The game of football has evolved. As offenses shift to spread formations and focus on pace, it has become imperative for defensive student athletes to become faster, more agile and capable of playing in space.
The most proficient way to slow down a high-octane offense is to beat them with a dominant front-four. Here’s a look at the DMV’s top defensive linemen in the class of 2021.
1. Demeioun Robinson | Quince Orchard (MD)
WDE: 6’4", 225
Offers: 24, including Maryland, Georgia, Ohio State
Demeioun Robinson has amazing get-off. His first step is electric, his movement is smooth with no false steps and little wasted motion. He routinely beats his blocker before the quarterback has a chance to get from under center and once he’s in the backfield, he closes like a heat-seeking missile.
Robinson has excellent length, but he plays with a low center of gravity. He’s a natural pass rusher -- his quickness off the edge is unparalleled in his class. The only hope of getting him blocked is with a strong double-team at the point of attack. He’s too fast, too active and too athletic to be run away from.
Robinson possesses the playmaking ability of an offensive star -- he just so happens to line up at defensive end.
2. Marcus Bradley | Quince Orchard (MD)
DT: 6’4", 275
Offers: 34, including Maryland, Oregon, Ohio State
Marcus Bradley is one of the hottest recruits in the country and it’s for good reason. He plays big and with bad intentions.
Bradley is a physical specimen and unlike many young men his size, he’s not afraid to use his girth to punish the opposition. Bradley tosses around would be blockers en route to the ball carrier. He has a quick first step and moves well in space which allows him to line up at defensive end when needed.
Bradley is a smart pass rusher -- he often angles his pursuit to create direct pathways to the QB, and when he cannot get home, he does a great job getting his hands up to deflect passes.
3. Taizse Johnson | St. John’s (DC)
DT: 6’1", 290
Offers: 13, including Georgia, LSU, Alabama, Florida
Committed: University of Maryland
Taizse Johnson is an offensive lineman’s worst nightmare; he has the strength of a bear and the feet of a ballerina.
Johnson is stout at the point of attack. When lining up as a 1-technique, he beats one-on-one blocking with ease. He has excellent hands and uses them to get off blocks, allowing him to get penetration and make tackles in the backfield. Johnson plays with a high-motor and routinely pursues runners down the line as well as downfield.
As a pass rusher, he gets excellent push up the middle and his quick feet allow him to be an effective stunt partner with outside defenders. Johnson is both supremely talented and technically sound, a combination not often seen at the high school level.
4. Monkell Goodwine | National Christian Academy (MD)
SDE: 6’4", 260
Offers: 23, including LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee
Goodwine is a quick and powerful young man who has prototypical size and backs that up with a high motor.
Goodwine has a D-1 physique. He’s strong at the point of attack, making it difficult to run at him and he chases the ball aggressively when opponents attempt to run away from him. As a pass rusher he is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback. His quick first step allows him to get upfield with ease and he is disciplined enough to double back and close on unsuspecting QBs who think they’ve gotten away.
5. Katron Evans | St. Frances (MD)
DT: 6’4", 320
Offers: 37, including Clemson, Alabama, Georgia
Katron Evans is a force of nature capable of dominating the interior from his 1-technique. Evans is a mountain of a young man who forces, and subsequently splits double teams. He eats up blockers thus allowing his linebackers to run to the ball unabated.
He is effective at clogging rushing lanes. He is strong at the point of attack and is proficient at sliding down the line to make stops. He uses his violent hands to get push up the middle in passing situations.
6. Colin Mobley | DeMatha (MD)
SDE: 6’4", 250
Offers: 25, including Penn State, Florida State, Maryland
The first thing to notice about Mobley is his size; the young man looks the part. His long arms, strong foundation and tight core give him the necessary physical attributes to exceed all expectations -- and those expectations are high.
Mobley does a great job using hand fighting techniques to disengage from blockers. He is stout at the point of attack and is an efficient pass rusher. Mobley is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.
7. James Gillespie | Woodbridge (VA)
DT: 6’2", 300
Offers: 10, including Michigan, Penn St., Maryland
James Gillespie has a quick first step and excellent burst for a young man his size. He routinely gets penetration and is a sure tackler once in the opponent’s backfield.
Gillespie’s athleticism is off the charts. His quick feet allow him to track runners down the line and his ability to maintain gap integrity make it challenging to run at him.
8. Terion Sugick | National Christian Academy (MD)
DT: 6’3", 287
Offers: 16, including UVA, Maryland, NC State
Terion Sugick plays the game with bad intentions. A physical young man, he believes in imposing his will on opponents until they give in. He’s a punishing hitter -- his style of play sets the tone for his team.
Sugick does a good job splitting double teams and getting penetration. He has quick and active feet which allow him to routinely disrupt plays in the backfield. He plays the game with an energy and zest that his teammates can easily feed off of.
9. Kenjuan Manuel | St. John’s (DC)
DT: 6’1", 296
Offers: 6, including East Carolina, UMass, Ohio
Manuel is an anchor in the interior of the Cadets’ defensive line. He displays the requisite power needed to beat one-on-one blocking and holds his ground when double-teamed.
Manuel shows short-range burst and stellar lateral movement. When motivated to do so, he lives in the opposition’s backfield. Manuel is a high character young man and will be an asset to any program. Look for him to take major strides this season and bring his potential to fruition.
10. Andre Porter | Ballou (DC)
SDE: 6’3", 260
Offers: 12, including Maryland, Boston College, Pitt
Andre Porter is equipped with size and freakish athletic ability. The strong-side defensive end stands 6-foot 3-inches, weighing 260 pounds, while maintaining the straight-line speed and quick twitch muscle reflexes of an offensive skilled player.
Porter has the potential to be truly special and undoubtedly will prove to be one of the top defensive linemen in the nation, once he is able to get back on the field.
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