Defense loaded with recruits
Player of the Year
Lorne Goree Jr., Flowers, Sr., linebacker
After two years at DuVal, Goree enjoyed tremendous success during his two seasons with Charles H. Flowers. He compiled 194 tackles and 12 sacks during the 2008 season and returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns. During his two years with the Jaguars, Goree amassed 347 tackles, 22 sacks and 10 interceptions and this past season he also caught three passes for 102 yards and one score. A two-time Gazette-Star First Team selection, Goree has verbally committed to the University of Maryland.
Brandon Killebrew, Flowers, Sr., linebacker
The senior, who is being recruited by Maryland, Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Navy and Ohio University, had 110 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks. Killebrew is one of several county players selected to the D.C. squad for the Maryland Crab Bowl.
John Darr, Suitland, Sr., linebacker
The anchor of a stingy Rams' defense that allowed less than 100 points, the senior led the team with 108 tackles, added four forced fumbles and had two fumble recoveries. He was equally capable defending the run and covering tight ends and running backs on screen plays. Darr, who will play in the Maryland Crab Bowl, is being recruited by several schools including Maryland, James Madison and Syracuse.
Lumbus Burrell, Wise, Sr., linebacker
One of the reasons the Wise defense became so stingy at the end of the season and throughout the playoffs. The senior had 33 solo tackles, 42 tackle assists, two interceptions, one sack, caused three fumbles and returned one 25 yards for a touchdown. He also added two safeties and a blocked punt.
Devon Bridges, Douglass, Sr., linebacker
Bridges was superb at linebacker this season for the Eagles. In the regular season alone, Bridges had 133 tackles. He added two interceptions, four forced fumbles and a sack for an Eagles' defense that was among the county's best. Bridges has drawn recruiting interest from several schools, including West Virginia, North Carolina and Morgan State, and will play in the Maryland Crab Bowl.
Jeremiah Mathis, DeMatha, lineman
Mathis had an ironman-like performance, playing on offense, defense and special teams. The Stags' co-captain, Mathis led the team with 13 sacks and also had the team lead in tackles as teams often ran away from the side he lined up at linebacker.
Anthony McDaniel, Wise, Jr., lineman
Another solid player up front for the Pumas, McDaniel had 25 solo tackles, 29 tackle assists, 26 tackles for loss, eight quarterback sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. The junior returns next season to anchor the defense for the defending region champs.
Raynard Randolph, Gwynn Park, Sr., lineman
A power figure throughout his career, the 300-pound senior recorded 68 tackles and three sacks this season and will play in Saturday's Crab Bowl. Michigan State, Rutgers, Penn State, Tennessee, Illinois, Syracuse and West Virginia are among those seeking his future football services.
Sterling Moore, Potomac, Sr., lineman
Described by Wolverines' coach Chris Davidson as "always around the ball," the senior had 77 tackles, including 11 sacks. Morgan State and Hampton are among the college programs hoping for his future services.
DeOnte Arnett, Forestville, Sr., lineman
Arnett was a one-man force for a Knights defense that struggled at times. The University of Maryland recruit and Maryland Crab Bowl selection recorded 15 sacks and finished with 59 tackles, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Isaiah Ross, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sr., lineman
The Raiders' leading tackler with 70, the senior also had an interception and a team-high 9.5 sacks, as Roosevelt went through the regular season with a perfect 10-0 mark. The senior has given a verbal commitment to play for the University of Maryland next fall and was selected to the D.C. team for Saturday's Maryland Crab Bowl.
Brian Lane, Oxon Hill, defensive back
Lane proved himself to be one of the county's best defenders this season at cornerback. Lane did not give up many big plays all seasons and was amongst the county leaders with seven interceptions to go along with 23 tackles and a forced fumble.
Stephon Morris, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sr., defensive back
Morris was one of many defensive standouts for the Raiders, who held opponents to one score or less seven times this season. The senior had 34 tackles and four interceptions at cornerback and also recovered a fumble.
Emmanuel McPhearson, DeMatha, Sr., defensive back
The Stags' clear leader in the secondary, McPhearson had seven interceptions, returning three for touchdowns. Perhaps his biggest play of the season came as he returned an interception for a touchdown in the WCAC title game against Good Counsel to shift the momentum in DeMatha's favor. The Crab Bowl selection has several college options, including Maryland, Boston College, Syracuse, West Virginia, LSU, Mississippi State
Jordan Haden, Friendly, Jr., defensive back
Haden registered 62 tackles and had three interceptions to pace the Patriots into the 3A South Region playoffs, where they lost to eventual state champ Westlake. Like his brothers before him, Joe (Florida) and Josh (Boston College), the junior has colleges lined up to recruit him, among them LSU, Michigan State, Michigan, Rutgers, Syracuse, North Carolina, Boston College and Florida.
Linemen: Devonte Helms, Potomac; Olu Ayanbiola, Roosevelt; Patrick Goulden, DeMatha; Tristan Glascoe, Riverdale Baptist; Randle Harris, DuVal
Linebackers: Cornell Wade, Bladensburg; Jesse Robertson, Douglass; Chris Graves, Roosevelt; Paul Tshikaya, Parkdale; Demonte Queen, Fairmont Heights; Mike Marks, Pallotti; Denzel Prince, Oxon Hill; Terrence Koen, Riverdale Baptist; Zachary Harper, Gwynn Park; Derrick Lakins, DeMatha; Richard Pearson, Central; James Hall, Central.
Defensive backs: Jeremiah Johnson, Suitland; Brian Burns, Riverdale Baptist; Delvon Butler, Northwestern; Corey Darby, Wise; Derico Sanders, Laurel