Four Big Ten recruits are among the area’s top 10 receivers, led by a pair of four-star prospects: seniors AJ Henning of Lincoln-Way East and Jadon Thompson of Naperville Central.
1. AJ Henning, Lincoln-Way East, Sr. (5-10, 183)
A hero of East’s state-title win over Loyola in 2017, Henning has dealt with nagging injuries each of the past two seasons. But the state’s top-ranked senior, a four-star recruit headed to Michigan, showed he’s healthy again by taking fourth in the Class 3A 100 meters this spring.
2. Jadon Thompson, Naperville Central, Sr. (6-2, 160)
Another four-star recruit, Thompson had offers from 14 schools, including seven in the Big Ten, before committing to Illinois. He’ll be catching passes from another Power Five prospect, quarterback Sam Jackson, after transferring from Marist.
3. Jameson Geers, Providence, Jr. (6-5, 230)
The state’s top-ranked junior tight end is also in the top 20 nationally at his position. His 15 offers include Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa and Purdue from the Big Ten, along with other Power Five schools such as Iowa State and Kansas.
4. Tyler Morris, Nazareth, So. (5-10, 160)
Morris started as a freshman for the Class 7A champs, catching 22 passes for 419 yards and three TDs. He’ll be a target both of five-star quarterback JJ McCarthy and college recruiters. His Power Five offers include Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Illinois and Northwestern.
5. Dino Kaliakmanis, Antioch, Jr. (6-2, 188)
Like his quarterback brother Athan, Kaliakmanis is committed to Minnesota. He’ll be playing on both sides of the ball for the Sequoits and is a good enough athlete that he may also be used on defense by the Gophers.
6. Henry Wilson, St. Rita, Jr. (5-11, 175)
Another speedy playmaker for the Mustangs like sophomore Kaleb Brown, Wilson is a three-star prospect who has an offer from Boston College. He had just 27 touches last season, but scored five touchdowns.
7. Hunter Welcing, Lake Zurich, Sr. (6-4, 220)
Despite not playing football till he was a sophomore, Welcing is ranked No. 1 among Illinois tight ends in the Class of 2020 and in the top 60 nationally. The former hockey player has committed to Northwestern.
8. Nate Muersch, Montini, Sr. (6-5, 215)
Muersch’s length and size made him the top receiving option for the defending Class 5A champs. He averaged 16.5 yards per catch and finished with 543 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last season and is committed to Miami (Ohio).
9. Reggie Fleurima, Naperville Central, So. (6-2, 200)
Like Thompson, Fleurima is new to the Redhawks after transferring from Naperville North. And he’s also an elite prospect with Power Five offers from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Purdue.
10. Will Pauling, Homewood-Flossmoor, Jr. (5-10, 165)
The speedy Pauling is the top receiver back for the Vikings and figures to play a more prominent role this fall in a passing game led by senior quarterback Dominick Jones. Pauling has an offer from Cincinnati.