BCP, August 20, 2019- Five defensive athletes worthy of making an even more impactful gridiron imprint for their respected programs…These are predictions based on common knowledge and previous production, foreshadowing greater potential- not guarantees folks (good thing there aren’t any fantasy leagues for high school players). Let’s check em’ out.
- 2020 Plant High DB/OLB, Tyler Burkes- Kicking things off with secondary and front seven force (great build as a defensive back), the 6′ 207-pound strong safety was busy ALL season showcasing his ball-hawk and versatile play-making talents. So much so, he earned his first offer from Liberty University, setting the defensive tone for his previous program, Tampa Catholic. Burkes emerges from deep coverages like a heat-seeking missile, making countless textbook tackles and high-pointing the pigskin courtesy of his quick, intuitive hips. In 11 matchups according to MaxPreps, Tyler amassed 60 total tackles, (45 solo), forced 2 fumbles with one returned for a touchdown, 3 fumble recoveries, collected 2 sacks, 5 blocked punts and took a 17-yard INT to the house.
2. 2020 Wharton High DE/OLB, Edwouens “Ed” Marcelin- Student-athlete (4.3 GPA!) and youngin’ from the (Florida) Keys, is trying to make a name for himself in the 813. Indeed he has attracted prospect recruitment, receiving his first offer from Rose-Hulman recently. When you see a quick flash of #33 persistently blowing right past your blocking attempts off the edge, you know it’s going to be a long night for the offensive backfield. In 8 games as a Wildcat per MaxPreps data, the 5’11” 191-pound pass-rusher managed to lead his team in sacks with 6.5 on 33 total tackles (24 solo) and 7.5 TFLs, adding the cherry on top with a forced fumble.
3. 2021 Hernando High MLB, G’Koby Winn- Next up, I present an upcoming junior residing in the front seven who’s middle name is physicality. This 6’ 190-pound middle linebacker won’t think twice about throwing his body through you or anyone in his way- if he’s got you wrapped, you won’t go down lightly. Winn’s hard-nosed mentality and unrelenting pursuit of the ball carrier aided him tremendously in recording the 71 total tackles, (37 solo), 6.5 TPG, forced a fumble, three QB hurries, and 7 TFLs he put up in his sophomore debut. With a couple of years left to crack opponents and the first-impression stats already in the air, I think we can come to a mutual agreement that his contributions are far from done for the Leopards; especially after this past 7-4 wildcard 5-seed season.
4. 2020 Pinellas Park High CB, Jauntriell Jackson- This student-athlete isn’t bashful about laying down the law and getting low with the pads either. Jackson possesses a notably aggressive play-style, lurking in the secondary as a 5’7” 175-pound corner; hungry for his next ball-carrier takedown. In a seven-game span, he racked up 51 total tackles, (20 solo), 7.3 TPG, a fumble recovery, an INT, 4 TFLs, blocked a punt and defended against 4 passes as a junior. He was a valuable asset to the Patriots’ 2018 10-1 district championship 2-seed season, so keep your head on a swivel for this tenacious corner with the element of surprise.
5. 2020 Wiregrass Ranch DT, Isaiah Miller- Last but not least, jumping to Pasco county we have another defensive lineman who’s looking to grow his stat-sheet after an efficient junior campaign. The 6’4” 265-pound, rising senior nose tackle disrupting offensive interiors knows his way around the clay; getting the game-ready endurance from track too. In 10 games, Miller posted34 total tackles, (15 solo), popped the ball out of opponent’s grasp twice, 3.4 TPG and had a QB hurry. Isaiah’s keene sense for plugging defensive holes helped the Bulls achieve a 7-4 wildcard 8-seed record this past year and he’s only progressed from there. Don’t raise a brow if Wiregrass charges deeper into the post-season in 2019 with a senior-returning weapon like Miller.
Vaughan Sixbury, BCP Contributor