Victor Abiamiri's physique often drew second looks four years ago when he enrolled at Gilman as a 6-foot-4, 200-pound freshman. Today, the 6-5, 245-pounder is one of the nation's most sought-after Division I recruits as a defensive end.
These days there are at least three 15-year-old sophomores who are turning heads - one each in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference, Baltimore City and Baltimore County leagues - as starters on unbeaten teams.
The tallest and most experienced of the bunch is Dundalk's 6-6, 280-pound Mark Johnson, who stands head and shoulders above all of his teammates. The two-way player, a member of a big man's youth league team prior to high school, has three sacks as a defensive end and has displayed solid blocking skills offensively as part of a line whose average size is 6-2, 260.
"We didn't think we would start him because we weren't sure he'd be strong enough for varsity. But we had some injuries so he was kind thrust into the role," said first-year Dundalk coach Dave Eubank.
At No. 6 Edmondson, 6-4, 320-pound Lonnie Harvey is coming off his best game. In last weekend's 52-18 rout of Lake Clifton, the two-way lineman cleared the way for a 213-yard rusher and, defensively, had two tackles for lost yardage and countless quarterback hurries.
"That's probably the best he's played this year. He showed he has good feet and he hustled," said Edmondson coach Pete Pompey, who has allowed Harvey to wear the No. 72 jersey of former 2000 Defensive Player of the Year Jason Murphy (Virginia Tech). "This is only his second year of football, but he's worked really hard in terms of his agility to get where he's at."
Although Calvert Hall's Dain Robinson is the smallest of the trio, he may be the strongest, pound-for-pound.
Robinson checks in at 6-3, 215 pounds and wears a size 17 shoe. And despite having never lifted weights prior to high school, nor played a lick of organized football before dominating the JV as a freshman, he bench-presses 300 pounds and starts for the third-ranked Cardinals.
"I knew I was going to play basketball when I came to Calvert Hall, but then football just kind of caught my eye," said Robinson, a 3.3 student.
Milford Mill's Joseph Toto (14 goals, 14 assists), Saye Naimley (14, 12) and Chris Wellington (11, 11) are listed first, third and fifth, respectively, among the area's top scorers in boys soccer. The Millers are unbeaten in nine games.