We’re continuing to move forward towards the high school football season with our unveiling of position rankings for the 2016 season. This will be a multiday series, giving you our top five in every position. The big thing to remember about this list is that it is NOT a college prospect list, these rankings are based on presumed production for this high school season. If these rankings doesn’t mirror what’s on our Fire Rankings, that’s because they’re not supposed to. These rankings are built on what a player did last year, and what we think they’re going to do this year, based on the team’s play style, players around them, etc.
Today, we’re breaking down the Top Five Inside Linebackers, Outside Linebackers, and Hybrid Linebackers (DE/OLB).
1. Dakota Trice, 2017, Brandon:
Trice is a linebacker that we’ve seen develop into a defensive rock for the Eagles over the past few years. Last season, Trice had 130 tackles for Brandon, helping go fairly deep into the playoffs last year. Can he repeat his production? Certainly, especially if teams want to run the ball against him. He can also drop back into coverage and make nice plays in the secondary – Trice is able to cover some offensive weapons on the other side. Brandon will be able to rely on Trice for another year in 2016, as the Eagles will try to inch forward and grab another playoff spot.
2. DeCalon Brooks, 2017, Gaither:
To have the genes of one of the great linebackers who ever played the game in you is pretty special, and Brooks’ football makeup is pretty special. He’s gotten to be a lot more confident over the past year or so, and he’s primed to have another 100-plus tackle season for the Cowboys. He’s got fantastic ability to stop the run, and he’s going to give anybody a tough time in coverage. He’s a true leader of the Cowboys defense – one that has a chance to be dominant.
3. Tyler McDonald, 2017, Clearwater Central Catholic
4. Tobias Larry, 2017, Kathleen
5. Davis Bak, 2017, Plant
1. Steven Ogletree, 2017, Plant City:
If we were to tell you that Ogletree was only the second leading tackler for the Raiders in 2015, would you believe us? We promise, we’re telling the truth. Last year, Ogletree had 138 tackles, something that you would expect the leading guy to have. Not the case. Ogletree had nine big sacks in 2015, something that will be taken into account in game plan. He’s got great lower body strength, and he isn’t challenged by much. The FAU commit will show this year why he was so highly-recruited last season. Watch for big things from Ogletree in 2016.
2. Eli Morris, 2017, Robinson:
For this Robinson team, consistency is going to be the key. The Knights haven’t had a playoff appearance nor a winning season since 2012, and it’s going to take a lot to change that, especially in a district where a number of teams could grab playoff spots. Morris finished 2015 with 70 tackles and five sacks, and his production will have to increase. In a passing district, Morris will have to command the defense and have a good time in coverage. The question: can he match up with a Judge Culpepper-type TE? Robinson hopes that answer is yes.
3. Ventrell Miller, 2017, Kathleen
4. Collin Errity, 2017, Bloomingdale
5. Thomas Allen 2017, Plant
1. Demetrius Powell, Blake, 2017:
What couldn’t you like about Powell? This is a team that we’ve been watching over the offseason, making some bold predictions, and Powell will be the one leading the charge. He had 16.5 sacks in 2015 – second in the BCP coverage area, and he’s ready to do it again. Powell is one of the most mobile guys we’ve seen at the position in his class, and his strength is great. He’s going to be disruptive in 2016, no doubt, but how disruptive can he be? Are there some record waiting to be broken?
2. Paul Wiggins, Braden River, 2017:
He only had 32 tackles in 2015, and only four sacks, but he will be a factor for the Pirates this season. He only played in ten games last season (Braden River played 13), so if he can play a full season, his numbers will be better. Watch for him to be very disruptive, with speed no matter where he lines up, and an ability to matchup with even the toughest offensive linemen.
3. Xavier Lyas, Durant, 2017
4. Obie Cruz, Alonso, 2017
5. Jordan Domineck, George Jenkins, 2017