- Scott Powers, Reporter
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CRETE, Ill. – LaQuon Treadwell initially thought Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde was making a huge mistake when he was moved from quarterback to wide receiver as a sophomore last season.
Treadwell thought his size (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), elite athleticism and extraordinary body strength were tools best used at quarterback.
Although moving Treadwell to wide receiver limited his amount of touches each game, Verde was convinced it would maximize Treadwell’s production in the amount of yards he gained and touchdowns he scored.
Verde was right.
Outside of Montini’s Jordan Westerkamp, Treadwell has been the state’s most dominant wide receiver this season. He’s caught 61 passes for 1,230 yards and 17 touchdowns while helping the Warriors to an undefeated regular season and into the second round of the Class 6A playoffs this weekend. He is the ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week.
With his success, Treadwell was sold on wide receiver, too.
“My sophomore year the change kind of upset me,” said Treadwell, who had 56 receptions for 811 yards and seven touchdowns last season. “I had to let it go. I’m actually glad now.”
Treadwell realized early on last season his potential as a wide receiver. His speed and size made him a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses, and he learned to capitalize on that as the season progressed.
Late last season, Treadwell made his greatest advance as a wide receiver when he learned he could run over defensive backs instead of always trying to avoid them. All of a sudden, Treadwell was developing into the level of wide receiver even Verde couldn’t have imagined.
“It was just in me,” Treadwell said. “I just never used it. Once I figured out to do it, that came out.”
Treadwell has looked like the full package this season. While the quantity of his receptions haven’t increased much as defenses have focused more on him, he has altered the quality of his catches. He’s been a threat to score whenever he’s touched the ball this season.
Against Kankakee in Week 5, he only had four receptions, but scored on 53- and 58-yard touchdowns. Last week against Bloomington in the playoffs, he had six receptions and three went for touchdowns.
“He has the obvious size and athletic ability, but what makes him special is his competitive edge and toughness,” Verde said. “He is a blue-chip wide receiver that loves to hit.”
Colleges are realizing that now. Michigan and Notre Dame caught wind of Treadwell and offered him earlier this season after seeing him play. With those being his first two offers, his recruitment is likely to escalate soon.
Treadwell’s teammate and friend Anthony Standifer is committed to Michigan. Treadwell admitted that could factor in his future decision, but he is open to any school recruiting him.
While Treadwell’s future is at wide receiver, Crete-Monee is taking advantage of his size and athleticism in other ways this season. Verde has also made him a defensive end. Like at wide receiver, Treadwell has been impact player on defense and had eight sacks this season.
“He is also often times unblockable as a defensive end due to his speed and surprising strength,” Verde said.
Some of Treadwell’s biggest career games have been in the playoffs. He had 10 receptions for 186 yards in a first-round playoff game last season. He had three touchdown and a 2-point conversion last week. He expects even more out of himself this week against Peoria Richwoods.
“In the playoffs, you got to step up big,” Treadwell said. “I think I play better in the bigger games. You just got to step up every game and play hard.”