Morgan Park freshman Tysean Griffin in demand early

Just over two weeks after his first high school football game Tysean Griffin had his first Division I scholarship offer — and it was an emotional moment.

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Morgan Park’s Griffin (15) returns a kick against Curie.

Morgan Park’s Tysean Griffin (15) returns a kick against Curie.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Tysean Griffin played his first high school football game on March 27,

Just over two weeks later the Morgan Park freshman had his first Division I scholarship offer — and it was an emotional moment.

“It was kind of a surprise,” Griffin said. “I was in my gym class working out and got a text from my coach out of nowhere, I got my first scholarship (offer) from Temple. I almost cried.”

That was just the start. Since then, he’s added offers from Central Michigan, Syracuse, Iowa State and Illinois.

Morgan Park coach Chris James expects many more.

“We told a few (college) coaches about him, ‘This is a guy who could be special, who guys should get in on early,’” James said.

James said Griffin’s rare blend of speed and physicality make him a prospect who will get recruited on both sides of the ball.

The 5-11, 165-pounder has yet to turn 15 but started at defensive back and slot receiver in the abbreviated pandemic season.

“It was kind of tough because I didn’t think I’d have my freshman season,” Griffin said. “After months of waiting, I was just so ready to play football.”

James wanted to be careful with his budding star.

“Him being young, we tried to limit the amount of plays he played,” he said. “Next (season), we don’t know what he’ll play. He’s pretty good at both (offense and defense).”

Griffin started playing football when he was 6. “I had seen my big brother (Tyrone Griffin) play in high school (for Hillcrest). He made me want to play football and I liked it.”

Now colleges like what they see in him, and so does James.

“He’s better than we thought he was,” James said.

And the Morgan Park coaches thought he’d be pretty good.

Brother Rice coach Brian Badke steps down

After 24 years, Brother Rice’s Brian Badke is ready for a break from coaching.

Badke 46, will lead the Crusaders this fall before stepping away to spend more time with his family.

“To do it the right way, it’s a 24-hour, seven-day-a week job,” Badke said.

The Crusaders are 63-38 over nine seasons under Badke with six IHSA playoff berths, a Class 8A runner-up finish in 2018 and two more trips to the quarterfinals.

His son Mick, the oldest of Badke’s four children, played for Rice and graduated on Thursday. He plans to continue his football career at Division III John Carroll.

Being able to schedule his life around his kids’ games is something Badke is looking forward to.

“I like to be a fan,” he said.

But, he added, “I like coaching” and left open the door to returning to the sidelines sometime down the road.

CCL/ESCC realignment

The Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference has released its realigned divisions for the 2021 fall and 2022 seasons, and there is plenty of movement.

The powerhouse Blue lineup of Brother Rice, Loyola, Marist and Mount Carmel is unchanged, but eight schools are changing divisions. There’s also an open spot in the Red with St. Joseph closing at the end of this school year.

The new lineups with former divisions in parentheses for teams changing alignments:

Green — Benet (Orange), Nazareth (Orange), Notre Dame, St. Rita.

Orange — Joliet Catholic (White), Montini (Green), Providence (Green), St. Laurence.

White — De La Salle (Orange), Fenwick, Mamion, St. Ignatius.

Purple — Carmel, Marian Catholic (Red), St. Patrick, St. Viator.

Red — DePaul Prep, Leo, Marian Central (Purple).

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