81st N-G All-State Football Team: Meet the first-team and special-mention picks

81st N-G All-State Football Team: Meet the first-team and special-mention picks

FIRST TEAM

QUARTERBACKS

NAME, HIGH SCHOOL    HT.    WT.    YR.    BOB ASMUSSEN’S COMMENT

Rey Estes, East St. Louis    6-1    173    Sr.    He’s the one throwing all those passes to POY Thomas. Next season, the dual-threat standout will play in the SEC at Missouri.

Samson Evans, Prairie Ridge    6-1    195    Jr.    MAC schools, service academies have made offers. He ran for 239 yards and seven TDs against Montini.

Caleb Hanson, Monticello    6-0    190    Sr.    Strong candidate for N-G All-Area Player of the Year after leading his team to the state semifinals

Zach Oles, Palatine    6-0    200    Sr.    Dual-threat player, who is weighing his college options, drew the praise of several rival coaches, who listed him as a “must” for the first team.

RUNNING BACKS

Geno Hess, Peoria    5-10    181    Jr.    Forced his way on to first team with 2,500 yards, 42 rushing touchdowns. A big reason his team will go over 6,000 yards rushing for the season.

Jack Jessen, Willowbrook    5-10    190    Sr.    Conference offensive MVP ran for 1,600 yards and 21 touchdowns. Also could have made team as linebacker with 138 stops.

Tremayne Lee, Springfield SH-G    5-9    190    Jr.    Conference Player of the Year averaging better than a first down every carry for state finalists.

Jacardia Wright, Decatur St. Teresa    6-0    198    So.    Big-time college interest who has 39 rushing touchdowns this season. Could join Kendrick Foster as only three-time All-Stater.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Avante’ Cox, Rochester    6-0    180    Sr.    Ranks with current Illini Zach Grant among the best in school history, helping Rockets get back to state title game.

Cole Kmet, St. Viator    6-6    235    Sr.    Notre Dame-bound tight end ranks among the top five prospects in the state. Had 50-plus catches as a senior and will play in U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Jake Marwede, Loyola Academy    6-5    235    Sr.    Standout receiver, the conference Player of the Year, committed to Duke. Also had Alabama, Ohio State offers.

Matt Pollack, Lincoln-Way Central    6-0    175    Sr.    Three-sport standout called a “game-changer” by his coach, forcing opponents to plan against him. Bulk of his work is at receiver but also an effective runner.

Ricky Smalling, Chicago Brother Rice    6-1    190    Sr.    Illinois commit ranked among the nation’s top receiver prospects. Will have a chance to play immediately for Lovie Smith’s team.

Jeff Thomas, East St. Louis    5-10    165    Sr.    News-Gazette All-State POY weighing offers from everybody, including defending national champion Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State and Miami.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

Sam Diehl, Lincoln-Way East    6-3    280    Sr.    Called a “complete package,” by his coach Rob Zvonar, the team leader will spend his college years at Colgate.

Kevin Jarvis, Maine South    6-5    340    Sr.    Bulldozer is the best offensive lineman David Inserra has ever coached. On his way to Michigan State, where he’ll create huge holes. Also a force on defensive line.

Matt Ricketts, Galesburg    6-4    290    Sr.    MAC schools, North Dakota State among those interested in big guy, who continues the long line of college prospects coached by Tim Dougherty.

John Michael Schmitz, Homewood-Flossmoor    6-4    285    Sr.    Has offers from Purdue, Louisville, others but committed to undefeated Western Michigan. Two-year starting left tackle helped team average over 40 points a game.

Joe Spivak, Montini    6-1    295    Sr.    Two-way player committed to Northwestern on Tuesday after a standout career for the 2015 state champs. Three-year starter went 44-9 during his four seasons.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

A.J. Epenesa, Edwardsville    6-5    270    Sr.    Iowa-bound end was considered for our POY, which went to another St. Louis-area star. Rated the top recruiting prospect in Illinois. Also a basketball, track standout.

Weston Kramer, Marmion Academy    6-2    275    Sr.    Northern Illinois-bound tackle hit double-digit sacks this season. Coach describes him as “old school, first to practice, last to leave.”

Austin Mathis, Rochester    6-3    250    Sr.    Talented two-way player is also one of the best offensive linemen for perennial power. Second on the team in tackles.

Devin O’Rourke, Lincoln-Way East    6-6    245    Jr.    End is considering an offer from Lovie Smith. With the many departures up front, he likely will have a chance to play early.

Jacub Panasiuk, Lake Park    6-4    260    Sr.    Sackmaster is the latest in line of defensive standouts from Chicagoland to commit to Michigan State.

John Pempek, Springfield SH-G    6-3    305    Sr.    Coach Ken Leonard ranks the big guy among his all-time best, helping state finalists stuff opponents’ running games.

LINEBACKERS

Sean Coghlan, Chicago St. Rita    6-0    210    Sr.    Smart guy led team in tackles by more than 40. Conference defensive MVP is also a standout volleyball player, earning all-league honors last season.

Blake Holley, Barrington    5-11    215    Sr.    Conference defensive POY, who will play next year at Navy, finished his final season with 122 total tackles for Joe Sanchez’s program.

Frank Letizia, Lemont    5-11    190    Sr.    Spent most of his time in the opponents’ backfield, with nine sacks and 33 tackles for loss. Coach Bret Kooi called him one of the smartest players he’s ever coached.

SECONDARY

Camron Harrell, Bradley-Bourbonnais    5-10    195    Sr.    Ballhawk (six INTs) was also productive on offense as runner/returner. Next stop: playing for Kirk Ferentz at Iowa.

Caleb Fauver, Salt Fork    6-1    180    Sr.    Yes, he finished third in N-G area in scoring, but where he really made his mark was on defense with 10 interceptions.

Cameron Ruiz, Lakes    5-11    165    Sr.    Northwestern commit a three-year standout on defense, also a leader on offense with 1,500 yards rushing and 17 TDs.

Jace James, Glenbard West    6-1    185    Sr.    Another All-Stater who’ll suit up at Northwestern, two-way player also could have made the team at receiver. His 11 interceptions put him on defense.

SPECIALIST

Sean McNulty, Maine South    6-2    210    Sr.    An exceptional kicker (12 of 15 on FGs), but what sealed his spot on the first team is his versatility. Also works as team’s starting right tackle and at outside linebacker.

SPECIAL MENTION 100

QUARTERBACKS

NAME    SCHOOL    YEAR

Jake Arthur    Lincoln-Way East    Sr.

Jaxon Aubry    Joliet West    So.

Josh Bean    Hinsdale Central    Sr.

Tim Brenneisen    Springfield SHG    Sr.

Morion Burtis    Bradley-Bourbonnais    Jr.

Tommy Herion    Loyola Academy    Sr.

D.J. Lee    St. Thomas More    Sr.

Derek Kyler    DeKalb    Sr.

Nick Leongas    Maine South    Sr.

Brady Miller    Plainfield North    Jr.

Spencer Nagel    Lemont    Sr.

Grant Price    Normal Community    Sr.

Luke Ricobene    IC Catholic    Jr.

Quentin Smith    Danville    Sr.

Coran Taylor    Peoria    Jr.

Tyler Ward    Plano    Sr.

Javon Williams Jr.    Centralia    Jr.

Adam Walton    Carlinville    Sr.

Kaleb Williams    Tuscola    Sr.

RUNNING BACKS

Mitch Bierman    Newton    Sr.

A.J. Christensen    Forreston    Jr.

Arthur Cox    Dixon    Jr.

DaQuan Cross    West Aurora    Sr.

Jacob Dixon    Carlinville    Sr.

Manny Ebirim    Prairie Ridge    Sr.

Jace Franklin    Williamsville    Sr.

Mason Hewitt    O’Fallon    Sr.

Tyler Hoosman    Plainfield North    Sr.

Darreontae Jackson    St. Viator    Sr.

Izaack Kitchens    Bismarck-Henning    Jr.

Fotis Kokosioulis    Maine South    Jr.

Justin Martinez    Byron    Sr.

Alex Peete    Johnsburg    Sr.

Giovanni Purpura    McHenry    Sr.

Jared Reese    Deer Creek-Mackinaw    Sr.

Kyle Rock    Loyola Academy    Sr.

Jordan Rowell    IC Catholic    Sr.

Brenton Shaw    Harlem    Sr.

Vittorio Tricase    Glenbard North    Sr.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Logan Allsup    Maroa-Forsyth    Sr.

Luke Ford    Carterville    Jr.

Nathan Graham    Monticello    Sr.

Jonathan Kelso    Willowbrook    Sr.

Charles Kuhle    Mount Zion    Sr.

Nico LoDolce    Johnsburg    Jr.

Zach Miller    Genoa-Kingston    Sr.

Jeremy Nelson    Lincoln-Way East    Sr.

Ben Nichols    Mercer County    Sr.

Alec Pierce    Glenbard West    Jr.

Tyrice Richie    Homewood-Flossmoor    Sr.

Brantrell Seymore    Reavis    Sr.

Cole Tucker    DeKalb    Sr.

Grant Weis    Maroa-Forsyth    Sr.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

Sam Ambrogio    St. Charles North    Sr.

Evan Day    Batavia    Sr.

Nathan Gray    Naperville North    Sr.

Niko Ivanisevic    Hinsdale Central    Sr.

Jeff Jenkins    Prairie Ridge    Jr.

Tyler Jost    Libertyville    Sr.

Jamezz Kimbrough    Homewood-Flossmoor    Sr.

Sam Luckenbill    Decatur St. Teresa    Sr.

Hunter Mull    Deer Creek-Mackinaw    Jr.

Billy Trosper    Byron    Sr.

Mitch West    Montini    Sr.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Ari Ekowa    Plainfield North    Sr.

Chris Elmore    Chicago Phillips    Sr.

Dabari Freemon    Chicago Corliss    Sr.

Kendrick Green    Peoria    Sr.

Brady Hall    Sterling    Sr.

John Mitchell    Crete-Monee    Sr.

Peter Pigatti    Hinsdale Central    Sr.

Tate Rujawitz    Edwardsville    Sr.

Jordan Williams    Centennial    Sr.

LINEBACKERS

Micah Awodiran    Chicago Marist    Sr.

Matt Brenneisen    Springfield SHG    So.

Dylan Chism    Carlinville    Sr.

Ken Dixon    East St. Louis    Sr.

Gianni Frasca    Hinsdale Central    Sr.

Noah Gipe    Forreston    Sr.

James Knight    East St. Louis    Sr.

Jacob Ommen    Prairie Ridge    Jr.

Mike Pusateri    Maine South    Sr.

Anthony Quinn    Richards    Sr.

Jacob Richard    St. Thomas More    Sr.

Austin Ruetsche    St. Viator    Sr.

Andrew Smith    Vernon Hills    Sr.

Courtney Williams    Corliss    Sr.

Ben Wong    Normal Community    Sr.

SECONDARY

Jake Beesley    Champaign Central    Sr.

Kevin Block    Plainfield North    Sr.

Khalif Copeland    Willowbrook    Sr.

Julian Hill    Pekin    Sr.

Dalton Hoel    Tuscola    Jr.

Luke Lambird    Richland County    Sr.

Peyton Nigro    Lincoln-Way Central    Jr.

SPECIALISTS

Caleb Griffin    Danville     Jr.

Riley Patterson    Edwardsville    Sr.

Hunter Reed    Dunlap    Sr.

Andre Szmyt    Vernon Hills    Sr.

Tim Zaleski    Chicago St. Rita    Sr.

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