6. Josh Ferguson, SR, RB, Joliet Catholic (6)
Last week: Ferguson ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in Joliet Catholic’s 45-0 win over Benet. The Hilltoppers improved to 8-1.
Season: 1,362 yards and 20 touchdowns on 104 carries.

Player of the Year race: Week 8 update

October, 13, 2010
Wheaton Warrenville South quarterback Reilly O’Toole has yet to have an off night through seven weeks.

With only a few games remaining, the ESPNChicago.com High School Football Player of the Year award is O’Toole’s to lose. Either he’ll need to have a really poor game or someone will need a really great one for that to change.

The number of candidates was cut down to 11 this week.

1. Wheaton Warrrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole (previously ranked No. 1)

Last week: O’Toole only needed to play one half in Wheaton Warrenville South’s 56-0 win over West Chicago. He completed 8-of-9 passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 7-0.

Season: 79-of-107 passing for 1,518 yards, 23 touchdowns and one interception; two rushing touchdowns.

2. Vernon Hills senior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels (3)

Last week: Daniels’ 86-yard punt-return touchdown against Grant was one of the more electrifying plays of his season. According to Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken, Daniels made 10 or 11 guys miss, and a couple of those missed a few times. Daniels also had four tackles, one forced fumble, one reception for 13 yards and 12 rushing yards on three carries.

Season: 4-of-6 passing for 71 yards and one touchdown; 11 receptions for 290 yards and four touchdowns; 258 rushing yards and six touchdowns; two punt return touchdowns; three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.

3. Plainfield North senior running back Kapri Bibbs (2)

Last week: Bibbs was slowed down -- at least for his standards -- in Plainfield North’s 35-34 loss to Minooka. He rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries. Plainfield North fell to 5-2.

Season: 1,887 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns on 190 carries.

4. Elk Grove senior quarterback Nick Meyer (5)

Last week: Meyer was 18-of-20 for 225 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in Elk Grove’s 28-13 win over Hersey. The Grenadiers improved to 6-1.

Season: 118-of-193 passing for 1,553 yards and 15 touchdowns; 679 yards and 11 touchdowns on 114 carries.

5. Naperville North senior linebacker Nick Lifka (4)

Last week: Lifka was his usual defensive beast in Naperville North’s 49-21 win over Glenbard East on Friday. Lifka had 11 tackles to lead the Huskies. Naperville North improved to 5-2.

Season: 88 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, three sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

6. Simeon junior quarterback Robert Gregory (6)

Last week: Gregory was very efficient in Simeon’s 55-6 win over Lincoln Park on Saturday. He completed 2-of-2 passes for 79 yards and ran for 63 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries. The Wolverines improved to 7-0.

Season: 41-of-71 passing for 787 yards and 10 touchdowns; 674 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.

7. Schaumburg senior running back Shepard Little (7)

Last week: Little, the ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week, rushed for 99 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries in Schaumburg’s 42-21 win over Conant. The Saxons improved to 5-2.

Season: 1,274 yards and 16 touchdowns on 155 carries; two receiving touchdowns.

8. Joliet Catholic senior running back Josh Ferguson (10)

Last week: Ferguson ran wild again. He scored three touchdowns, including an 80-yarder, in the Hilltoppers’ 73-27 win over St. Patrick. Joliet Catholic improved to 6-1.

Season: 929 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 74 carries.

9. Lake Zurich senior running back Jacob Brinlee (9)

Last week: Brinlee scored one of his team’s two touchdowns in a 14-0 win over Warren on Saturday. He finished with 114 rushing yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. Lake Zurich improved to 6-1.

Season: 949 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 90 carries; one receiving touchdown.

10. Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver (12)

Last week: Weaver completed 13-of-22 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in Loyola’s 45-7 win over Fenwick. The Ramblers improved to 6-1.

Season: 97-of-172 passing for 1,513 yards and 22 touchdowns.

11. St. Rita senior running back Jahwon Akui (13)

Last week: Akui rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries in St. Rita’s 31-19 win over Providence. The Mustangs improved to 7-0.

Season: 917 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 186 carries.

Week 6 Notebook: Bibbs' record effort

October, 5, 2010
There certainly isn’t an ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week jinx.

Just days after receiving the honor, Plainfield North’s Kapri Bibbs rushed for a state-record 520 yards and seven touchdowns in a win over Oswego on Friday.

Bibbs’ performance tops another highlight-filled week.

Powers’ playmakers:

1) Bibbs could fill all five top-playmaker slots with the game he had Friday. Colorado State is probably feeling pretty good about its future running back.

2) Maine South sophomore Matt Alviti has the makings of another star quarterback for the Hawks. He threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for two more in Maine South’s 49-8 win over Evanston.

3) Plainfield South wide receiver Alex Flores caught four passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 59-20 win over Plainfield Central.

4) Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver was 18 for 29 for 396 yards and six touchdowns in Loyola’s 49-27 win over Brother Rice.

5) Lincoln-Way East wide receiver J.J. Robertson had touchdown catches of 60 and 77 yards in the Griffins’ 30-14 win over Sandburg on Friday.

Defensive delights:

1) Glenbrook South’s John Strickland intercepted two passes in the Titans’ 30-0 win over Waukegan. He also ran for 161 yards.

2) Vernon Hills’ defense shut out its sixth consecutive opponent Saturday with a 48-0 win over Wauconda. The Cougars have outscored opponents 288-0 this season.

3) Fenwick’s Joe Kelly had three interceptions in the Friars’ 17-7 win over Providence on Saturday.

4) Bartlett picked off five passes in its 42-23 upset win over South Elgin.

5) Crystal Lake South had two sacks and two interceptions in its 28-14 win over Jacobs. The Gators have allowed 58 points this season.

Five-star football:

1) York 26, Lyons 16: York is off to its best start in school history after the Dukes knocked off previously-unbeaten Lyons. York running back Ryan Kent rushed for 140 of his 195 yards in the second half.

2) Lemont 37, Tinley Park 33: Lemont’s Clayton Fejedelem returned a punt for a 67-yard touchdown with 11 seconds remaining to defeat Tinley Park.

3) Stevenson 24, Lake Zurich 23: Stevenson drove down the field and scored with three seconds remaining to upset Lake Zurich on the road.

4) Hubbard 24, Amundsen 14: Hubbard rallied from a 6-0 halftime deficit for the win. The undefeated Greyhounds were led by Jonathan McClellan’s 236 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

5) Barrington 34, Schaumburg 32: The Broncos stopped Schaumburg on a two-point conversion with 46 seconds left to pull out the Mid-Suburban West win. Quarterback Matt LeMire threw four touchdowns in the victory.

POTW: Plainfield North's Kapri Bibbs

September, 28, 2010
PLAINFIELD, Ill. – How many defenders does it take to tackle Plainfield North senior running back Kapri Bibbs?


One to latch onto to him. A second to slow him down. A third to put him to the ground.

[+] EnlargeCapri Bibbs
Scott Powers for ESPN.comPlainfield North's Kapri Bibbs has rushed for 1,169 yards and 19 touchdowns in four games.
“When I run the ball, you have to have the mentality that nobody’s going to stop you,” Bibbs said. “That’s the first thing that comes in my head. It’s not going to be one person or two people to bring me down. You need at least three people to bring me down. I’m going to keep going if you’re clawing at me, hanging on my back.”

Opposing defenses have been discovering that the hard way this season. Bibbs, the ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week, has not only been envisioning that no one can stop him, but he’s also been proving it.

Despite missing Plainfield North’s season opener, Bibbs has rushed for 1,169 yards and 19 touchdowns in four games. He’s run for 300-plus yards on three occasions and has scored four or more touchdowns in all of his games.

“Whenever you see him run and do some of the things he does, you expect them to a certain extent,” Plainfield North coach Tim Kane said. “We knew he had made quite some progress, but some of the things he has done during games quite honestly have been special.”

Bibbs’ season did get off to a slow start as he had to miss the season opener because he hadn’t participated in enough preseason practices to be eligible.

In Week 2, he quickly made up for lost time. Against Grant, he rushed for 338 yards and six touchdowns, both career highs.

From there, Bibbs knew this season would be one to remember.

“My sophomore year I was real dominant at the sophomore level, but I was jittery my junior year,” Bibbs said. “This year I’m putting out all my weapons. I’m not holding back, and I love it.

“I feel stronger. I feel faster. I feel like those 11 guys on the defense don’t stand a chance against the offense. That’s how I feel.”

For anyone who thought Bibbs’ first game was a fluke, he went out the next week and ran for 177 yards and five touchdowns against Plainfield East. The following week he had 306 yards and four touchdowns against Plainfield Central. Finally last week, he rushed for 340 yards, a new career high, and four touchdowns.

Bibbs’ combination of power and speed has always impressed Kane, but it’s his vision that amazes him.

“He has the ability to make a big play out of what would be an average play,” Kane said. “He can take a 4-, 5-yard run and turn that into a 40-yard touchdown run. He’s made some pretty good plays where defenses have blitzed right into him or we missed a block up front.”

Bibbs can credit his 4.3-second 40-yard speed and 350-pound bench press to hard work, but he’s not sure where his vision comes from. It doesn’t run in his family. His family was a basketball one until Bibbs took up football in fifth grade.

However he’s acquired it, he is thankful for it.

“I think it’s the best attribute I have,” Bibbs said. “It’s natural. It’s just natural ability cutting back and finding an open field.”

With Bibbs putting together such a remarkable season, colleges have been calling. The problem is when Bibbs answers, he lets everyone know he’s already committed to Colorado State, and he has no plans of changing that no matter how yards or touchdowns he runs for this season.

“They’re committed to me, and I’m committed to them,” Bibbs said. “I thought about the Big Ten. I was learning toward Purdue and [Illinois]. But I kind of wanted to get away, see some new places. Going West will open up new things for me.”

Kane has no doubt that Bibbs will continue his football success at Colorado State.

“The thing people don’t realize about him is he’s such a fierce competitor,” Kane said. “This kid hates to lose. It’s not about how many carries or yards he gets. He wants to win. He wants to be the best running back in the field. He’s pretty motivated to be successful.”