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PLAYERS TO WATCH

THE BALTIMORE SUN

OFFENSE

Joe Akers

Hereford, linemanThe 6-foot-2, 310-pound junior's power and technical skills earned him All-America honors after anchoring a Bulls team that rushed for a single-season state record 5,878 yards.

Brandon Albert

Glen Burnie, lineman

A fierce blocker and immovable force at 6-7, 340 pounds, Albert also has agility -- as evidenced by his presence as a starter on the Gophers' state semifinal basketball team -- that colleges crave.

Scott Burley

Woodlawn, lineman

The second-team All-Metro selection, who stands 6-6 and weighs 320 pounds, had some of the nation's top programs after him before committing to the University of Maryland.

Ben Gabbard

Broadneck, lineman

You'd better just move out of the way of this 6-4, 288-pound Division I prospect -- or the senior center will simply make you move.

Danny Romanowski

Dundalk, lineman

The 6-4, 285-pound Division I prospect covered the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds and cleared the way for an Owls squad that rushed for more than 3,000 yards and gained a share of the Baltimore County 4A-3A crown.

Josh Rutter

F.S. Key, running back

The 6-2, 215-pound second-team All-Metro senior rushed for 1,056 yards and 19 touchdowns, caught three touchdown passes, and, as a linebacker, had 123 tackles, three fumble recoveries and two sacks.

Steve Simms

Wilde Lake, lineman

The 6-6, 305-pounder is still developing as he hopes to realize his potential this fall before heading to Syracuse University.

Terrell Walston

Kenwood, running back

The 5-10, 185-pounder clocked a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and showed tremendous power at a junior combine after rushing for 1,551 yards and 15 scores last fall.

Dietrich Wright

Eastern Tech, running back

The 6-1, 200-pound second-team All-City/County senior runs a 4.47-second 40-yard dash and rushed for 937 yards and 18 scores last season.

T.J. Swanson

South Carroll, quarterback

After grabbing six interceptions and receiving All-Metro second-team honors as a defensive back, the 6-3, 190-pounder switches to offense, where his Division I-caliber arm will be on display.

DEFENSE

Erin Henderson

Aberdeen, linebacker

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound second-team All-Metro player, who will follow older brother E.J. to Maryland, wants to play quarterback in college, but his speed, size and mobility make him a top defender.

Mark Hicks

Edmondson, linebacker

Not only does this 6-1, 230-pound two-time All-Metro pick have a nose for the ball and an ability to dominate defensively, but the senior also excels as a running back.

Nathan Hummel

Gilman, linebacker

The 6-foot, 225-pound All-Metro pick returns after leading the team with 112 tackles and accumulating five sacks, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

Domonique Owens

Oakland Mills, linebacker

The 6-2, 200-pound second-team All-Metro pick hopes to lead the Scorpions to their fifth playoff berth in six years after grabbing five interceptions, recording four sacks and recovering two fumbles.

Dane Randolph

Wilde Lake, lineman

The 6-4, 245-pound Maryland-bound defensive standout covers the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds and hits with power.

Billy Rueter

Hereford, linebacker

With a nose for the ball and a penchant for making the big play, the 6-1, 205-pound junior second-team All-Metro pick earned his 16th and 17th sacks of the season to go with an interception in last season's 2A state title-game win.

Billy Smith

Loyola, linebacker

The 6-1, 235-pound junior second-team All-Metro pick returned two of four interceptions for scores, and, as quarterback, threw for seven touchdowns and rushed for two others.

Jonathan Sykes

Edmondson, lineman

A versatile and quick 6-1, 265-pounder, Sykes will be called upon to play linebacker as well as on the offensive line for the talented Red Storm.

Christian Varner

Randallstown, defensive back

This fleet-footed 5-11, 170-pound three-sport athlete will take his 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash to the University of Maryland.

Grant Zimmerman

Gilman, defensive back

The speedy, 5-9, 165-pound senior, an All-Metro pick in football and as a lacrosse goalie, led the Greyhounds in interceptions and fumble recoveries and returned three kickoffs for touchdowns.

Other notable players

Ben Adams, Hereford; Bobby Atwell, Southern-AA; Adrian Brown, Randallstown; Paul Burke, Chesapeake-AA; David Caperna, Gilman; Tony Cole, Oakland Mills; Cory Davis, McDonogh; Earl Chaptman, Dunbar; Andrew Ferris, Severna Park; Cameron Goldberg, McDonogh; Lonnie Harvey, Edmondson; Louis Hiteshaw, Mount St. Joseph; Chris Ilardo, St. Paul's; Cortez Hayley-Grimes, City; Brandon Johnson, Curley; Erik Johnson, City; Khamrae Johnson, Forest Park; C.J. King, Oakland Mills; Jeremy Navarre, Joppatowne; Josh Price, Parkville; Ray Matula, Southern-AA; Domonique Miles, Overlea; Dane Robinson, Calvert Hall; Justin Ross, Woodlawn; Bobby Shram, Arundel; Tim Siders, Glenelg; Dontae Smith, Milford Mill; Thomas Smith, Patterson; Scott Steele, Towson; Carl Stokes, Aberdeen; Donte Sylve, St. Mary's; Jasmond Walker, Poly; Justin Weston, Annapolis; Conor Wicklund, South River; Louis Young, Gilman.

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