Mount Carmel’s Blainey Dowling (7) runs the ball against Brother Rice.

Mount Carmel’s Blainey Dowling (7) runs the ball against Brother Rice.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times All-Area high school football team

The top players in the area for the 2022 season.


Anthony Birsa, Joliet Catholic

Anthony Birsa, Joliet Catholic

OL Anthony Birsa, Joliet Catholic

Sr. 6-4, 290 pounds

Committed to Northwestern. ESCC/CCL Orange Division Lineman of the Year. Helped pace an offense that averaged more than 400 yards and 40 points.

TJ McMillen, St. Francis

TJ McMillen, St. Francis

OL TJ McMillen, St. Francis

Sr. 6-3, 275 pounds

Illinois recruit. Played almost every snap on both sides of the ball for four years. Had 108 pancakes and 68 tackles, 9 TFLs, 4.5 sacks and 14 hurries on defense.

Justin Scott, St. Ignatius

Justin Scott, St. Ignatius

OL Justin Scott, St. Ignatius

Jr. 6-5, 312 pounds

Has more than 30 FBS scholarship offers including Alabama, Ohio State and USC. CCL/ESCC White Lineman of the year. Led Wolfpack to Class 6A state semifinals.

Chris Terek, Glenbard West

Chris Terek, Glenbard West

OL Chris Terek, Glenbard West

Sr. 6-5, 310 pounds

Notre Dame recruit. West Suburban Silver Offensive Lineman of the Year. Selected to play in prestigious Army All-American game.

Eddie Tuerk, Lyons

Eddie Tuerk, Lyons

OL Eddie Tuerk, Lyons

Jr. 6-4, 250 pounds

Helped lead Lyons to a 9-3 season and a spot in the Class 8A quarterfinals. Powerful, fast lineman that impacts both sides of the ball and special teams.

Blainey Dowling, Mount Carmel

Blainey Dowling, Mount Carmel

QB Blainey Dowling, Mount Carmel

Sr. 6-2, 195 pounds

Led Mount Carmel to an undefeated season and the Class 7A state championship. Threw for 2,981 yards and 43 touchdowns. CCL/ESCC Blue Lawless Athlete of the Year.

Andre Crews, Simeon

Andre Crews, Simeon

RB Andre Crews, Simeon

Sr. 5-11, 160 pounds

The area’s most dynamic running back. Led the Wolverines to a 12-1 season and the Prep Bowl title. Averaged 11.2 yards per carry and finished with 2,307 yards and 40 touchdowns.

Vinny Rugai, St. Ignatius

Vinny Rugai, St. Ignatius

RB Vinny Rugai, St. Ignatius

Sr. 6-0, 195 pounds

Team’s leading rusher, scorer and tackler. Let Wolfpack to conference title and first state semifinal. CCL/ESCC White Lawless Player of the Year. School’s all-time leading rusher.

Lynel Billups-Williams, Crete-Monee

Lynel Billups-Williams, Crete-Monee

WR Lynel Billups-Williams, Crete-Monee

Sr. 5-10, 170 pounds

Miami of Ohio recruit. Put together a massive season with 78 catches for 1,636 yards and 21 touchdowns. Both marks are the best in school history and seventh best in IHSA history.

Josh Franklin, Crete-Monee

Josh Franklin, Crete-Monee

WR Joshua Franklin, Crete-Monee

Sr. 5-10, 175 pounds

Western Michigan recruit. Breathtaking athlete able to change the game in an instant on offense, defense and special teams. Four-year varsity starter.

I’Marion Stewart, Bolingbrook

I’Marion Stewart, Bolingbrook

WR I’Marion Stewart, Bolingbrook

Jr. 6-1, 180 pounds

Possibly the most gifted pass-catcher in the area. Has offers from more than two dozen FBS colleges and had 63 catches, 1,001 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

Tyler Vasey, Prairie Ridge

Tyler Vasey, Prairie Ridge

ATH Tyler Vasey, Prairie Ridge

Sr. 5-11, 170 pounds

Sun-Times Player of the Year. Season total of 3,878 yards is a state record and the most rushing yards in the country this year. Also second in state history with 53 rushing touchdowns.


Brooks Bahr, Loyola

Brooks Bahr, Loyola

DL Brooks Bahr, Loyola

Sr. 6-6, 270 pounds

Michigan recruit. Dominating force on the defensive line for the Class 8A state champions. CCL/ESCC Blue Division Lineman of the Year.

Pat Farrell, St. Rita

Pat Farrell, St. Rita

DL Pat Farrell, St. Rita

Sr. 6-5, 235 pounds

Illinois recruit. Gained weight and strength and became a game changing player this season. CCL/ESCC Green Division Outstanding Defensive Player.

Marquise Lightfoot, Kenwood

Marquise Lightfoot, Kenwood

DL Marquise Lightfoot, Kenwood

Jr. 6-5, 215

Holds offers from more than 20 FBS colleges including Auburn, Michigan State, Notre Dame and USC. Disruptive, dominant defensive force leading Kenwood’s resurgence.

Roderick Pierce, Brother Rice

Roderick Pierce, Brother Rice

DL Roderick Pierce, Brother Rice

Sr. 6-3, 290 pounds

Uncommitted senior holds more than 20 offers from FBS colleges including Michigan, Auburn, Texas and Michigan State. He helped a young Brother Rice team remaining competitive in the loaded CCL/ESCC Blue.

Tyler Jansey, Batavia

Tyler Jansey, Batavia

LB Tyler Jansey, Batavia

Sr. 6-1, 215 pounds

Wisconsin recruit. Led Bulldogs to Class 7A state championship game while starring on offense and defense. Made more than 120 tackles and scored eight touchdowns.

Matt Kingsbury, St. Rita

Matt Kingsbury, St. Rita

LB Matt Kingsbury, St. Rita

Sr. 6-3, 230 pounds

Uncommitted senior with offers from Navy, Purdue, Illinois and more. CCL/ESCC Green Division Lawless Athlete of the Year. Finished with 131 tackles, 11 sacks and two blocked punts.

Jake Scianna, Lincoln-Way East

Jake Scianna, Lincoln-Way East

LB Jake Scianna, Lincoln-Way East

Sr. 6-0, 225 pounds

Battled through injury to lead Griffins to the Class 8A state championship game. Led the team with more than 90 tackles.

Malik Elzy, Simeon

Malik Elzy, Simeon

DB Malik Elzy, Simeon

Sr. 6-3, 198

Uncommitted senior holds offers from nearly 30 FBS colleges. Army All-American Game selection. Led the Wolverines to a 12-1 season and the Prep Bowl title.

Jyaire Hill, Kankakee

Jyaire Hill, Kankakee

DB Jyaire Hill, Kankakee

Sr. 6-1, 170

Imposing athlete that led the Kays return to prominence. Holds offers from more than 25 FBS colleges including Michigan, Notre Dame and Cincinnati.

John Nestor, Marist

John Nestor, Marist

DB John Nestor, Marist

Sr. 6-1, 190 pounds

Iowa recruit. Finished with 52 total tackles and four interceptions and was a threat on offense with 223 receving yards and a touchdown.

Justin Taylor, Nazareth

Justin Taylor, Nazareth

DB Justin Taylor, Nazareth

Sr. 6-1, 185 pounds

Wisconsin recruit. Also played receiver and running back. Had 35 tackles, 550 receiving yards and 361 rushing yards for Class 5A state champions.

Conor Talty, St. Rita

Conor Talty, St. Rita

P/K Conor Talty, St. Rita

Sr. 6-1, 190 pounds

Alabama recruit. Was 42 of 43 on PAT’s and 17-for-21 on field goals with a long of 51 yards. Averaged 45.8 yards per punt. Holds school record for most field goals in a season.

Honorable Mentions

Austin Alexander, Marian Catholic, DB, Jr.

Michael Barberi, Andrew, RB, Sr.

Michael Barretto, Taft, OL, Sr.

AJ Bassett, Deerfield, DE, Sr.

Carl Bew, Joliet West, QB, Sr.

Ryan Boling, Andrew, S, Sr.

Michael Cervantes, Buffalo Grove, WR/DB, Sr.

Chris Clark, Amundsen, QB, Sr.

Jovan Clark, Morgan Park, LB/SS, So.

Luke Cushing, Montini, TE/DT, Sr.

Earnest Davis, Chicago Academy, QB, Sr.

Dermerie Dean, Joliet Central, LB/TE, Sr.

Jailen Duffie, Warren, DB/WR, Sr.

Chris Durr, Morgan Park, WR, Jr.

Joep Engbers, Fenwick, DL/OL, Sr.

Tyler Erkman, Lake Zurich, WR/DB, Sr.

Davonte Evans, Argo, WR/DB, Sr.

Eddie Fleck, Mount Carmel, OL, Sr.

Denny Furlong, Mount Carmel, WR, Sr.

Collin Gerger, St. Rita, OL, Sr.

Cal Grabowski, Lake Zurich, LB, Sr.

Carson Grove, Hersey, WR/S, Jr.

HJ Grigsby, Joliet Catholic, RB, Jr.

Brandon Hansen, Mundelein, OL, Jr.

Jamel Howard, Marist, DL, Sr.

Jeremy Johnson, Joliet Catholic, DE, Sr.

Grzegorz Krupa, Taft, DL/OL, Sr.

Keshawn Lewis-Hunt, Bremen, RB/LB, Jr.

Tyler Lofton, Marian Catholic, RB, So.

Richie Marmol, Lake Zurich, OL, Sr.

Nate Marshall, Fenwick, DL, So.

Finn Merrill, Lane, RB/DB, Sr.

Kaiden Miller, Grayslake Central, WR, Sr.

Adam Muench, Amundsen, WR/S, Sr.

Cole Ostendorf, York, LB, Jr.

Anthony Palano, Buffalo Grove, WR/LB, Jr.

Antonio Russell, Eisenhower, WR, Jr.

Payton Salomon, Lemont, QB, Sr.

Vince Sciarrone, Deerfield, RB, Sr.

Zach Shashoua, Lane, LB, Sr.

Marcel Siepko, Mundelein, RB/LB, Sr.

Ryan Sims, Marist, WR, Sr.

Christian Smith, Joliet Central, RB/WR, So.

Terrence Smith, West Aurora, WR, So.

Corey Stennis, Crete-Monee, QB, Sr.

Christian Sticklen, Joliet West, DL, Sr.

Nick Strelzcyk, St. Rita, Sr., OL

Talyn Taylor, Geneva, WR, So.

Charley Thompson, Warren, RB, Sr.

Breyahn Townsend, Bremen, RB, Sr.

Matt Vezz, York, QB, Sr.

Luke Wallace, Lemont, WR, Sr.

Pierce Walsh, Benet, TE/WR, Sr.

Jenari Ward, Catalyst Maria, RB, Jr.

John Weidenbach, Benet, LB, Sr.

Bryan Wilson, Eisenhower, DE, Jr.

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