High school football preview: The top 10 offensive linemen

The top two senior prospects in Illinois are offensive linemen — Notre Dame-bound Charles Jagusah of Alleman and Alabama recruit Miles NcVay of East St. Louis — and it’s a position group that’s loaded with Chicago-area talent as well. Here’s a look:

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Glenbard West’s Chris Terek completes a drill during practice.

Glenbard West’s Chris Terek completes a drill during practice.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The top two senior prospects in Illinois are offensive linemen — Notre Dame-bound Charles Jagusah of Alleman and Alabama recruit Miles NcVay of East St. Louis — and it’s a position group that’s loaded with Chicago-area talent as well. Here’s a look:

1. Christopher Terek, Glenbard West

The Hilltoppers’ calling card is their run game and it starts up front with an offensive line that returns intact from last season. The best of the bunch is this 6-6, 295-pounder, who is the No. 11 senior in the state according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings. A three-star prospect at tackle, he’s a top-50 player nationally at his position and is committed to Wisconsin.

2. Anthony Birsa, Joliet Catholic

Most of the starters from last year’s 14-0 Class 4A state championship team have graduated, but Birsa is a good piece to build around. The 6-4, 285-pounder helped the Hilltoppers produce two 1,000-yard rushers and a 1,000-yard passer in 2021. The Northwestern recruit is No. 12 among Illinois seniors and a top-60 player nationally among interior linemen.

3. Austin Barrett, St. Charles East

Another Big Ten recruit, Barrett is committed to Indiana. The 6-7, 275-pound senior is No. 14 in Illinois and also had offers from Cincinnati, Illinois and Iowa State among others.

4. TJ McMillen, St. Francis

Football is a family affair for the McMillens: Bob is the Spartans’ coach and an Arena League Hall of Famer, while TJ is one of the nation’s top interior linemen. The 6-3, 270-pound center has more than 30 offers and is committed to Illinois. He’s the No. 19 senior in Illinois and is an academic all-stater.

5. Michael Jimmar, Plainfield East

Ranked 34th among seniors in Illinois, Jimmar can be an impact player on both sides of the ball for the Bengals. A 6-5, 280-pounder, he’s committed to Northern Illinois.

6. Jacob Welch, Johnsburg

Another NIU recruit, Welch is rated 37th among Illinois seniors. He’s a 6-6, 290-pounder who’ll provide leadership for a young Skyhawks team.

7. Trenton VanBoening, Libertyville

The 6-6, 295-pounder will be a second-generation Division I football player as his dad Simon played at Nebraska and Kansas State. Trenton, ranked 43rd among Illinois seniors, is committed to Eastern Michigan.

8. Brandon Hansen, Mundelein

Another top prospect from the North Suburban Conference, Hansen is the 17th-ranked junior in the state. Illinois is among the schools that have offered scholarships to the 6-6, 290-pounder.

9. Nick Strelczyk, St. Rita

The 6-4, 310-pound senior is back to help anchor a veteran offensive line for the returning Class 7A state semifinalists. He has more than a dozen offers, including from all three service academies, and has been getting significant Ivy League interest.

10. Grzegorz Krupa, Taft

The 6-3, 260-pound senior has been starting on the offensive line since he was a freshman and on the defensive line since he was a sophomore. He had more than 40 pancake blocks last season along with 11 tackles for loss.

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