Highland Park’s mighty mite

Barrington-based recruiting analyst Tom Lemming scours the country every summer in search of the top high school football prospects headed to college. Lemming publishes the Prep Football Report, a series of guides for college coaches with pictures of each player and pages and pages of biographies, profiles, GPAs and ACT/SAT scores.

It’s a good bet that Highland Park junior Alex Dub will not be profiled next summer. Dub is the Giants’ smallest player, starting at one of the team’s biggest positions. He is a 5-foot-5, 145-pound nose tackle anchoring first-year coach Hal Chiodo’s 3-5 defense. Defending CSL North champion Highland Park (4-3, 3-0) plays its biggest game of the season at 7 p.m. Friday when Deerfield (5-2, 3-0) visits with a conference title on the line.

Dub (pictured, above right) plays between ends Josh Ruby (6-3, 205) and Brendan Rhatican (6-2, 200). He looks even smaller next to those guys on the field, but Dub somehow seems to be in on every tackle.

“It’s all fun. Guys are bigger, but that doesn’t matter. Size is not important. It’s how much you hustle,” Dub said. After that comment, one of Dub’s teammates reached over and tapped Dub on the chest. The teammate said: “It’s what’s inside.”

Just how small is Dub? He would be a lightweight on the wrestling team. Nose tackle is usually a position reserved for walking bowling balls. The Chicago Bears use defensive tackles on a four-man front, but Tommie Harris (6-3, 295) and Anthony Adams (6-0, 307) could eat Dub for lunch. Even Northwestern’s two defensive tackles — Corbin Bryant (6-4, 275) and Adam Hahn (6-4, 295) — have NFL size.

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Dub is the latest mini Giant to inherit the nose tackle position. Last year’s starter, Nick Coletta, was among the smallest players on the field. Highland Park’s next smallest player on this year’s roster is junior reserve running back-defensive back Sam Pickus (5-9, 160).

It was Chiodo’s idea during the summer to move Dub to the nose tackle. Chiodo also used smaller than average nose tackles while coaching at Downstate Morton before coming to Highland Park.

“Often our defensive coordinator was the wrestling coach,” Chiodo said. “Usually that guy was a wrestler.”

Chiodo has become one of Dub’s biggest fans. Next season, Chiodo plans on switching Dub to tailback, a statement about his speed. HIghland Park’s current back is bruiser Jordan Reisner (6-1, 205), who rushed for over 100 yards for the fifth consecutive time with a career-high 201 yards and two touchdowns in Friday night’s 19-13 win over Glenbrook North.

“We’re pretty proud of that guy (Dub),” Chiodo said. “He’s not a big guy. He’s one of those fighters that go hard on every single play.”

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