The area’s top 10 pass catchers include a Notre Dame commit, the Public League’s top prospect and four Big Ten recruits.
Here’s a closer look:
1. Cam Williams, Glenbard South
After the 6-2, 185-pounder moved from running back to wide receiver when he got to high school, his recruiting stock soared. The four-star junior is the No. 2 player in the state in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, and he’s 16th nationally among wide receivers as well as a top-70 prospect overall. Committed to Notre Dame, he caught 37 passes for 671 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
2. Malik Elzy, Simeon
The Public League’s top senior is a four-star prospect committed to Cincinnati. A 6-3, 195-pounder who also plays defensive back for the Wolverines, he is No. 5 among Illinois seniors, No. 35 among receivers and a top-300 player nationally.
3. Deakon Tonielli, Oswego
The Michigan tight end recruit is long and rangy at 6-5 and 215 pounds. In the Panthers’ run-focused offense, he caught 35 passes for 385 yards and two TDs last fall, but look for those numbers to rise. He’s the sixth-ranked senior in the state and the No. 22 tight end nationally.
4. Christian Betancur, Marian Central
The 6-5, 240-pound junior’s 31 offers include both of his home state’s Big Ten programs as well as some of college football’s biggest names: Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The tight end caught 53 passes for 1,165 yards and 16 TDs last season. He’s ranked fourth in his class in Illinois and is eighth at his position and 177th overall nationally.
5. Frank Covey IV, Prospect
The Swiss Army Knife of football players, Covey is equally successful throwing and catching passes. A 6-2, 185-pounder committed to Northwestern, he figures to line up at receiver this season. He’s 13th among Illinois seniors and ranked the 68th best athlete nationally.
6. Grant Stec, Jacobs
Another talented junior tight end from the far northwest suburbs, Stec is a four-star prospect whose 14 offers include Arkansas, Cincinnati, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The 6-6, 220-pounder is No. 3 among Illinois juniors, and No. 7 among tight ends and No. 170 overall nationally.
7. I’Marion Stewart, Bolingbrook
The Raiders have plenty of playmakers on offense, and this 6-1, 180-pound junior is one of the best. A four-star receiver who’s ranked sixth in his class in Illinois and 254th overall nationally, he has 18 offers from the likes of Cincinnati, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
8. Pierce Walsh, Benet
A productive two-way player, the 6-4, 212-pound senior caught 30 passes for 474 yards and three touchdowns as a tight end last year and also had a couple of sacks as a defensive end. Committed to Minnesota, he’s a top-25 senior in Illinois.
9. Justin Taylor, Nazareth
The senior Wisconsin recruit and top-25 Illinois senior is part of a productive pitch-and-catch duo for the Roadrunners with quarterback Logan Malachuk. Taylor had 44 catches for 795 yards and seven TDs last season and also had 40 carries for 213 yards and five scores.
10. Lynel Billups-Williams, Crete-Monee
Like his quarterback Joshua Franklin, Billups-Williams is a reigning state sprint relay champ. The 5-11, 160-pound Miami (Ohio) commit caught 82 passes for 1,433 yards and 14 TDs last season and also ran 20 times for 201 yards and two touchdowns.