Is this the year that an offensive lineman is recognized as Player of the Year in the Chicago area for the first time in more than a half-century?
There are few dominant players this season--no Dan Dierkings or John Dergos or Sean Prices--so the list of candidates is slim. Some early season nominees such as Glenbard North's Evan Watkins or Morgan Park's Craig Drummond or Marian Central's Jon Budmayr or Wheaton North's Mike Trumpy have been hampered by injuries or other factors.
The leading candidate for Player of the Year continues to be the preseason favorite--Maine South quarterback Charlie Goro. As long as he continues to perform up to expectations for the state's top-ranked team, Goro will become the fifth quarterback since 2000 to earn the prize.
But what about Glenbard West's Chris Watt?
Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS College Sports rates Watt, a 6-4, 295-pound offensive lineman who is committed to Notre Dame, as the best guard prospect in the country.
"He dominates everybody he goes up against," Lemming said. "If they ever give the MVP to an offensive lineman, he's the one. He reminds me of (former St. Laurence, Notre Dame and NFL star) Tim Grunhard. He is aggressive, never takes a play off, is technically sound, very enthusiastic and loves to play the game."
But Watt must overcome history. Since the Chicago Sun-Times began choosing a Player of the Year in 1951, the selections have been dominated by quarterbacks and running backs. There also have been a few linebackers, wide receivers, defensive backs and even a tight end.
Only two offensive linemen have been chosen--John Carroll of Fenwick in 1953 and John Sawin of Vocational in 1955.
Only two defensive linemen have been selected--Chris Boskey of St. Francis de Sales in 1977 and Tim Marshall of Weber in 1979.