Football preview: Defensive players to watch

Josh Alaeze

Dunbar, defensive end, senior

A transfer from Parkville, Alaeze has drawn a lot of attention from colleges with his aggressive style and the speed to constantly harass opponents. At 6 feet 1, 225 pounds, he has a "motor that just doesn't stop," Poets coach Lawrence Smith said.

Navassa Brown

Franklin, defensive back, junior

Brown led the Indians with four interceptions and had 26 tackles in a breakout season last fall. A quick, elusive two-way player, Brown (5-9, 165) also gained 1,401 all-purpose yards, including 475 rushing, and scored 13 touchdowns.

Anthony Ferguson

Gilman, lineman, senior

The Iowa-bound Ferguson (6-2, 280) is one reason the Greyhounds have high expectations this season for their defense. He had 73 tackles - including 13 for a loss - and six sacks and recovered three fumbles last year.

Kyle Fuller

Mount St. Joseph, cornerback, senior

Orally committed to Virginia Tech, Fuller (6-0, 165) had 54 tackles last season and ran back an interception, two punts and a kickoff for touchdowns. He won't get off the field much, also playing special teams and possibly starting at quarterback.

Josh Furman

Old Mill, linebacker, senior

Furman is still sorting through about 15 college offers after recording 87 tackles and eight sacks last season. Furman (6-2, 195) also makes his mark on offense, having run for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior.

Emmanuel Gbor Eastern Tech, defensive end, senior

Gbor had 11 sacks last season and will be a key to the Mavericks' defense, which likely will be their strength. Also a 900-yard rusher as a fullback, Gbor (5-11, 180) was instrumental in the Mavericks' run to a second straight Class 2A state final.

Kevin Johnson River Hill, cornerback, senior

The Hawks' starting defense allowed four touchdowns last season, and Johnson's pass coverage was one of the reasons. Johnson (6-0, 165), who has committed to Wake Forest, has great speed and footwork.

Reynard Parks Dunbar, linebacker, senior

Another transfer who will bolster the Poets' already-strong defense, Parks arrives from Calvert Hall with a vocal leadership style and a knack for reading offenses. Coach Lawrence Smith expects a breakout season for Parks (5-11, 210).

Jim Poggi Gilman, linebacker, senior

At 6-2, 218 pounds, the son of Greyhounds coach Biff Poggi shows great closing speed in chasing down the ball, finishing last season with 131 tackles and nine sacks. He has orally committed to join teammate Anthony Ferguson at Iowa.

Tyler Weedon Catonsville, linebacker, junior

An All-Metro first-team pick as a sophomore, Weedon (5-11, 230) had started every game since his freshman year before breaking his hand in his ninth game last year, and has drawn some major interest from Division I schools. Last season, he led the Comets with 148 tackles, 16.4 per game.

Other notables:

Nathan Ayers, Dunbar

Josh Barben, North Harford

James Bedgood, Chesapeake-BC

James Brittingham, Kenwood

Keon Brunson, Poly

Ryan Burghauser, North Harford

Pat Carey, North County

Devin Clark, Dunbar

Vinny DePaola, Hereford

Bryan Ellis, McDonogh

Ben Fowler, Perry Hall

E.J. Gilman, Wilde Lake

Donny Guido, Eastern Tech

Shelton Hall-Bennett,

Mount St. Joseph

Dominic Harper, Joppatowne

Davon Johnson, Woodlawn

Terrell Johnson, Arch. Spalding

Tyler Krug, Westminster

Mikio Manuel, Severna Park

Aaron Moore, Edmondson

Kevin Moore, River Hill

Ryan Orem, Franklin

Bobby Partilla, Arundel

Kendall Saunders, Annapolis

Randy Spann, Old Mill

Stephen St. Clair, John Carroll

Devonte Taylor, Havre de Grace

Mwanza Wamulumba, Meade

Gentry White, Mount St. Joseph

Kyle Young, Centennial

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