Who's next: All-State football candidates

Who's next: All-State football candidates

We know who's good in the C-U area. Here are some early-season candidates for our 77th News-Gazette All-State football team, courtesy media members who vote on the weekly state rankings:

Josh Augusta

Peoria Central

Defensive tackle

n The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder will pick between Illinois, Michigan State and Missouri after declining scholarship offers from Iowa, nebraska, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

Brian Bahrs

Sterling Newman

Running back

n Led the Comets in tackling last year, rushed for 1,131 yards and spent his winter capturing the Class 1A 152-pound wrestling state title.

Aaron Bailey

Bolingbrook

Quarterback

n The Illinois recruit and News-Gazette All-Stater is arguably is the most exciting player in the state. He led Bolingbrook to the Class 8A state championship last season. He is 6-2, 220 pounds and as strong and fast as anyone on the field. Any doubts about his passing ability were erased in last year's title game, when he passed very well in the rain against a good Loyola defense.

Dillan Cazley

Charleston

Safety

n The Illinois recruit, who is also a running back, missed the opener against Rantoul with a foot injury.

Nate Coggins

Clifton Central

Linebacker

n He is the top returning player from one of the best defense's in the Kankakee area last year.

Shane Evans

Prairie Ridge

Offensive lineman

n Junior is a 6-4, 255-pounder and has been on college coaches' radar since starting as a freshman. One of the key linemen on the 6A state title team last season.

Sean Folliard

Prairie Ridge

Safety

n The 6-2, 205-pounder committed to Northern Illinois, where he will move to linebacker. Key player on the defense of Class 6A's state championship team last season.

Kendrick Foster

Peoria Richwoods

Running back

n The 5-8 News-Gazette All-Stater — and Illini recruit —enters senior season with more than 4,000 yards rushing and could end up top five in state history.

Martel Hunter

Monmouth/Roseville

Running back

n Junior will get a slow start after having his appendix removed, but will be tough once he reaches full speed.

Ty Isaac

Joliet Catholic

Running back

n The USC recruit and News-Gazette All-Stater hurt his shoulder early in Friday's loss. So it will be hard to match last season (2,629 rushing yards and 51 touchdowns).

Merrick Jackson

Belleville Althoff

Defensive lineman

n The 6-2, 320-pounder has given a verbal commitment to Illinois.

Alex Jefferson

Normal West

Quarterback

n Was named The Bloomington Pantagraph Player of the Year as a junior. He threw for 2,686 yards and 37 touchdowns last year and ran for 790 yards and eight TDs. Also an outstanding baseball player, which he'll play in college.

Brian Jennings

Decatur MacArthur

Running back

n He rushed for 1,023 yards and nine TDs while playing most of last season with a sore ankle. Now healthy, he's expected to be a dominant force in the Big 12, getting looks from several Division I schools.

Boston Matthews

Crystal Lake South

Offensive lineman

n The 6-3, 260-pounder committed to Toledo. Put on a bunch of weight from junior year and blew college coaches away with a workout video on YouTube.

Colin McGovern

Lincoln-Way West

Offensive lineman

n Senior standout has given a verbal commitment to Notre Dame.

Darius Mosely

O'Fallon

Defensive back

n The 6-0, 180-pounder has given a verbal commitment to Illinois. He is also a good receiver.

Austin Muench

Auburn

Running back

n Might be an even better baseball player than football player.

Ethan Pocic

Lemont

Offensive lineman

n News-Gazette All-Stater is brother of UI lineman Graham Pocic and has committed to LSU. He is considered one of the country's best at his position.

Todd Porter

O'Fallon

Quarterback

n The 6-3, 185-pounder will pick between Wisconsin, Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Wyoming.

Brandon Richardson

Rock Island

Running back

n The junior already is on D-I recruiting radars. He rushed for 1,780 yards and 21 TDs last season, including 330 in one game to break the school record set by All-Stater Alonzo Wise.

Ryan Sample

Manteno

Quarterback

n Totaled 2,000-plus passing yards a year ago and is drawing some low Division I interest.

Connor Schmidt

Lincoln

Linebacker

n Gained 40 pounds of muscle in the offseason and is up to 180. Schmidt said the weight change hasn't affected his quickness.

Kaprix Sloan

Granite City

Running back

n The 6-1, 195-pounder will pick between Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Missouri and Western Kentucky.

Kane Steger

Belvidere

Safety

n The 6-3, 200-pound receiver also had 686 yards and nine touchdowns receiving as a junior at a Class 5A school.

Chris Streveler

Marian Central

Quarterback

n The 6-2, 195-pounder has committed to Minnesota. Northwest Herald Player of the Year as a junior is adept at running or passing out of the spread offense.

Logan Tuley-Tillman

Peoria Manual

Offensive lineman

n The 6-7, 310-pounder committed to Michigan after visiting Alabama and Ohio State.

Troy Vandenbroek

Belvidere

Quarterback

n He is the first four-year starting quarterback in NIC-10 history (counting the final four games of his freshman season). He has accepted a baseball scholarship with Eastern Illinois.

Nick Weiman

Quincy Notre Dame

Fullback

n The 6-2, 210-pounder is receiving interest from MAC, Big Ten and Missouri Valley schools.

Daniel Williams

East St. Louis

Receiver

n The 6-3, 210-pounder has given a verbal commitment to Ball State.

Derrick Willies

Rock Island

Receiver

n State's 110-meter high hurdles champion has committed to Iowa for football.

Kevin Witcik

Machesney Park Harlem

Running back

n The Class 7A standout has 1,353 career rushing yards and averaged 11.4 yards per carry as a junior. He is 6-1, 195 pounds and was the sectional champion in the 100 meters in his first year out for track last spring.

DeAndre Wright

Momence

Running back

n Had 2,515 yards and 39 TDs as a junior.

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