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.
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)