Hinsdale Central’s Piker, Wilson packing hefty loads
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:50AM
We take you now to page 34 of Hinsdale Central’s 2012 Souvenir Football Program, where an iconic photo shows seven seniors striking a fearsome pose as members of one of the finest offensive lines in the school’s rich history.
Weighing an average of 266 pounds, the line was led by 6-foot-4, 282-pound Nick Piker, who two weeks ago accepted a full scholarship from FBS Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and 6-3, 295 Chris Wilson, who is bound for D-II power Grand Valley State in Michigan.
The good friends took pride in blocking for running back Jack Adams, who will play for FBS Dayton, and protecting junior quarterback Brian Owens, a key figure on Central’s West Suburban Silver basketball championship team.
“It was our job and we took it seriously,” Wilson said.
Ricky Beuke, Joe Morrison, Chris Zott, Chris Kallas and Stewart Magnuson round out the rest of the Magnificent Seven senior offensive linemen.
Picker is a late bloomer in football after playing most of last year behind Ryan Callen, who’s now at Miami of Ohio. “I learned a lot from practicing against Ryan,” Picker said.
Army and Minnesota were among many football colleges competing for Picker, a regular on Central’s Honor Roll and a five-time WSC discus and shot-put champion. But Holy Cross gave him the option of participating in both football and track.
“They’d like me to get to 300 pounds and gain some muscle,” Piker said. “I can do that. I’ll have fun trying.”
Piker, who didn’t allow a quarterback sack of Owens in the fall, was found in the front row at Central’s basketball games this winter.
“(The players are) my friends,” he said. “I wanted to play basketball again, but needed to give my body some rest.”
Wilson wants to add muscle for college ball, but is being cautious in his approach after having undergoing arthroscopic procedures on both knees.
He thought of giving Iowa a try, but Grand Valley State promised an opportunity at guard and center. Current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly began his career at Grand Valley, which has played in the national D-II championship game six times in the last 12 years with four titles
“I’ll have to learn how to snap the ball,” said Wilson.
The college dipped into Central’s talent pool a few years ago for speedy, compact P.J. Beuke, older brother of Ricky Beuke.
P.J. Beuke, who played on GVSU’s 2006 national title team, holds two sensational 2004 Central records for returns: 98 yards on a kickoff and 88 on a punt for an 11-1 Red Devils team that outscored opponents 370-130 under coach Tony Lombardi.
“P.J. Beuke is a big name up there,” Wilson said. “He’s someone I can look up to.”
Central’s O-line should be strong again next fall with center Brian Allen, who won the state heavyweight wrestling championship at Champaign Saturday, and 6-7 tight end Ian Bunting. Both are attracting FCS interest as well.