Imagine you're the chief recruiter for a new university. Someone has just handed you a list of the Tribune's 1993 All-State offense and said these 12 young men want to play on the same college team, at someplace where they can start fresh. The Fab Five did it at Michigan, why not in football?
College scouts and local high school coaches had labeled this the "year of the lineman" because of all the projected Division I talent at that position. Somewhere along the way, the running backs took over. Marian Catholic's Terence Marable, Wheaton-Warrenville South's Bobby Nelson and Shepard's Allen Ross began dominating games en route to claim spots in the All-State first-team backfield.
There was so much talent that Montini's Joe Hyland had to settle for a spot on the second team despite rushing for 2,069 yards and scoring 39 touchdowns. Ditto for Peoria Richwoods' Kevin Robinson with 2,177 yards and 29 TDs.
Symbolic of this game-breaking season is the choice at quarterback.
Bolingbrook's Greg Williams established himself as the most dangerous player in the state, cranking out 2,550 all-purpose yards, scoring 23 touchdowns and routinely going 60 yards on quarterback keepers and kick and punt returns. He also catches passes, intercepts them and completes them, making him the player of the year. Illinois, Northwestern, North Carolina and Colorado State top his college list.
"Greg Williams is without a doubt the most exciting player in the state," said Bolingbrook coach Phil Acton, who guides his team into the Class 5A title game Saturday against Belvidere.
A true measure of Williams' talent is that he overshadowed second-team All-State running back Corey Day, who has 2,151 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns. Nelson and Marable are terrific breakaway runners with Nelson rushing for 1,690 yards and 24 TDs and Marable 2,218 and 36 TDs.
"It was easy to call plays this year," said Marian Catholic coach Dave Mattio, whose Spartans face Geneseo Friday night for the 4A title. "You give the ball to Marable and he goes 60 yards for a touchdown. There's no genius in calling that."
Ross demonstrated surprising breakaway speed for a 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pounder, rushing for 1,240 yard and 15 touchdowns, averaging 8.1 yards per carry.
"He is simply the best player in northern Illinois and maybe the entire state," said an admiring rival, Richards coach Gary Korhonen.
Klaas, the lone junior on the first team, caught 50 passes for 1,154 yards and 12 touchdowns and averaged 23 yards per reception.
Teaming with Klaas is multitalented wideout David Saunders of Palatine. He has the speed to burn you on a fade route and the height (6-3) and vertical leap to outjump most any cornerback for a lob pass. After catching 48 passes for 948 yards and 13 TDs and recording 59 tackles, a fumble recovery, four quarterback sacks and four interceptions-two returned for TDs-as a safety; and after a school-record 80-yard punt return, Saunders is starting on the Pirates' basketball team.
Williams, Nelson, Marable and Ross could run all day behind an offensive line featuring 6-6, 290-pound Sam Williams of Thornton and 6-5, 285-pound Tom Speck of Reavis. Alongside them are 6-5, 270-pound Derek Rose of Naperville Central; 6-4, 265-pound Greg Reid of Andrew; and 6-4, 265-pound Mike Bartolini of Marian Catholic.
Just in case this dream offense ever misfires, the best kicker in the state is on the sidelines. Bolingbrook's Danny Durkin set a state record this season with his 143 career PAT kicks while also converting field goals from 50, 42 and 40 yards. His four field goals last week enabled the Raiders to overcome a stubborn De La Salle defense in a 12-6 semifinal victory. Four times in his career, Durkin has kicked last-minute, winning field goals.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times