JoWahn Brown, Thornton | QB | 6-4, 195, Sr.
2012 Stats: 129-of-179 passing, 1,885 yards, 29 TDs, 8 INTs
Notable: Brown completed 72 percent of his passes and helped the Wildcats to the SouthWest Suburban Red title as well as a trip to the second round of the IHSA Class 7A playoffs. He has several schools including Illinois, Iowa and Northwestern looking at him. With a young team, Brown will be the leader.
Justus Brantley, Bloom Township | RB | 6-0, 180, Sr.
2012 Stats: 130 carries, 1,026 yards, 12 TDs; 9 catches, 146 yards, 2 TDs
Notable: He is starting to received some Division-I looks. He will be one of the top players in the Southland Athletic Conference. Last year, he helped lead the Blazing Trojans to the playoffs for the first time since 1989.
Matt Domer, Mount Carmel | RB | 6-0, 190 Sr.
2012 Stats: 155 carries, 1,365 yards, 20 TDs; 8 catches, 65 yards
Notable: The Illinois recruit averaged 8.8 yards per carry to help lead the Caravan to the Class 8A state title. He is a big-play guy who can break it open at anytime.
Vashon Nutt Jr., Homewood-Flossmoor | WR | 5-9, 161, Sr.
2012 Stats: 17 catches, 277 yards, 5 TDs
Notable: He is expected to have a big year and his speed should burn a few defenses. He has great football knowledge and will be a big part of the Vikings powerful offense.
Jauan Wesley, Thornton | WR | 6-0, 175, Sr.
2012 Stats: 44 catches, 837 yards, 15 TDs
Notable: He recently committed to Iowa State and will be the primary target of JoWahn Brown. The brother of former Thornton standout and current Vanderbilt freshman Jalen Banks, Wesley will stretch and burn a few defensive backs.
Nikita Smith Jr., T.F. North | WR | 5-11, 170, Sr.
2012 Stats: 17 catches, 233 yards, 5 TDs; 82 yards rushing
Notable: One of the bright spots in a tough year for the Meteors in 2012. Smith is a team leader and will play both ways.
Joshua McCaskel, Crete-Monee | OL | 6-3, 305, Sr.
Notable: He was part of an offensive line that allowed just four sacks last year. One of the top linemen in the Southland Athletic Conference
Myshawn Smith, Thornton | OL | 6-3, 265, Sr.
Notable: He was all-SouthWest Suburban Red as a junior and graded out at 89 percent on blocking. He could be the best lineman in the conference and will be one of the reasons the Wildcats should be able to move the ball on the ground as well as the air.
Nate Oquendo, Mount Carmel | OL | 6-2, 290, Sr.
Notable: One of two juniors who started on the offensive line last year. He will be counted on for leadership as well as his blocking prowess.
Gage Bonczek, Marian Catholic | OL | 6-1, 215, Sr.
Notable: If Marian is to be successful on the ground, Bonczek will lead the way. Coach Jerry Verde said he has great feet and toughness.
AJ Price, T.F. North | OL | 6-3, 275, Sr.
Notable: A two-year starter, Price will play both sides of the ball and will be one of the anchors if the Meteors are to move the ball.
Chris Taborn, Marian Catholic | K | 6-2, 175, Sr.
2012 Stats: 16 PATs, 3 FGs, 53-yard kickoff average
Notable: He was almost automatic though Marian did not give him a lot of chances on PATs last year. His foot may keep the Spartans in some games and he has Division I potential.
Kendall McGinnis, Bloom Township | Athlete | 6-0, 195, Sr.
2012 Stats: 60-115 passing, 711 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 126 carries, 469 yards, 6 TDs
Notable: He completed 52 percent of his passes and was an all-Southland pick. His versatility will give defenses fits and will be one of the keys if the Blazing Trojans are to make it to the playoffs again.
Dariel Whitehead, Washington | Athlete | 5-9, 170, Jr.
2012 Stats: 1,068 yards, 9 TDs.
Notable: He can play both ways and was an all-City pick last year. One of the best athletes on the Patriots.
Steve Richardson, Mount Carmel | DL | 5-11, 285, Sr.
2012 Stats: 45 tackles, 21 TFLs
Notable: The Minnesota recruit will spend a lot of time in the opponent's backfield again. He was part of a defense that posted five shutouts last year en route to a Class 8A title.
Rudy Antuna, Crete-Monee | DL | 6-1, 300, Sr.
2012 Stats: 56 tackles, 2 sacks
Notable: An unsung hero last year among the great Crete defense, "Tuna" has a great first step and is great at plugging up holes and tying up several linemen.
Chris Slayton, Crete-Monee | DL | 6-4, 260, Sr.
2012 Stats: 61 tackles, 9 sacks
Notable: He will also play some tight end and will be a two-way threat. He has several Division I offers. Slayton combines size with speed and toughness.
Raphael Canty, T.F. South | DL | 6-4, 270, Sr.
2012 Stats: 60 tackles, 24 assists, 4 1/2 sacks, 3 TFLs
Notable: He will play both ways again and is a three-year varsity starter. He was all-South Suburban Blue last year and will anchor the Rebels' defense.
Nyles Morgan, Crete-Monee | LB | 6-1, 222, Sr.
2012 Stats: 73 solos, 34 assists, 13 TFLs
Notable: The Times 2012 Defensive Player of the Year has 33 offers and is ranked as the seventh-best inside linebacker by one scouting service. He can bring it all, and does. He was one of the the reasons the Warriors shut down opponents and allowed just four regular-season touchdowns last year in winning the Class 6A title and why they are the team to beat in Class 6A this year.
Jariel Brooks, T.F. South | LB | 5-10, 180, Sr.
2012 Stats: 65 tackles, 21 assists, 1 1/2 sacks, 3 TFLS
Notable: Not flashy, but Brooks gets the job done. He gets to the ball and ballcarrier.
Omari Stringer, Crete-Monee | LB | 6-4, 200, Jr.
2012 Stats: 33 tackles, 3 INTs
Notable: Will move to outside linebacker this season after being part of a great secondary. He is a Division-I candidate, one of many at Crete.
Christian Searles, Mount Carmel | DB | 5-11, 175, Sr.
2012 Stats: 39 tackles, 4 INT, 9 break-ups, 1 fumble recovery.
Notable: He led the Caravan in interceptions and passes broken up. Searles also had 39 tackles and also blocked a field goal. He will be one of the defensive leaders. Penn, Cornell and Yale are among schools looking at him.
Jonathan Draper, Crete-Monee | DB | 6-1, 180, Sr.
2012 Stats: 72 tackles, 4 forced fumbles
Notable: He is leader of the secondary and can hit and cover receivers well.
Ronnie Cross, Thornton | DB | 5-11, 185, Sr.,
2012 Stats: 25 solos, 19 assists, 5 INTs, 12 break-ups
Notable: He is part of a strong secondary which can stop the run and pass. Cross has a nose for the football.
Pat Johnson, Homewood-Flossmoor | DB | 5-8, 180, Sr.
2012 Stats: 67 solos, 7 assists, 7 TFLs
Notable: The Vikings' leading returning tackler. Johnson has quickness and football knowledge. He will be tough on receivers.
James Sheehan, Homewood-Flossmoor | P | 6-2, 175, Jr.
2012 Stats: 27 punts, 881 yards, 32.6 avg.
Notable: When the Vikings needed to pin a team deep, Sheehan was the man and will be again this year.
Tifonte Hunt, Thornton | Athlete | 5-11, 170, Sr.
2012 Stats: 21 solos, 3 assists, 3 INTs, 15 break-ups
Notable: He can play the pass and run equally as well. Hunt has several offers and is also a good punt returner as he returned a total of six kickoffs or punts for scores. He will help lead a tough defense for the Wildcats. Hunt has offers from Northern Illinois, Ball State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati.
Tevin Newman, Thornridge | Athlete | 5-11, 155, Jr.
2012 Stats: 650 yards receiving, 8 TDs, 35 solos, 2 kick returns for TDs.
Notable: One of the best players on the Falcons, Newman is a threat because of his speed and ability to break tackles. On defense, he was bright spot in a disappointing year. If Thornridge is to break its 19-game losing streak, Newman will be one of the reasons.
— Compiled Mike Nieto