Daily Herald All-Area football captains in the NFL

The Daily Herald's All-Area football captain award dates to 1969. Since then it has been awarded in five geographic areas: Northwest Cook County, Lake County, the northern Fox Valley, the Tri-Cities and DuPage County. We have named 186 athletes captain, some of them more than once, but only seven have made the NFL. The 2023 captains will be announced in Sunday's Daily Herald. Will one of them be the next captain to reach the sport's highest level?

Name School Year College Position

Brett Basanez St. Viator 2000 Northwestern Quarterback

Comment: Undrafted, he appeared in one game for Carolina, completing 6 passes for 56 yards.

Justin Jackson Glenbard North 2013 Northwestern Running back

Comment: Drafted in 2018 by the Chargers, he played through 2022, totaling 1,210 yards rushing.

Scotty Miller Barrington 2014 Bowling Green Wide receiver

Comment: A sixth-round pick in 2019, he has caught 81 passes, many of them from Tom Brady.

Donovan Small Wheeling 1982 Minnesota Defensive back

Comment: Small played one game for the Houston Oilers during the 1987 strike, had an interception.

Scott Tolzien Fremd 2005 Wisconsin Quarterback

Comment: Undrafted, he played in 10 games over four seasons in Green Bay and Indianapolis.

Chris Watt Glenbard West 2008 Notre Dame Offensive line

Comment: A third-round draft pick in 2014, Watt played three seasons with the Chargers.

Tom Zbikowski Buffalo Grove 2002 Notre Dame Safety

Comment: A first-round draft pick of the Ravens, he played 2008-2013, went to camp with Bears.

* Sources:,

Detroit Lions' Justin Jackson runs past Minnesota Vikings' Cameron Dantzler Sr. for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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