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Nazareth’s J.J. McCarthy (2) looks for an open receiver during the game against Notre Dame.
Nazareth’s J.J. McCarthy (2) looks for an open receiver during the game against Notre Dame.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

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2019 Chicago Sun-Times All-Area football team

The top players in the area for the 2019-20 football season.

Offense

Jeremiah Banks-Wall, Montini
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OL Jeremiah Banks-Wall, Montini

Sr. 6-6, 260 pounds

Bowling Green recruit. Three-year starter, added thirty pounds in the offseason and was a force on both lines. Helped lead Broncos to state title game in 2018. Two-time First Team All-Conference selection.


Dylan Barrett, St. Charles East
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OL Dylan Barrett, St. Charles East

Sr., 6-5, 305 pounds

Wisconsin recruit. Ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the state overall
and No. 46 at his position nationally by 247Sports. Will leave high
school a semester early to get a head start with the Badgers.


Jalen Grant, Mount Carmel
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OL Jalen Grant, Mount Carmel

Sr. 6-3, 297 pounds

Uncommitted. Won the CCCL/ESCC Blue’s Tony Lawless Award, given to the Most Valuable overall player, an astounding achievement for a lineman. Plays both ways and never leaves the field for the undefeated Caravan.


Marcus Harper, Homewood-Flossmoor
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OL Marcus Harper, Homewood Flossmoor

Sr., 6-4, 290 pounds

Oregon recruit. Ranked as the No. 13 prospect in the state overall and No. 47 at his position nationally by 247Sports. Led a dominant line that allowed the Vikings’ offense to average 6.1 yards per carry and 7.2 yards per play.


Peter Skoronski, Maine South
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OL Peter Skoronski, Maine South

Sr., 6-4, 278 pounds

Northwestern recruit. Ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the state overall and No. 4 at his position nationally by 247Sports. Had 171 career pancakes, which some speculate is a state record. Allowed three sacks in three years, none as a senior. Dave Inserra says he’s the best player he’s coached.


JJ McCarthy, Nazareth
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

QB JJ McCarthy, Nazareth

Jr. 6-2, 180 pounds

Michigan recruit. The area’s most talented quarterback in recent memory. Led Roadrunners to undefeated season and state title game appearance. Completed 181 of 290 passes for 2,704 yards with 33 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Also averaged 39 yards per punt.


Sean Allen, Homewood-Flossmoor
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RB Sean Allen, Homewood-Flossmoor

Jr. 5-9, 170 pounds

Uncommitted. Swift, darty runner posted the area’s most impressive rushing totals. Had 284 carries for 2,042 yards and 24 touchdowns. Averaged 7.2 yards per carry. Posted an astounding 333 yards and four TDs in a second-round playoff win against Neuqua Valley.


Kaleb Brown, St. Rita
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RB Kaleb Brown, St. Rita

So. 5-11, 177 pounds

Uncommitted. A rare talent able to impose his will on the CCL/ESCC as a sophomore. Had 234 carries for 1,947 yards and 35 touchdowns. Also caught 16 passes for 291 yards to help lead the Mustangs to the Class 5A state title game.


Mar’Keise Irving, Hillcrest
Evan F. Moore/Sun-Times

RB Mar’Keise Irving, Hillcrest

Jr. 5-10, 175 pounds

Uncommitted. The area’s best combination of speed and brutal power. Ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the state overall and No. 26 at his position nationally by 247Sports. Had 178 carries for 1,733 yards and 22 TDs. Caught 24 passes for 405 yards and four TDs.


AJ Henning, Lincoln-Way East
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WR AJ Henning, Lincoln-Way East

Sr. 5-10, 185 pounds

Michigan recruit. Sun-Times Player of the Year. Ranked as the top prospect in the state overall and No. 19 at his position nationally by 247Sports. Led Griffins to state title as a sophomore and title game appearance this season. Had 92 carries for 523 yards and 14 TDs and 52 receptions for 748 yards and 13 TDs.


Tyler Morris, Nazareth
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WR Tyler Morris, Nazareth

So. 6-0, 165 pounds

Uncommitted. Will be a Power Five recruit. Blinding speed and good hands made him McCarthy’s favorite target with 68 catches for 1,237 yards and 17 TDs. Rushed 16 times for 253 yards and three TDs. Also played in the secondary, where he had three interceptions and one TD.


Sam Tumilty, Willowbrook
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ATH Sam Tumilty, Willowbrook

Sr. 5-8, 156 pounds

Uncommitted. Best player in school history, led the Warriors to the state semifinals for the first time since 1975. Accounted for more than 4,000 yards (2,525 passing, 1,551 rushing) and 43 TDs. Also made 89 tackles and an interception.


Defense

Justin Jefferson, Brother Rice
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DL Justin Jefferson, Brother Rice

Sr. 5-10, 232 pounds

Uncommitted. Dominant force on the line for Crusaders team that advanced to the Class 8A semifinals this season and the title game last season. Led the team with 72 tackles (18 for a loss) and had three sacks. A CCL/ESCC Blue Division All-Conference selection.


Sean McLaughlin, Lincoln-Way East
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DL Sean McLaughlin, Lincoln-Way East

Sr. 6-7, 220 pounds

Northwestern recruit. Tailsman for one of the state’s dominant units over the past two seasons. Posted 50 tackles (nine for a loss) and three sacks. Ranked as the No. 14 prospect in the state overall and No. 44 at his position nationally by 247Sports.


Rylie Mills, Lake Forest
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DL Rylie Mills, Lake Forest

Sr. 6-5, 275 pounds

Notre Dame recruit. Ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the state overall and No. 7 at his position nationally by 247Sports. The state’s best defensive lineman was limited to just seven games due to injury but still posted 24 tackles (11 for a loss) and three sacks.


Willis Singleton Jr.. Warren
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DL Willis Singleton Jr., Warren

Sr. 6-1, 301 pounds

Iowa State recruit. Backbone of the state’s best defense which has allowed just 40 points and 13 games and posted six shutouts en route to the Class 8A state title game. Has 43 tackles (23 for a loss), 14 sacks and a safety. Ranked as the No. 18 prospect in the state overall and No. 76 at his position nationally by 247Sports.


Juan Delacruz, Warren
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LB Juan Delacruz, Warren

Sr. 6-3, 220 pounds

Uncommitted. Dynamic force on the state’s best defense which has allowed just 40 points and 13 games and posted six shutouts en route to the Class 8A state title game. Has 81 tackles (27 for a loss), seven sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception.


Austin Maciel-Haygood, Mount Carmel
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LB Austin Maciel-Haygood, Mount Carmel

Jr. 5-11, 215 pounds

Uncommitted. Standout performer on a dominant trio of Caravan linebackers that has led the way to the Class 7A state title game. Topped the team with 107 tackles (13 for a loss), five sacks and one interception. A CCL/ESCC Blue Division All-Conference selection.


Quinn Urwiler, Batavia
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LB Quinn Urwiler, Batavia

Sr., 6-0 180 pounds

Uncommitted. Possibly the area’s most disruptive defensive force, proved his mettle against mighty East St. Louis. Finished with 77 tackles (15 for a loss), 4.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and three interceptions. Also a major contributor on offense with 107 carries for 557 yards and 14 TDs.


Giacomo Iraci, Brother Rice
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DB Giacomo Iraci, Brother Rice

Sr. 6-2, 175 pounds

Western Michigan recruit. Standout on Crusaders defense that advanced to Class 8A semifinals this season and title game last season. Posted 68 tackles, four blocked passes and one interception as a senior. A CCL/ESCC Blue Division All-Conference selection.


Ryan Kilburg, Maine South
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DB Ryan Kilburg, Maine South

Sr. 6-1, 183 pounds

Western Michigan recruit. Started 34 games in his career. An impact player on both sides of the field. Had 56 tackles, three interceptions on defense. Offensive Player of the Year in the CSL South with 44 catches for 560 yards and seven TDs and 31 carries for 270 yards and three TDs. Also had a 98-yard kickoff return TD.


Donovan Lacey, DeKalb
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DB Donovan Lacey, DeKalb

Sr. 5-9, 183 pounds

Western Illinois recruit. DuPage Valley conference Defensive Player of the Year. Three-year varsity starter that rarely came off the field. Made 97 tackles, broke up eight passes, blocked two kicks and had two interceptions. Also scored seven TDs: four receiving, one rushing, one kickoff return and one interception return.


Ronald Pledger, Phillips
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DB Ronald Pledger, Phillips

Sr. 6-1, 166 pounds

Western Michigan recruit. Dynamic playmaker on both sides of the field. Finished with 80 tackles, 15 passes defended and two interceptions for the Wildcats. Had 12 receptions for 308 yards and seven TDs, including a miraculous game-winning grab in the state playoffs against Lincoln-Way West.


Jack Olsen, Wheaton-Warrenville South
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P/K Jack Olsen, Wheaton-Warrenville South

Sr. 5-11, 170 pounds

Michigan State recruit. Made all 42 of his extra point attempts this season and 10 field goals. Had touchbacks on 54 of 64 kickoffs. Set the IHSA single-game record last season with eight field goals in one game and broke the single-season record with 22 field goals in 24 attempts.

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