Nine area athletes have been selected to the 2021 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association’s all-state first teams, which were publicly released Monday.
Prairie Central senior lineman Josh Woodrey landed on the Class 4A first team, while Monticello senior running back/defensive back Chris Brown cracked the Class 3A first team.
In Class 2A, local first-teamers are Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin senior linebacker/tight end Eric Watson, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley junior running back/defensive back Aidan Laughery, Tuscola senior running back/defensive back Grant Hardwick and Watseka senior linebacker/running back Tylor Durflinger.
And in Class 1A, area players to make the first team are Arcola junior defensive back/receiver Beau Edwards, Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond sophomore running back/linebacker Kaden Feagin and Iroquois West junior lineman Clayton Leonard.
All nine of these players were selected for The News-Gazette’s 2021 All-Area football first team, which was published last weekend.
Woodrey racked up 24 tackles, eight sacks and a fumble recovery for the 4-1 Hawks, also helping an offense that averaged 42.6 points per game with his work in the trenches.
Brown compiled 371 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground and caught nine passes for 158 yards and five touchdowns for the 6-0 Sages.
Watson was a three-year starter for three Vermilion Valley Conference champions, putting up 67 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and two sacks for this year’s Blue Devils.
Laughery is an Illinois football target with multiple Big Ten offers. He produced 464 yards and seven touchdowns in just four games with the Falcons this season, averaging more than 7 yards per carry.
Hardwick recorded a strip sack for a touchdown on defense and cobbled together 780 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing in five games for the 4-2 Warriors.
Durflinger is a multi-time all-state selection, and this year’s Sangamon Valley Conference defensive Player of the Year bagged 48 tackles, five tackles for loss, two pass breakups, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Edwards was integral to the Purple Riders’ 4-1 campaign, as he intercepted 10 passes and had a five-interception game. Edwards also caught 26 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns.
Feagin is another Illini target and played in five games for the 4-2 Knights, notching 660 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground to go with 33 tackles and three sacks on defense.
Leonard is verbally committed to Illinois and helped Raiders coach Jason Thiele to his first win with the program, a 46-0 triumph against Walther Christian on April 20. Leonard recorded 30 pancake blocks and contributed 16 tackles and three quarterback hurries on defense.