Football preview: The area’s best blockers

Philip Berton
Senior • Oak Park-River Forest
A late bloomer, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound lineman plays guard. He recently received offers from Georgia State and South Dakota State and, with a score of 30 on the ACT, Berton also is receiving interest from Ivy League schools such as Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale.

Joe Blitstein
Senior • Vernon Hills
Blitstein is taller and slimmer than he was a season ago. An offseason of speed and conditioning work has him entering the year at 290 pounds, down from over 300 in 2013. He now stands an imposing 6-6. He will offer ideal blind-side protection for quarterback Connor McNamara.

Tyler Bolger
Senior • Maine South
The 5-11 Bolger makes up for his lack of height with his bulldog attitude and ox-like strength. The 255-pound guard won the bench press competition at Wheaton Warrenville South’s Lineman Challenge this summer. “He’s tenacious and gives 100 percent on every play,” coach Dave Inserra said.

Sean Foster
Junior • Carmel
The 6-8, 265-pound offensive tackle possesses 11 Division I offers, four in the Big Ten. What’s scary is he hasn’t played a full season of high school football. Foster has the size but also the intangibles to be Carmel’s best offensive lineman since Mickey Baucus.

Matt Kaskey
Senior • New Trier
At 6-7 and 300 pounds, Kaskey looks like he plays on the offensive line. And according to New Trier coach Brian Doll, the tackle is a true road-grader. “He wants to move people out of the way, and he takes pride in getting downfield to make that second block.” Doll said.

Brandon Labunski
Senior • Glenbrook North
As a junior starter, LaBunski was part of a Glenbrook North offense that averaged more than five yards per rush attempt and seven per pass attempt. Coach Bob Pieper said the 6-3, 245-pounder has the tools and the experience to anchor this season’s line.

Adam Lemke-Bell
Senior • Oak Park-River Forest
The heavyweight wrestler for the Class 3A state champion Huskies added enough weight in the offseason to gain more college football offers. The 6-5, 285-pound tackle committed to Northwestern May 31. He is entering his second season as a starter.

Joe Nagel
Senior • Mundelein
One of the better all-around athletes at the position, the 6-3, 280-pound Nagel has a 25-inch vertical and runs a 4.7-second shuttle. Expect the Mustangs to run the football quite a bit behind the senior guard, who has quick feet and a bruising blocking style.

Jack Shutack
Senior • Nazareth
The three-year starter is among the Chicago area’s top tackles with a three-star ranking, according to Rivals, and at least five offers, including Minnesota and Iowa State. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound resident of Western Springs leads an offensive line that has three other players with Division I offers.

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