Edgy Tim

Edgy Tim’s Team of the Decade: Kickers

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EDGY TIM

Edgy Tim’s Team of the Decade: Kickers

You may not picture Illinois as a hotbed for kickers. But we have been fortunate to witness so many that have done well on the prep level.

This is our final position in the “Team of the Decade” series (2010-2019). This position should produce more debate: Do you factor in just strictly high school production and program winning/success, or does a particular player's post high school success also become a factor? Let the debate begin.

Jake Elliott, Lyons Township’s Class of 2013 (Memphis): Elliott, who had never played football until his junior season at L-T, made the most of his limited time on the field. He was named an All-State kicker his senior season. Elliott ended up signing with Memphis and was a four-year starting kicker for the Tigers. Elliott was a fifth-round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2017 NFL Draft and was then signed off their practice squad by the Philadelphia Eagles. Elliott has remained the Eagles kicker since the 2017 season.

Austin Seibert, Belleville West’s Class of 2015 (Oklahoma): Seibert was ranked as one of the nation's best prep kickers in the Class of 2015. He ended up signing with the Oklahoma Sooners after drawing multiple scholarship offers. Seibert had an impressive career kicking for the Sooners and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He made 25 of 29 field goal attempts and 30 of 35 extra points this past season.

Tucker McCann, O'Fallon’s Class of 2016 (Missouri): McCann was a nationally sought-after kicker in the Class of 2016 and signed with Missouri after considering offers from Alabama and Illinois. McCann is also listed in several IHSA kicking records including career field goals made (28), field goals made in a season (12), field goals made in a game (four) and still holds the state record for the longest field goal made in a game (60 yards). McCann also made at least one field goal over 50 yards in all three years he kicked at the varsity level for the Panthers.

Jack Olsen, Wheaton Warrenville South’s Class of 2020 (Michigan State): Olsen, who graduated early this fall and is already enrolled at Michigan State, was a four-year letterman for the Tigers and head coach Ron Muhitch. He was named as an All-State kicker in 2018 and 2019 by EDGYTIM/Rivals.com. During his time at WWS, he set new IHSA records for the most field goals made in a game (eight) along with the most field goals made in a single season (22).

Dominic Dzioban, Lincoln-Way East’s Class of 2020 (Miami OH): Dzioban, otherwise known as “The Dominator,” was 18-of-20 on field goals and 50-of-51 on extra points last season. Dzioban's kickoff and punting game was a major weapon for the Griffins, who won the Class 8A state title this past fall. Dzioban also earned All-State honors as a senior and owns the school record for most field goals made (37) and is the school's all-time leading scorer (340 points). He possesses 50 yard-plus field goal range and was one of the best two-way kickers in the Land of Lincoln over the past several seasons.

Next in?

Ron Colucci, Naperville North’s Class of 2012 (Central Michigan/Iowa)

Kai Kroeger, Lake Forest: Class of 2020 (South Carolina)

Caleb Griffin, Danville’s Class of 2018 (Illinois)

Josh Pollack, Highland Park’s Class of 2014 (Arizona)

John Richardson, Brother Rice’s Class of 2018 (Northern Illinois)

Edgy Tim’s Team of the Decade: Defensive Tackles

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Edgy Tim’s Team of the Decade: Defensive Tackles

We are chronicling the best players in IHSA football over the past decade (2010-19), position by position. Let's take a look at several names to consider when assembling what would be the “Best of the Best” at the defensive tackle spot.

This list includes several three- and four-year varsity starters. Others had major critical acclaim before stepping foot on a college field. As mentioned in previous articles the last week or so, with a list like this, do you factor in just strictly high school production and program winning/success, or does a particular player's post-high school success also become a factor? Let the debate begin:

Tommy Schutt, Glenbard West Class of 2012 (Ohio State): Schutt was a five star-ranked player in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com and was also one of the top 100 players nationally. He was a four-year varsity starter for the Hilltoppers and posted 33 career sacks, 45 tackles for loss, 21 pass deflections and seven forced fumbles while also being an All-State player in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Schutt originally committed to Penn State but then decommitted from the Nittany Lions. He then signed with Ohio State. 

Steven Richardson, Mount Carmel Class of 2014  (Minnesota): Richardson was vital in a Caravan defense that won back-to-back IHSA state titles in 2012 (Class 8A) and 2013 (Class 7A). Richardson was a three-year varsity starter for Mount Carmel and also a two-time All-State selection. Richardson was a three star-ranked recruit in the Class of 2014 and signed with Minnesota after drawing limited amount of scholarship attention. He had an impressive college career at Minnesota, playing in 47 games and was a starter in most of those contests. 

Terry Beckner Jr., East St. Louis Class of 2015 (Missouri): Beckner Jr. was a rare four-year varsity starter at East St. Louis for head coach Darren Sunkett. He was also a two-time All-State player in his junior and senior seasons. Beckner Jr. had a terrific combination of size, speed and power and was an incredible athlete, checking in at 6-foot-4, 298 pounds. Beckner Jr. ended up signing with Missouri after drawing FBS-level scholarship offers on a nationwide basis. Beckner Jr. was a seventh-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Willis Singleton Jr., Warren Township Class of 2020 (Iowa State): Singleton Jr. was simply the best player on one of the states most dominant defenses. The 2018 and 2019 seasons for Warren Township and head coach Bryan McNulty were defensive showcases every Friday night. Singleton Jr. was a two-time All-State player by Rivals.com and was also a consensus All-State player in Illinois in 2019. He made 45 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 14 sacks this past season as the Blue Devils made it to the Class 8A state title game. Singleton Jr. signed with Iowa State after considering Illinois, Louisville and Michigan State. 

Jaleel Johnson, Montini Catholic Class of 2012 (Iowa): Johnson began his high school career at St. Joseph and then transferred to Montini for his senior season. As a senior in 2011, Johnson was an All-State, All-Area and All-Conference selection for the Broncos and head coach Chris Andriano. He was a major contributor who helped catapult his team to a Class 5A state title.  Johnson signed with Iowa and ended up having a very impressive career for the Hawkeyes. Johnson was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and has played in 37 games for the Vikings. 

Next in? 

Vincent Valentine, Edwardsville Class of 2012 (Nebraska)

Michael Rouse III, Homewood-Flossmoor Class of 2011 (Purdue)

Mike Panasiuk, Lake Park Class of 2016 (Michigan State)

Josh Augusta, Peoria Class of 2013 (Missouri)

Amir Watts, Phillips Class of 2016 (Pitt)

Edgy Tim’s Team of the Decade: Defensive End

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim’s Team of the Decade: Defensive End

Who gets the call to be on the list of IHSA Defensive Ends of the Decade (2010-2019)? If there’s one thing we learned about the past ten years, it’s that the Big Ten Conference is very keen on local talent at this position.

Same rules apply to this list as with previous positions in regards to the top five: Do you factor in just strictly high school production and program winning/success, or does a particular player's post high school success also become a factor? Let the debate begin:

Dean Lowry, Rockford Boylan’s Class of 2012 (Northwestern): Lowry was a starter on back-to-back undefeated IHSA state championship teams for Boylan (2010 Class 6A title and 2011 Class 7A state title). He was also was a multi-sport athlete for head coach Dan Appino and company. He was a back-to-back All-State player in his junior and senior seasons. Lowry signed with Northwestern coming out of high school after drawing several other Big Ten-level scholarship offers. Lowry was a fourth round selection of the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 NFL Draft and Lowry has played in every game this season.

Demetrius Cooper, Julian Class of 2013 (Michigan State): Cooper, who was a 6-foot-5, 220 pound rush end, attended his first three years of high school at Morgan Park before transferring to Julian for his senior year. Cooper, who sat out his junior year because of an injury, was one of the most sought-after defensive ends in the nation in the Class of 2013 and decided on Michigan State over Notre Dame along with several other Power Five schools. 

Chris Slayton, Crete-Monee’s Class of 2013 (Syracuse): Slayton was a key part of the Warriors' 2012 undefeated 14-0 Class 6A state title team. He was also named as an All-State player in 2012 and led the Warriors defense with 61 tackles, nine sacks and three forced fumbles. Slayton signed with Syracuse after adding offers from 16 FBS level schools including Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Slayton was a seventh round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft of the New York Giants and was on the Giants practice squad this season and was activated in Week 17 against the Eagles.

A.J. Epenesa, Edwardsville’s Class of 2017 (Iowa): Epenesa, who was a four-year starter and a three-year All-State player for the Tigers and led Edwardsville to the state playoffs in all four seasons. He was also a three sport athlete (football/basketball/track) at the Metro East school. Epenesa signed with Iowa after adding offers from multiple Power Five programs across the country and was ranked as the nation's top defensive end in the Class of 2017. Epenesa just announced this week he is declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Devin O'Rourke, Lincoln-Way East’s Class of 2018 (Northwestern): O'Rourke, who was a two-time All-State player at Lincoln-Way East and head coach Rob Zvonar and was a major contributor to the Griffins’ undefeated 2017 Class 8A state title. O'Rourke signed with Northwestern after considering offers from Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

Next in? 

Riley McMinn, Rochester’s Class of 2011 (Iowa)

Dewayne Hendrix, O'Fallon’s Class of 2014 (Tennessee/Pitt)

Josh King, Hinsdale South’s Class of 2016 (Michigan State)

Dylan Thompson, Montini Catholic’s Class of 2014 (Ohio State)

Thomas Schaffer, Lake Forest Academy’s Class of 2016 (Stanford)