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High school football preview: The top 10 offensive linemen

A pair of Big Ten recruits and five players from the Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic highlight the list of the area’s top offensive linemen.

Marist’s Thomas Wollenberg (2) celebrates a victory over Brother Rice by jumping into teammate Deuce McGuire (79).
Marist’s Thomas Wollenberg (2) celebrates a victory over Brother Rice by jumping into teammate Deuce McGuire (79).
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

A pair of Big Ten recruits and five players from the Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic highlight the list of the area’s top offensive linemen.

1. Deuce McGuire, Marist

The 6-5, 270-pounder teamed with current Notre Dame freshman Pat Coogan last spring to form the state’s premier offensive line tandem. McGuire, a three-star prospect, is the consensus No. 7 player in the state’s class of 2022 and is No. 53 nationally among senior offensive tackles. He’s committed to Northwestern.

2. Valen Erickson, St. Rita

A relative latecomer to football, Erickson originally figured his future was in basketball and didn’t hit the gridiron till seventh grade. This will be just his second full season with the Mustangs, whom he joined after moving from Ocala, Florida before his sophomore year. He’s a top-20 player in Illinois’ senior class and is committed to Nebraska.

3. Luke Dalton, Marian Central

The 6-5, 300-pounder is rated 20th among Illinois seniors in 247Sports.com’s composite rankings. He’s one of the most recent prospects to come off the recruiting board, committing to Cincinnati last week.

4. Yaser Al-Awadi, Maine East

Few prospects have come as far as fast as the 6-8, 300-pound senior, who didn’t start playing football till late in his freshman year. But now he’s on everyone’s radar, and his nine offers include Michigan State, Purdue, West Virginia and Kansas.

5. Jimmy Liston, Fenwick

The Friars have three offensive skill players already committed to D-I schools, and Liston will be joining that list at some point. Ranked 27th among Illinois seniors, the 6-4, 310-pounder has nine offers from the likes of Arizona State, Mississippi, Penn State and Texas Tech.

Fenwick’s Jimmy Liston at practice in Oak Park.
Fenwick’s Jimmy Liston at practice in Oak Park.
Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

6. Mack Indestad, Lemont

The 6-7, 265-pounder is back to open more running lanes for senior back Albert Kunickis and the Indians’ run-focused attack. Indestad is ranked 32nd among the state’s seniors and is committed to Eastern Michigan.

7. Austin Barrett, St. Charles East

The 6-6, 275-pounder is among the nation’s top offensive tackles in the class of 2023. He has offers from Illinois, Iowa State and Syracuse and can expect that list to grow as college coaches see more of his junior film.

8. Paolo Gennarelli, St, Charles North

An exceptional athlete, Gennarelli also was a state-qualifying shot putter this spring. The 6-3, 275-pounder is committed to Army.

9. Gabe Rosen, Evanston

A 6-7, 340-pounder with a 6-11 wingspan, Rosen was an anchor of the Wildkits’ offensive line last spring as a sophomore. Expect him to be the next hot prospect for a program that is sending linebacker Sebastian Cheeks to North Carolina next season.

10. Carter McAlilly, Brother Rice

Not many sophomores start for the Crusaders, especially on the offensive line. McAlilly is part of that select group, and the 6-1, 290-pounder is back for a third season to protect quarterback Jack Lausch and open holes for speedy back Aaron Vaughn.