2017 Defensive Football Players To Watch

Eyabi Anoma

St. Frances, defensive end, senior

Rated the No. 2 defensive end in the Class of 2018 by ESPN in April, Anoma already is an Under Armour All-American. An All-Metro second-team pick, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Anoma blossomed last season with 18 sacks, five forced fumbles and three interceptions. He has a long list of offers, including West Virginia, Penn State and South Carolina.

Thomas Booker

Gilman, defensive end, senior

An All-Metro second-team selection as a tight end last season, Booker stood out on both sides of the ball. He had 77 tackles, including 14 for a loss, four sacks, three forced fumbles and two recoveries, as well as an interception. At 6-5, 290 pounds, he is considering offers from Stanford, Notre Dame, Harvard, Princeton and Penn.

Evan Boozer

Loyola Blakefield, lineman, senior

The All-Metro first-team tackle proved a big challenge for one man to handle. At 6-4, 240 pounds, Boozer completed his junior year with 87 tackles, including 24 for a loss, nine sacks, a forced fumble, five fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks. He has committed to Temple.

Chance Campbell

Calvert Hall, linebacker, senior

The first player in the state’s Class of 2018 to commit to Maryland, the 6-2, 225-pound Campbell is the quarterback of the Cardinals defense after an 81-tackle, eight-sack junior season. He can play inside or outside linebacker with his speed, range and intelligence, and will be the one making in-game adjustments.

Malik Hamm

City, defensive end, senior

Coming off a season with 24.5 sacks, the 6-3, 245-pound Hamm is still growing into the position after converting from running back two years ago. Quick and aggressive with increasing strength, he also had 147 tackles last season, including 92 solo, as well as four forced fumbles, three recoveries and 11 batted passes.

Joe Jennings

Glen Burnie, linebacker, senior

With a physical game, sure hands and a knack for reading offenses, the 5-11, 225-pound Jennings was one of Anne Arundel County’s top tacklers as a junior with 100, including 20 for a loss. He picked off three passes at inside linebacker and also had five sacks and forced three fumbles.

Ryan Kearney

Howard, linebacker, senior

Kearney, 6-2 and 215 pounds, earned the nicknamed “Carnivore” for his ability to tear through opposing players. A leader on a defense that allowed just 92 points in the first 13 games last season, the inside linebacker had three interceptions and more than 110 tackles.

Shane Lee

St. Frances, linebacker, junior

Lee, a 6-foot, 240-pound inside linebacker, began his career at Gilman before transferring to St. John’s in Washington for his sophomore year. He returns to his former coaching staff as the nation’s No. 1 junior linebacker recruit, according to 247Sports.com, and could fill the void left by graduated Defensive Player of the Year Sam Thomas.

PJ Mustipher

McDonogh, lineman, senior

One of the top defensive tackles in the country already selected to play in the Under Armour All-America Game, the 6-5, 290-pound Penn State commit had 15 sacks, 47 tackles, four pass breakups and four forced fumbles last fall. The All-Metro first-team pick was one of about 150 players nationwide to attend The Opening in June.

Jay Thompson

Franklin, linebacker, junior

A key returning player in one of the Class 3A state finalist’s strongest units, the 6-2, 200-pound Thompson has great range, speed and intelligence to be a leader at middle linebacker. Last season, he had 78 tackles, three sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt. He will also play some at receiver.

Other notables

Devin Anderson, Bel Air

Gerard Berzins, St. Mary’s

Beau Brade, River Hill

Duane Davis, Franklin

Aaron Dawson, Old Mill

Rashawn Evans, Boys’ Latin

BJ Farrare, McDonogh

Robert Garrett, Franklin

Sean Greeley, Havre de Grace

Daniel Hood, Archbishop Spalding

Coziah Izzard, St. Vincent Pallotti

Jimmy Jackson, Eastern Tech

Saleem Jackson, Wilde Lake

Steven Jacobs, Broadneck

Phil Johnson, Glenelg

Terry Jones, Mervo

Kevin Lynch, Liberty

John Maxwell, Aberdeen

Cooper McGeehan, River Hill

Ephraim Moore, Arundel

Trejour Owens, Edmondson

Herbert Parham, Edgewood

Darius Pickett, McDonogh

Cameron Smith, Meade

Terrell Smith, St. Frances

Shawn Tolbert, Dunbar

Jon Walker, St. Paul’s

Isaiah Watson, Calvert Hall

Eric Weaver, Meade

Cameron White, Old Mill

Nicholas White, Milford Mill

Dylan Wilson, South Carroll

Dayshawn Womack, Annapolis

Mike Zeleznik, Long Reach

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