It’s time for another debate regarding the top IHSA football players of the decade (2010-19). The quarterback and running back positions provided some lively discussions on social media. How about the top five tight ends? The list is long and includes players who not only dominated on the prep level but went on to do great things in college and the pros. 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.
Tight Ends (in no particular order)
Troy Fumagalli, Waubonsie Valley’s Class of 2013 (Wisconsin): Fumagalli was an All-State player for the Warriors and head coach Paul Murphy in his senior season (2012). He caught 64 passes for 1,770 yards in 2012 and played defensive end as well. Fumagalli, who passed on several scholarship offers to accept a grey shirt offer at Wisconsin, ended up having an outstanding career for the Badgers. He just wrapped up his second season playing tight end for the Denver Broncos.
Nic Weishar, Marist’s Class of 2014 (Notre Dame): Weishar was a varsity starter for the Redhawks and then-head coach Pat Dunne since his sophomore season. Weishar holds the IHSA record for Career Receptions (257) and is seventh in IHSA Career Receiving Yards (3,284 yards). Weishar was one of the main targets in one of the state's best passing offenses during the early to mid-2010s.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Sacred Heart-Griffin’s Class of 2016 (Missouri): Albert Okwuegbunam, otherwise called “Albert O” back in high school, was simply one of the most physically impressive athletes I've seen in person in 25-plus years of scouting and evaluating recruits. This Central Illinois native, who attended a powerhouse program in Sacred Heart-Griffin, played wide receiver and tight end for the Cyclones. He wrapped up a very strong college career at Missouri. In December, he declared for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Jake Marwede, Loyola Academy’s Class of 2017 (Duke): Marwede, who started his high school football career as a quarterback for Loyola and head coach John Holocek, wound up getting moved over to tight end after his sophomore season. He never looked back. Marwede led the Ramblers, becoming the go-to guy on offense in his junior and senior seasons. Marwede also would find himself playing quarterback in the Loyola's Wildcat offensive package. In his senior season, he ran for 341 yards and 15 touchdowns while also catching 42 passes for 569 yards and six touchdowns.
Jahleel Billingsley, Phillips’ Class of 2019 (Alabama): Billingsley was a multi-year starter who was also was one of the most impressive football players and athletes to come out of Chicago. He also played defensive end and quarterback for the Wildcats and was simply one of the biggest and best at his position during his high school career.
Nathan Marcus, Glenbard West’s Class of 2013 (Vanderbilt)
Daniel Helm, Glenwood’s Class of 2014 (Tennessee/Duke)
Cole Kmet, St. Viator’s Class of 2017 (Notre Dame)
Luke Ford, Carterville’s Class of 2018 (Georgia/Illinois)