The WSN15 series will celebrate the 15th Anniversary of WisSports.net by looking back at the top players, teams, and moments of the past 15 years (2003-2017).
The Top 15 Players countdown is not a recruiting ranking and not indicative of what the players did after high school. It is a ranking of the top high school players, the impact they had for their team, and the dominance they displayed while in high school.
To be named to the First Team All-State list by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association is a rare honor. Each year, one or a small handful of players earn such recognition on both sides of the ball. Greendale lineman Eric Brunner is one of the few players in state history to earn WFCA First Team All-State recognition on both offense and defense in consecutive seasons.
An absolute force up front for the Panthers, Brunner is one of the best linemen the state has produced, though standing just 6-3, he was not as highly regarded nationally or on the recruiting trail as some others. He received some interest from the blue-blood schools, but accepted a scholarship to Illinois State, where he became one of the best college football players in the country.
It was his junior year of 2005 at Greendale that he began to draw attention around the state, earning First Team All-state honors from the WFCA as both an offensive and defensive lineman.
The following season was even better, as he repeated as a two-way All-State selection and was named the WFCA Defensive Player of the Year and the AP Player of the Year. He was also a MaxPreps First Team All-American. That year he had 12 tackles for loss and six sacks during the regular season, helping the Panthers to a Division 3 state runner-up finish, as the team fell 7-3 to Waupaca.
"He has the ability to dominate a game, and when you talk about a lineman dominating a game, you know he's one of those standout guys without peer," Greendale coach Rob Stoltz told Franklin Now at the time. "He's the most explosive lineman I've have seen."
A Second Team All-Missouri Valley Conference choice as a sophomore at Illinois State, he would earn First Team all-league laurels as a junior and senior for the Redbirds. He started 33 straight games to close his career, finishing with 176 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks from 2008-2011.
#15 - J.J. Watt, Pewaukee
#14 - Jayme Wells, Kimberly
#13 - Travis Frederick, Big Foot
#12 - Travis Beckum, Oak Creek
#11 - Sam Santiago-Lloyd, Brookfield East
#10 - Garrett Groshek, Amherst
#9 - Leo Musso, Waunakee
#8 - Blair Mulholland, Kimberly
#7 - Gabe Carimi, Monona Grove
#6 - Ben Hempel, Franklin
#5 - Mike Newkirk, Ladysmith
#4 - Eric Brunner, Greendale
#3 - John Clay, Racine Park
#2 - Josh Oglesby, Saint Francis
#1 - Melvin Gordon, Kenosha Bradford
For the latest and most up to date football news and recruiting information, follow Travis on Twitter @travisWSN. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Travis at travis(at)wissports.net.