High School

Top 10 defensive linemen in the DMV for the class of 2021

Top 10 defensive linemen in the DMV for the class of 2021

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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"I kind of came up with my own workout regimen," he said. 

First, he used weight sets that he had. And, due to some recent construction, his parents had been doing in their home, he was able to repurpose materials including buckets which he filled with water and PVC pipes to create his own curl-up bar and squat racks.

As Ricardo says in the video above, with creativity like that, who really needs a gym?

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These are the top 10 high school defensive backs in the DMV

These are the top 10 high school defensive backs in the DMV

In today’s game, high-powered offenses are king. Long gone are the days of wishbone formations, triple-option quarterbacks and play-calling strategies centered around “three yards and a cloud of dust.”

In 2020, spread sets are the norm and offenses are designed to put up points in a hurry. For defenses to be successful at slowing them down, they need skilled and versatile defenders in the secondary who can stop the pass and help slow the run game. Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are home to some of the best in the country.

Here are my Top 10 defensive backs in the DMV.

Ryan “Bo” Barnes | Quince Orchard (MD)

Cornerback: 6’2”, 180 lbs

Class: 2021

Offers: 35

Ryan Barnes is a ball-hawking DB with next level length and a knack for making big plays. At 6-foot-2, Barnes is a big corner who blankets his opposition. He uses his long arms and stride to aide in recovering, and once he gets his hands on the ball he is a threat to score.

Though slight of frame, Barnes is a physical, sure tackler who effectively sets the edge against the run.

Antoine Booth | DeMatha (MD)

Cornerback: 6’0”, 190 lbs

Class: 2021

Committed: Michigan State

Antoine Booth often accepts the challenge of lining up against the opposition’s No. 1 receiver -- he does not back down. In fact, he raises his game to that of his competition. He plays the game with a moxie and bravado that will serve him well this season and moving forward.

Booth does a stellar job reading and reacting. He keeps his eyes in the backfield, plants his back foot and jumps routes, often leading to pass breakups and interceptions.

Jalen Clyatt | Sherwood (MD)

Safety: 6’4”, 200 lbs

Class: 2021

Committed: East Carolina

Jalen Clyatt has tremendous size and length. As a long strider, he covers a lot of ground in little time.

Clyatt manages the middle of the field. His range allows him to cover from sideline-to-sideline, and his ball skills make him a threat to intercept passes that sail over the middle.

Cam Johnson | St. Frances (MD)

Cornerback: 6’0”, 170 lbs

Class: 2022

Offers: 13

Cam Johnson has excellent technique. His hips are fluid, his backpedal is smooth and he changes direction effortlessly, which allows him to be successful in man coverage even when playing on an island.

At 6-feet tall, Johnson has nice length and a frame that he will grow into. The rising junior has legitimate “lockdown corner” potential.

Jalen “Buck” McCain | Flowers (MD)

Defensive Back: 6’0, 190

Class: 2021

Committed: Boston College

Jalen McCain is a versatile defensive back capable of making plays from all over the field. He can line up as a boundary-corner or in the slot versus spread offenses, as he displays proficiency in both zone and man coverage.

McCain is a skilled blitzer, has the speed and field awareness to defend in two-deep looks and thrives as a box safety, where his physicality and tackling abilities are on full display.

Will Simpkins III | Quince Orchard (MD)

Cornerback: 6’2”, 180 lbs

Class: 2021

Committed: University of Virginia

Simpkins has a Div.-I body type and he uses it to his advantage. He’s physical at the line of scrimmage and excels at redirecting receivers, making it difficult for them to get into their routes.

His hand-fighting techniques are superb. He has loose hips and solid ball skills. Simpkins is capable of taking away an entire side of the field.

Jalen Stroman | Patriot (VA)

Safety: 6’1”, 195 lbs

Class: 2021

Committed: Virgina Tech

Jalen Stroman is developing into a special student athlete. He’s a big hitter who is most effective coming down hill and attacking. When defending the run, he’s equally adequate at filling the hole as he is setting the edge.

In pass coverage, Stroman displays an ability to undercut routes and break on the ball. He also displays the range to play deep centerfield.

Joshua Thompson | St. John’s (DC)

Cornerback: 6’2”, 190 lbs

Class: 2022

Offers: 8

Joshua Thompson thrives in press coverage. He has the physicality to manhandle receivers at the line, and the length to recover and make plays on the ball.

As a rising junior, his stock is on the rise. Thompson should develop into a 25-plus offer student athlete.

Dante Trader | McDonogh (MD)

Safety: 6’0”, 185 lbs

Class: 2021

Committed: Maryland

Dante Trader is a natural center-fielder who displays excellent range and ball skills. His footwork and technique allow him to cover ground efficiently. He’s a sound tackler who consistently finds himself around the ball.

What he lacks in size, he makes up for in instincts. Trader does an excellent job of diagnosing plays; seeing what’s in front of him and flowing accordingly.

Zakee Wheatley | Archbishop Spalding (MD)

Safety: 6’3”, 190 lbs

Class: 2021

Committed: Penn State

Zakee Wheatley is a big time student athlete who makes plays all over the field. He has the coverage skills to line up on the outside, as well as the size and physicality to run with tight ends down the seam.

Wheatley is a heavy hitter who provides support against the run and routinely uses his force to separate man from ball.