Football defensive players to watch

Ali'i Niumatalolo celebrates a blocked punt recovery for a TD against Old Mill in 2013. Niumatalolo is a defensive player to watch this season.
Ali'i Niumatalolo celebrates a blocked punt recovery for a TD against Old Mill in 2013. Niumatalolo is a defensive player to watch this season.(Paul W. Gillespie / Baltimore Sun)

Eric Burrell

McDonogh, defensive back, senior


The 6-foot, 175-pound All-Metro safety made the key play of the No. 1 Eagles' 2014 season, recovering a fumble in overtime to seal a win over Gilman. Rated the top safety in Maryland by Rivals.com with 42 tackles and three interceptions last fall, Burrell has about 15 Football Bowl Subdivision offers and plans to visit Nebraska this month.

Montes Davis

Annapolis, defensive back, senior

The 5-10, 165-pound cornerback picked off four passes in his first two games last season and finished with six interceptions and nine pass breakups. He shut down his mark 87 percent of the time. Davis, who also had 1,248 all-purpose yards last season, will return kicks and punts and play in the offensive backfield.

Kareem Felder

Franklin, defensive back, senior

The Ohio State commit is one of the area's top cornerbacks, despite suffering a pulled hamstring during track season, and should fill the gap left by All-Metro second-team CBJordan Adams' graduation. At 5-10, 175pounds, Felder, who transferred from St.Frances, has the speed and quickness to cover man-to-man and the explosiveness to catch nearly anyone.

Tyshon Fogg


Calvert Hall, linebacker, junior

A rare combination of size and speed, Fogg is 6-2, 220 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. Rated the No. 2 junior player in Maryland by Rivals.com, he excels at outside linebacker and at strong safety. Fogg has more than 20 FBS offers from programs such as Stanford, Michigan State, Clemson and Maryland.

Brandon Hlavach

Eastern Tech, linebacker, senior

A durable inside linebacker for the regional finalist Mavericks, who finished first in Baltimore County's Division I, the 6-foot, 190-pound Hlavach had 69 tackles, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions last fall. He doubles as a running back and led a power running team with 871 yards on 144 carries with 15 touchdowns.

Deandre House


Douglass, defensive back, senior

A transfer from St. Frances, the 6-1, 190-pound cornerback brings leadership and a keen field awareness to a secondary that was one of the Ducks' weaker units. With playmaker skills on both sides of the ball, House will also play slot receiver and return kicks. He has several offers, including West Virginia and Tennessee.

Ellison Jordan

Gilman, defensive line, senior

A two-time All-Metro tackle committed to Penn State, Jordan has the skill, mechanics and nonstop motor to be the only Baltimore player listed in ESPN's composite Top 150 seniors in the nation. The defensive leader plays far larger than his 6-1, 277-pound frame, and it often takes two opponents to stop him. Last fall, he had 16 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

Silas Kelly

South Carroll, defensive back, senior

Committed to Maryland as a free safety, Kelly, 6-6 and 210 pounds, could emerge as one of the area's top two-way players. He had 77 tackles and four interceptions last season as the Cavaliers reached the Class 2A state semifinals. He also had 259 receiving yards, which should go up this year with more passing in the offense.

Dom Maggio

Boys' Latin, punter, senior

The No. 1 punter in the nation, Maggio is the only Baltimore player selected for the Under Armour All-America Game in January. The two-time All-Metro selection averaged 43.5 yards on 34 punts last season. Also the No. 9 kicker in the country, he made 12 of 15 field goals and 29 of 30 extra points. He has committed to Wake Forest.

Ali'i Niumatalolo

Broadneck, linebacker, senior

A disruptive inside linebacker, the 6-2, 225-pound Niumatalolo had 108 tackles last fall, including nine for a loss, as well as four sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble. He had three 17-tackle games for the Anne Arundel County champs. The son of Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo counts Boise State and Buffalo among his college options.