Meet the defensive picks for the 2022 Journal Star all-area football team

Adam Duvall
Journal Star

The Illinois high school football season has come and gone, from preseason practices to the state championship games.

Each year, we select the top players from across the Peoria area. For the last few seasons, we've split the defensive and offensive players. That continues this season. Below are the defensive picks for the 2022 Journal Star all-area football team, including 12 on the first team and 11 honorable mention.

You can find the top offensive players and the player of the year by tapping here.

Every score and story:Here are the Peoria area's high school football scores, schedules for the 2022 season

Pekin teammates Joshua Bresnahan (32), Brayden Beckham (56) and Jace Hackman celebrate the Dragons' 14-7 win over the Morton Potters on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 at Carper Field in Morton.

Brayden Beckham, Pekin

Beckham anchored the Dragons defense, which made a run to the Class 7A quarterfinals and set a program record with an 11-win season. He had 62 tackles with 20.5 tackles for loss to go with four sacks and a safety. The 6-foot-2, 270-pound senior defensive lineman was named all-Mid-Illini Conference first team.

Jared Culberson, Richwoods

Culberson put together a monster season on the defensive lineman. The 6-foot, 200-pound senior posted 53 tackles with 25 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. His play up front was key in helping the Knights snap a nine-game losing streak to Peoria Notre Dame. Culberson was named to the all-Big 12 honorable-mention defensive team.

Teegan Davis, Princeton

Davis did just about everything as a 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior defensive back and quarterback. He had 60 tackles, eight interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. Davis threw for 1,638 yards with 20 TDs. He rushed for 766 yards and 17 TDs. The Iowa commit was a Class 3A Illinois High School Football Coaches Association all-stater.

El Paso-Gridley kicker Declan Duley kicks off against Tremont on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 in Tremont.

Declan Duley, El Paso-Gridley

As a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior kicker/punter, Duley punted it 26 times for a 38.3 average with a long of 64 yard. The Illini commit went 29-for-30 on extra points and hit a 52-yard goal, finishing 6 of 11. Duley was a unanimous first-team all-Heart of Illinois Conference as a kicker and punter as well as a Class 2A IHSFCA honorable mention all-state.

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Washington's Jase Harlan (44) celebrates a tackle against Morton in the second half Friday, Oct. 21, 2022 in Washington. The Panthers defeated the Potters 7-0.

Jase Harlan, Washington

Harlan recorded 62 tackles with 11 for loss and recovered two fumbles for the Panthers. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound junior linebacker was a key cog in helping the Washington defense hold opposing offenses to 14 total points over the last five games of the regular season. He was named all-Mid-Illini first-team defense.

Metamora quarterback Kaden Hartnett, facing, talks with running back Kam Davis during a break in the action against Canton on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 in Metamora.

Kaden Hartnett, Metamora

Hartnett was a hard hitter in the secondary, recording 19 tackles and an interception. The 6-foot, 170-pound senior was also Metamora's starting quarterback with 1,033 rushing yards with 17 TDs as well as passing for 747 yards and 11 TDs. He was named all-Mid-Illini first team for the Redbirds, who were a Class 5A second-round playoff team.

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Peoria Notre Dame's Liam Ludolph (7) grabs Peoria High running back Malachi Washington by the leg on a run in the first half Friday, Oct. 21, 2022 at Peoria Stadium. The Lions defeated the Irish 48-7.

Liam Ludolph, Peoria Notre Dame

Ludolph was a force on defense, recording 91 tackles and five for loss as a linebacker. By the end of the season, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior moved from quarterback to running back, rushing for 584 yards with 95 receiving yards, 106 pass yards and five total TDs. He was named all-Big 12 first team both offense and defense.

Peoria High's Landon Newby-Holesome wags his finger at Decatur MacArthur's Sam Owens after a play in the first half of their Class 5A first-round playoff game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022 at Peoria Stadium. The Lions advanced with a 62-14 victory.

Landon Newby-Holesome, Peoria High

The 6-foot, 231-pound defensive lineman had 89 tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries for the Class 5A runner-up. The senior also played fullback, clearing the way for nearly 4,000 rushing yards. He was named all-Big 12 Conference first-team defense. Newby-Holesome will play in June's Illinois High School Shrine Game.

Peoria High Lions:Every story from Peoria High's run to the Class 5A football championship game

Peoria High's Gary Rutherford, left, tackles Nazareth Academy's Justin Taylor during the Class 5A football state title game Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022 in Champaign.

Gary Rutherford, Peoria High

The 6-foot-3, 199-pound junior was the leading tackler (118) for the Lions, who made it the 5A title game. He added four interceptions and a defensive TD. Rutherford also played wide receiver on the high-powered Peoria High offense. He was named all-Big 12 first-team linebacker.

Peoria High's Kenny Rutherford, right, tries to tackle Kankakee's Tony Phillips in the first half of their Class 5A second-round playoff game Friday, Nov. 4, 2022 at Peoria Stadium. Peoria advanced with a 48-21 victory.

Kenny Rutherford, Peoria High

The defensive back was the captain of the Lions secondary, picking off a pair of passes, recovering a fumble and adding a defensive TD. He posted 74 tackles with five for loss. As the backup quarterback, the 5-foot-8, 151-pound senior rushed for three TDs. He was an all-Big 12 first-team defensive back.

PLayoff scores:Where and when Peoria-area teams play in the 2022 IHSA football playoffs

Pekin's Kanye Tyler leaps for a reception as Lake Zurich's Tyler Burkley plows into him in the first half of their Class 7A football state quarterfinal Friay, Nov. 12, 2022 in Pekin.

Kanye Tyler, Pekin

Arguably the area's most dangerous player, the 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back was all over. He had 36.5 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. Also, Tyler ran for 1,039 yards with 20 TDs and 426 receiving yards and four TDs. Plus, the senior returned two kickoffs for TDs. he was named all-Mid-Illini first team and 7A IHSFCA all-state.

Eureka's Rylan Bachman (25) and Dakota Wiegand (52) team up on Downs Tri-Valley ballcarrier Blake Regenold in the first half Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 in Eureka. The Hornets fell to the Vikings 29-7.

Dakota Wiegand, Eureka

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior defensive lineman was a big part of helping Eureka go 19 consecutive regular-season quarters without giving up any points. He recorded 101 tackles and 12 sacks, becoming the program's all-time sack leader. He was named all-Heart of Illinois first-team defense and 3A IHSFCA all-state.

2022 Journal Star all-area defense honorable mention

  • Tyce Albritton | Deer Creek-Mackinaw | Jr. | DB | 6-0 | 160
  • Seth Carbaugh | Washington | Sr. | DB | 5-11 | 175
  • Jeremiah Clements | Manual | Sr. | DL | 6-3 | 330
  • Garrett Cox | Washington | Jr. | DL | 5-11 | 200
  • Aiden Frail | Elmwood/Brimfield | Sr. | DB | 5-8 | 140
  • Tyler Kasap | Metamora | Sr. | DL | 6-2 | 200
  • Eli McFadden | Peoria High | Sr. | DB | 5-11 | 172
  • Logan Morse | Farmington | Sr. | DB | 5-10 | 170
  • Blake Shoemaker | Morton | Sr. | LB | 5-10 | 165
  • Tejuan Smith | Peoria High | Sr. | DL | 5-10 | 184
  • Slone Windish | Elmwood/Brimfield | Sr. | LB | 6-0 | 185

Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.