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Area athletes are key contribtors for Big Ten football teams

Published: Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 2:50 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 2:50 p.m. CDT
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(Photo provided by Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications)
Jack Allen blocks in a Michigan State game against Northwestern. The junior lineman, a Hinsdale Central graduate, is entering his third season as a starter for the Spartans.
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(Photo provided by University of Illinois Athletics)
Aaron Bailey runs the ball in a game against Miami of Ohio last season. The Bolingbrook graduate, a sophomore quarterback at Illinois, is battling for playing time this season.
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(Photo provided by Stephen J. Carrera/Northwestern Athletics)
Northwestern's Matt Harris tries to break a tackle in a game against Wisconsin last season. After playing extensively as a freshman, the Lyons Township graduate is in line to be a key contributor as a sophomore this season.
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(Photo provided by University of Illinois Athletics)
University of Illinois quarterback Reilly O'Toole throws the ball during a game against Wisconsin last season. The Wheaton Warrenville South graduate is preparing for his senior season with the Illini.
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(Photo provided by Stephen J. Carrera/Northwestern Athletics)
Kyle Prater looks to avoid would-be tacklers in a game against Maine last season. The senior receiver and Proviso West graduate is hoping to boost Northwestern's passing attack this season.
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(Photo provided by Ohio State University)
Ohio State's Tommy Schutt scoops up a loose ball in a game against Penn State last season. The Glenbard West graduate, a two-time letter-winning defensive lineman for the Buckeyes, is prepping for his junior season this fall.
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(Photo provided by University of Illinois Athletics)
Austin Teitsma wraps up a Wisconsin ball carrier in a game last season. The Glenbard South graduate and defensive lineman at the University of Illinois is entering his senior season for the Illini.
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(Photo provided by Stephen J. Carrera/Northwester Athletics)
Northwestern's Dan Vitale leaves Michigan State defenders in his wake during a game last season. The junior, a Wheaton Warrenville South graduate, has developed into a key offensive weapon for the Wildcats.
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(Photo provided by the University of Iowa)
Jordan Walsh (middle, No. 65) blocks in Iowa's game against Northern Illinois last season. The offensive lineman, a Glenbard West graduate, started all 13 games last season and is prepping for his junior season.
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(Photo provided Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Media Relations)
Jordan Westerkamp surveys the field in Nebraska's game against Purdue last season. The wide receiver, a Montini graduate, is in line to be a big contributor for the Cornhuskers' offense as a redshirt sophomore this season.

High school athletes across the area will step into the spotlight when the football season kicks off on Aug. 29. The college football season begins in earnest the next day, and when teams from the Big Ten Conference take the field, former stars from several local high schools will be prominently featured. Here are a few area products having an impact in the Big Ten.

Jack Allen

College: Michigan State

High School: Hinsdale Central

Year: Junior

Position: Offensive lineman

Allen enters this fall slated to start for the third year in a row. After redshirting his first year on campus in 2011, Allen has played in 25 games with 24 starts since 2012. All but five of those starts have come at center, where he is expected to play this season. The Spartans are defending Big Ten champions and Allen is one of three players who started on the offensive line in Michigan State's Rose Bowl win against Stanford that are slated to return.

Aaron Bailey

College: Illinois

High School: Bolingbrook

Year: Sophomore

Position: Quarterback

Bailey, listed at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, used his size, speed and overall athleticism to get on the field in his first year on campus. He played in nine games, being mostly used as a goal-line quarterback. Bailey ran for three touchdowns and passed for one more, all from 10 yards or less. Overall he ran for 83 yards on 20 carries and was 2-for-5 for four yards through the air. Nathan Scheelhaase, a four-year starter at quarterback, is gone, but Wes Lunt, a highly touted transfer from Oklahoma State will battle for playing time with Bailey and fellow local product Reilly O'Toole.

Matthew Harris

College: Northwestern

High School: Lyons Township

Year: Sophomore

Position: Cornerback/kick returner

Harris' first game action came on special teams, both on kickoffs and kick returns. With Venric Mark injured for most of the season, Harris became the Wildcats' primary kickoff returner. He took 21 kicks for 484 yards, including a 47-yard return against Western Michigan. As a cornerback, Harris started the last five games of the season, totaling 36 tackles and being named to ESPN.com's Big Ten All-Freshman team. He was one of just two true freshman to play last season for Northwestern.

Reilly O'Toole

College: Illinois

High School: Wheaton Warrenville South

Year: Senior

Position: Quarterback

Entering his fourth and final year with the Illini, O'Toole has seen action behind center in each of his first three seasons. As a junior, he played in six games, completing 12-of-16 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 34 yards. O'Toole started twice as a sophomore, finishing with 564 yards and six TDs that year, after taking part in 10 games as a freshman.

Kyle Prater

College: Northwestern

High School: Proviso West

Year: Senior

Position: Wide receiver

The USC transfer has struggled to make his mark in two season at Northwestern. In the past two years he has combined for 19 receptions and 113 yards without catching any touchdowns. Entering his senior season, Prater is hoping to match the expectations that were placed on him out of high school. His 59 yards last season ranked ninth on the team, but three of the players who finished ahead of him were seniors.

Tommy Schutt

College: Ohio State

High School: Glenbard West

Year: Junior

Position: Defensive line

Schutt is a two-year letter winner for the Buckeyes and has played in 17 games thus far in his collegiate career. He missed the first six contests last season due to injury but ended up playing in six games, registering three tackles and half of a sack as the Buckeyes finished third in the country with 42 sacks last season. As a freshman, the 6-foot-2, 300-pounder saw action in 10 games.

Austin Teitsma

College: Illinois

High School: Glenbard South

Year: Senior

Position: Defensive line

After playing in seven games as a redshirt freshman and all 12 contests as a sophomore, Teitsma earned a starting role last fall at defensive tackle. The 6-foot-2, 290-pounder finished sixth on the Illini with 53 tackles and also added 5 1/2 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and three quarterback hurries. He tied a career-high with eight tackles against Northwestern in the final game of the season.

Dan Vitale

College: Northwestern

High School: Wheaton Warrenville South

Year: Junior

Position: Super back

In just two seasons for the Wildcats, this WWS graduate has already carved out quite a solid career for himself. After receiving playing time as a true freshman, Vitale started all 12 games in 2013 as a superback (a combination fullback and tight end). Catching at least one pass in every contest, the incoming junior finished third on Northwestern with 34 receptions for 382 yards, which included a five-catch, 101-yard performance against California. He also hauled in three touchdowns.

Jordan Walsh

College: Iowa

High School: Glenbard West

Year: Junior

Position: Offensive line

After seeing spot duty and playing in seven games in 2012, Walsh ascended to a starting position last fall and was entrenched at right guard for all 13 contests. The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder helped the Hawkeyes total nearly 500 yards of offense in each of the team's first two games of the 2013 season while also playing a role in Iowa rushing for over 200 yards in five straight games to begin the 2013 campaign.

Jordan Westerkamp

College: Nebraska

High School: Montini

Year: Sophomore

Position: Wide receiver

Westerkamp made a big impression as a redshirt freshman for the Cornhuskers. He played in all 13 games and started the Gator Bowl win against Georgia. He was third on Nebraska with 283 receiving yards and fourth in receptions with 20. He also had 19 punt returns for 51 yards. Westerkamp's only touchdown came against Northwestern on a 49-yard Hail Mary on the last play of the game to give the Huskers the win. This fall he could see play a bigger role in the offense as the second-leading wide receiver among returners.

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More Big Ten talent

The western suburbs are fertile grounds for football talent, and college programs throughout the Midwest, including several schools in the Big Ten, continue to harvest the area to improve their teams. Here is a list of more athletes from the area, sorted by name, position and high school, that were included on Big Ten football rosters as of Aug. 4.

Illinois

Rob Bain, DL, Bolingbrook

Clayton Fejedelem, DB, Lemont

Pat Flavin, OL, Benet (Lisle)

Scott McDowell, OL, Hinsdale Central

Jim Nudera, TE, York

Cameron Tucker, RB, Nazareth

Iowa

Colin Goebel, OL, Naperville North (Lisle)

Jaleel Johnson, DL, Montini (Lombard)

Indiana

Ben Bach, CB, Wheaton Warrenville South

Nick Campos, P, Wheaton Warrenville South

Nile Sykes, LB, Montini (Oak Park)

Michigan

Kyle Bosch, OL, St. Francis

Ian Bunting, TE, Hinsdale Central

Michigan State

Brian Allen, OL, Hinsdale Central

Minnesota

Andrew Harte, K, Montini (Downers Grove)

Northwestern

Doug Diedrick, SB, Montini (Woodridge)

Mark Gorogianis, WR, Montini (Lombard)

Justin Jackson, RB, Glenbard North

Clayton Thorson, QB, Wheaton North

Parrker Westphal, DB, Bolingbrook

Purdue

Will Colmery, DE, Nazareth (Western Springs)

Grant Ellington, LS, Nazareth (La Grange)

Wisconsin

Thad Armstrong, QB, Wheaton Warrenville South

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