Meet the defense | 2018 All-Area football first team

Meet the defense | 2018 All-Area football first team

DL | Josh Bleich

Sr., Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

Why he made the team: A consistent threat on both Falcon lines, Bleich posted 59 tackles, five sacks and 12 tackles for loss as the GCMS defense permitted just 72 points en route to a Class 2A championship.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Meek Mill. ... Before I compete, I eat Country Kettle. ... In my dream career, I would be an NFL coach. ... My favorite subject to study in school is statistics. ... My favorite athlete is Quenton Nelson. ... My favorite TV show is "SportsCenter." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Pat McAfee, LeBron James and George Washington.

Three items on my bucket list: Travel, skydive and move to Colorado.

DL | Tanner Diorio

Sr., Fisher

Why he made the team: An all-state choice on the line, Diorio overpowered a majority of foes in the form of 73 tackles, two sacks, 16 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries for a Class 1A second-round team.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Lil Wayne. ... Before I compete, I eat a granola bar. ... In my dream career, I would manage a business. ... My favorite subject to study in school is math. ... My favorite athlete is Khalil Mack. ... My favorite TV show is "The Flash." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Khalil Mack, Kevin Hart and Adam Sandler.

Two items on my bucket list: Climb Mt. Everest and hike Angel's Landing.

DL | Cole Zaccarelli

Sr., St. Joseph-Ogden

Why he made the team: Zaccarelli helped the Spartans back into the Class 2A playoffs after a one-year absence, roaring to 53 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks on the defensive side.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Travis Scott. ... Before I compete, I eat a banana and PB&J. ... In my dream career, I would be an Olympic trainer. ... My favorite subject to study in school is civics. ... My favorite athlete is Khalil Mack. ... My favorite TV show is "Black Mirror." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Connor Thomason, Steve Jobs and Julius Caesar.

Three items on my bucket list: Be the president, make a million dollars and climb Mt. Everest.

LB | Bryce Barnes

Sr., Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

Why he made the team: A wrecking ball in the Class 2A state title game, Barnes rolled to 75 tackles, eight sacks, 18 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, two blocked punts and a blocked field goal for the Falcons.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Meek Mill. ... Before I compete, I eat The Kettle. ... In my dream career, I would be an NFL athlete. ... My favorite subject to study in school is stats class with Ms. Riley. ... My favorite athlete is LeBron James. ... My favorite TV show is "SportsCenter." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick LeBron James, Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning.

Three items on my bucket list: Go out of the country, play college football and be a millionaire.

LB | Correyante Boyd

Jr., Champaign Central

Why he made the team: The Danville transfer fared well as a running back, but proved even more dangerous on defense with 84 tackles for the Class 5A playoff-qualifying Maroons.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see J Cole. ... Before I compete, I eat nuggets. ... In my dream career, I would be a sports writer. ... My favorite subject to study in school is math. ... My favorite athlete is Marshawn Lynch. ... My favorite TV show is "Last Chance U." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Marshawn Lynch, LeBron James and Barack Obama.

Two items on my bucket list: Skydiving and deep-sea diving.

LB | Nick Grubb

Sr., Oakwood

Why he made the team: An all-state selection, Grubb was a leader of the Comets' surge into the Class 2A playoffs, making 106 tackles, picking off two passes and rushing for 1,122 yards and 15 scores.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Shoreline Mafia. ... Before I compete, I eat chicken and rice with Swiss rolls from Little Debbie. ... In my dream career, I would break bread with my crew. ... My favorite subject to study in school is social studies. ... My favorite athlete is Ray Lewis. ... My favorite TV show is "Full House." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Bartholomew, Saint Andrew and Jesus.

Three items on my bucket list: Finish school, go to Italy and see Army football.

LB | Skyler Peterson

Sr., Argenta-Oreana

Why he made the team: Another multi-purpose threat, Peterson tabbed 118 tackles for a Class 1A semifinalist in addition to rushing for 1,025 yards with 17 touchdowns.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Lil Uzi Vert. ... Before I compete, I eat everything. ... In my dream career, I would be a doctor. ... My favorite subject to study in school is math. ... My favorite athlete is Ezekiel Elliott. ... My favorite TV show is "Stranger Things." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Abe Lincoln, Ezekiel Elliott and LeBron James.

Three items on my bucket list: Skydive, go to Hawaii and climb Mt. Everest.

LB | Payton Taylor

Jr., Salt Fork

Why he made the team: The area's tackles leader for the second consecutive campaign, Taylor racked up 151 stops — 24 than anyone else locally — for a Class 1A postseason qualifier.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Drake. ... Before I compete, I eat pasta. ... In my dream career, I would be a coach or trainer. ... My favorite subject to study in school is anatomy. ... My favorite athlete is Bo Jackson. ... My favorite TV show is "Friday Night Lights." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Walter Payton, Jackie Robinson and James Harrison.

Three items on my bucket list: Watch the Bears win the Super Bowl, go to Game 7 of the NBA Finals and meet Ronnie Coleman.

DB | Alek Bundy

Sr., Monticello

Why he made the team: When Bundy wasn't exhausting teams with his 974 rushing yards or 585 receiving yards, he was busy making 53 tackles and leading the area in interceptions, with his ninth and final pick sealing the Sages' Class 3A state title win.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see YBN Nahmir. ... Before I compete, I eat PB&J. ... My favorite subject to study in school is math. ... My favorite athlete is Lonzo Ball. ... My favorite TV show is "Impractical Jokers." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Lonzo Ball, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James.

Three items on my bucket list: Skydive, attend an Oklahoma City Thunder game and attend a Lakers game.

DB | Devin Graham

Sr., Monticello

Why he made the team: Another potent threat on both sides of the ball, Graham intercepted six passes and made 69 tackles in addition to catching 972 yards worth of receptions.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Kodak Black. ... Before I compete, I eat Subway. ... In my dream career, I would be a teacher. ... My favorite subject to study in school is history. ... My favorite athlete is Lonzo Ball. ... My favorite TV show is "Impractical Jokers." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Lonzo Ball, LeBron James and Kevin Hart.

Three items on my bucket list: Attend a Lakers game, attend a Cowboys game and scuba diving.

DB | Bryson Lee

Sr., St. Thomas More

Why he made the team: The Sabers' quarterback and punter in addition to playing defense, Lee compiled 100 tackles and picked off two passes on top of his 1,401 passing yards and 651 rushing yards.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Lil Baby. ... Before I compete, I eat Jimmy John's. ... In my dream career, I would be coaching football. ... My favorite subject to study in school is mathematics. ... My favorite athlete is Calvin Johnson. ... My favorite TV show is "Supernatural." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick my grandpa, Uncle Matt and Barack Obama.

Three items on my bucket list: Skydive, coach a college team and make my family proud.

DB | Connor Milton

Jr., Champaign Central

Why he made the team: Though he missed time due to injury, Milton was still often double-teamed by opponents. He helped the Maroons to a 6-4 ledger and the Class 5A playoffs with 692 all-purpose yards.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Travis Scott. ... Before I compete, I eat a banana boat smoothie from Smoothie King. ... In my dream career, I would play Major League Baseball and win a World Series. ... My favorite subject to study in school is history. ... My favorite athlete is Conor McGregor. ... My favorite TV show is "The Office." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick LeBron James, A$AP Rocky and Joe Rogan.

Three items on my bucket list: Go to a Final Four, travel the world and skydive.

DB | Connor Thomason

Sr., Mahomet-Seymour

Why he made the team: Until Monticello's state finals appearance, Thomason paced the area with eight interceptions to go with 31 tackles and 225 receiving yards.

A few of my favorites: I need concert tickets to see Five Finger Death Punch. ... Before I compete, I eat a Jimmy John's No. 9 with no tomato. ... In my dream career, I would be an FBI agent. ... My favorite subject to study in school is English. ... My favorite athlete is Trent Taylor. ... My favorite TV show is "Supernatural." ... If I could have dinner with any three people from any time period, I would pick Tate Mortell, John-Tyler Murphy and Lonzo Ball.

Three items on my bucket list: Skydive, swim with sharks and make my mom proud.

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