Narrowing down the list for the top five IHSA wide receivers of the decade has been brutally tough. One thing is for certain: Illinois had no shortage of high school talent at the wideout position this past decade (2010-2019).
The same debate question applies here: 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’s give this a shot:
Flynn Nagel, Marist/Lemont’s Class of 2015 (Northwestern): Nagel started his high school career at Marist then transferred to Lemont during his junior year. He is listed all over the IHSA record books. To name a few accolades, Nagel holds IHSA receiving records for most career receptions (255), touchdown receptions (57), single-season touchdown receptions (289) and most career receiving yards (3,613). Nagel was a speedy and consistent receiver with the ability to break big plays with every touch.
Jordan Westerkamp, Montini Catholic’s Class of 2012 (Nebraska): Westerkamp is another name you'll see listed all over the IHSA record books. He was a three-year starter and a major impact performer for the Broncos’ three straight Class 5A state title teams (2009-2011). Westerkamp is the state's all-time leader in career receiving yards (4,548), career touchdown catches (68) and holds the record for the most touchdown catches in a season (29) in 2011. He went on to have an impressive college career at Nebraska.
Laquon Treadwell, Crete-Monee’s Class of 2013 (Ole Miss): His impact at Crete-Monee was off the charts. A three-year varsity starter on both sides of the football, Treadwell was a two-time All-State player who led the Warriors to the Class 6A state title in 2012. In his senior season, he caught 81 passes for 1,424 yards and 16 touchdowns while also making 56 solo tackles and 6 interceptions. Treadwell was also a dangerous kick and punt returner. After a stellar college stay at Ole Miss, he is now playing wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings.
Jeff Thomas, East St. Louis’ Class of 2017 (Miami FL): Thomas was a three-year varsity starter for the Flyers. He posted 177 receptions for 3,532 yards and 41 touchdowns over his high school career and led his team to a perfect 14-0 record and the 2016 Class 7A state title. He possessed flat-out sprinters speed along with terrific ball skills. He is another player who was a threat to score every time he touched the football. In December, he announced that he will skip his senior year and enter the 2020 NFL Draft.
Mike Dudek, Neuqua Valley’s Class of 2014 (Illinois): Dudek was an impact player for the Wildcats in his junior and senior seasons. As a senior, Dudek caught 69 passes for 1,384 yards and 19 TDs; he also rushed 30 times for 260 yards and three scored. He was a threat on special teams as well, returning 21 kickoffs for 692 yards (33.0 ypr) and two TDs in 2013. This blue collar player simply made big plays for the Wildcats. Dudek committed to Illinois and had a breakout freshman season for the Fighting Illini before various injuries cut short Dudek's college career.
Malik Turner, Sacred Heart-Griffin’s Class of 2014 (Illinois)
Davaris Daniels, Vernon Hills’ Class of 2011 (Notre Dame)
Ricky Smalling, Brother Rice’s Class of 2017 (Illinois)
A.J. Henning, Lincoln-Way East’s Class of 2020 (Michigan)
Zach Grant, Rochester’s Class of 2012 (Illinois)
Miles Boykin, Providence's Class of 2015 (Notre Dame)