September 26, 2023
Sports - DeKalb County

Sports - DeKalb County

Daily Chronicle Offensive Football Player of the Year: DeKalb’s Cole Tucker

DeKalb's Cole Tucker is the 2015 Daily Chronicle Offensive Football Player of the Year.

DeKALB – The element of surprise certainly helped both Cole Tucker and the DeKalb football team this season.

Just like opposing teams weren't sure the Barbs would keep up their success after losing multiple weapons to graduation, they didn't know what the Barbs had in Tucker – who missed last year with an injury.

The junior wide receiver clued them in quickly, scoring in his first four games and finishing with more than 1,000 receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches. He also dazzled on kick returns, bringing two back for scores early in the year as teams started kicking him the ball less and less. For his efforts, he was named the Daily Chronicle Offensive Football Player of the Year.

"I think they underestimated my speed real bad, and they didn't have any film on me so they didn't know my tendencies," Tucker said.

Tucker finished with 55 catches for 1,037 yards for the Barbs, who reached the playoffs for the third straight year and reached the quarterfinals, losing 49-14 to eventual Class 6A state champ Montini.

Like Tucker, the Barbs were something of a mystery to opponents coming into the season. They were without running back Dre Brown, who carried a big load of their offense but graduated and went to Illinois. But they matched the team's win total of 2014 and got a round deeper in the playoffs.

Even with him and quarterback Derek Kyler back next year, Tucker said teams may have to guess about the Barbs, who will lose leading rusher David Long and three starting offensive linemen.

"I think teams aren't really going to know what to expect," Tucker said. "Obviously, I hope we pass the ball next year, but I think we're going to have a good running game. Our defense is returning a lot of players. Teams are going to have to key on everything, which is kind of hard to do. It should be a good year."

Without the element of surprise next year, coach Matt Weckler said he still expects Tucker to improve even more.

"Good players have to step up when other teams know you're one of the go-to guys," Weckler said. "Later on in the year this year, there were a lot of teams that knew that and tried to take him away. A lot of times the relationship he has with Derek allowed him to do things to get open other than the play we actually called."

Tucker said he expects the same thing.

"I just got to get into the weight room, get stronger so even if they do key on me, I can try to find ways to get open," Tucker said. "Even if they don't kick to me, I can still block and get other guys big returns."

Tucker said he and Kyler have been playing together as quarterback and receiver for nearly a decade in various levels of youth football. That makes the pair even more dynamic, Weckler said.

"They played together since they were young, so they've built up that relationship," Weckler said. "Each of them know what the other's going to do in certain situations and they can adapt on the fly and make plays because of it. I think Derek, being the good quarterback he is, is constantly developing his relationship with the other receivers just because of repetition. But he's already had those repetitions with Cole in the past."

Daily Chronicle All-Area Offensive Football Team

Player of the Year

Cole Tucker, jr., WR, DeKalb

First team

Derek Kyler, jr., QB, DeKalb – With 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions, Kyler didn't make many mistakes during the season. He threw for 1,976 yards and completed 53 percent of his passes. He ran for nine touchdowns as well on the year.

Jake Marczuk, sr., QB, Kaneland Completing more than 60 percent of his passes, Marczuk was one of two players in the area to rush for more than 1,000 yards. He threw for 1,855, 12 scores and nine touchdowns as well.

David Long, sr., RB, DeKalb – Long ran for 1,278 yards this year despite missing the first two games of the year. After playing mostly defensive end as an underclassman, he moved to running back – while still playing on defense – and scored 12 touchdowns this year.

Tanner Robertsen, sr., WR, Kaneland – The second-leading receiver in the area, Robertsen made 50 catches for 871 yards and six touchdowns this year,

Ian Fell, sr., WR, Genoa-Kingston For a while, all Fell was doing was catching touchdowns. The explosive wideout had 14 catches on the year for 466 yards and eight scores for the run-oriented Cogs. Fell’s explosiveness was on display against eventual state champion Phillips in the first round of the playoffs, scoring the only touchdown for G-K on a 70-yard reception.

Luke Davis III, sr., WR, DeKalb – At 6-feet, 7-inches, Davis made a big end zone target for Kyler and the Barbs. He had 22 catches for 320 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

Andrew Kray, sr., OL, Kaneland – Kray started both ways for the Knights and also had an impact on the defensive line. On the offensive line, he anchored things in front of Marczuk for a team that made the second round of the Class 6A playoff, losing to eventual state champ Montini.

Zach Kalk, sr., OL, Sycamore Kalk played just a handful of plays for the Spartans last year, but returned and was an impact player, making the Northern Illinois Big 12 All-Conference team on the offensive line. He paved the way for the team into the playoffs, losing in the first round to eventual Class 5A state champ Nazareth.

Bart Hall, sr., OL, Hiawatha A big body on a small team, Hall was not only important at the heart of the line, but also ran the ball on occasion for the Hawks, who came up a win short of a postseason berth.

Hayden LaPointe, sr., OL, DeKalb – LaPointe was a big part of a very experienced line for the Barbs, helping create openings for Long, Tony Tate and the other backs.

Willis Brei, sr., OL, DeKalb – Brei was also a big part of the Barb line, helping to buy time for Kyler for receivers like Tucker and Davis, and occasionally Tate, to get open down field.

Tyler Maveus, sr., K, Sycamore – Maveus was a NIB12 All-Conference kicker and split his time between the soccer and football teams this year. He was a four-year starter for the Spartans.

Honorable mention – Brett Bemis, sr., QB, Sycamore; Tony Tate, sr., RB, DeKalb; Chris Pawola, jr., RB, Sycamore; Jonathan Alstott, fresh., RB, Kaneland; Josh Hakes, RB, jr., Hiawatha; Terry McCarty, jr., TE, Genoa-Kingston; Trace Hefler, sr., WR, Sycamore; Braden Watson, jr., WR, Hiawatha; Cole Dunbar, soph., OL, Hiawatha; Michael Mathey, sr., OL, Sycamore

Eddie Carifio

Eddie Carifio

Has been the sports editor in DeKalb since 2014.