All-metro Football -- Defense

December 17, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Melvin Alaeze

Randallstown, defensive end

Alaeze is a towering, athletic specimen whose skill many believe is far from having reached its full potential.

Yet the 6-foot-3, 275-pound senior, who is considered by many recruiting Web sites to be the nation's No. 1-rated high school defensive end, most often was simply too quick and powerful to be stopped by the majority of offensive linemen he faced. Although most teams ran away from Alaeze, who bench-presses 350 pounds and has a 30-inch vertical leap, he still recorded 18 1/2 sacks, caused three fumbles and recovered two.

Alaeze, who ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash at a spring combine, often was dropped back into pass coverage. He had one interception. Alaeze rarely came off the field, having played linebacker, defensive end, tight end, wide receiver, and running back. Alaeze rushed for 351 yards and five touchdowns, caught 17 passes for 257 yards and three more scores, and also was the Rams' kicker and punter, averaging 40 yards per attempt on the latter.

At the season's outset, Alaeze was offered more than 50 scholarships by some of the nation's top Division I programs. Alaeze, who also plays basketball, has narrowed his preferences to Virginia Tech, Miami and Maryland, although schools such as Ohio State and Penn State still are sending representatives to his home. He has been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January.

FIRST TEAM

Joe Akers

Hereford, lineman

The 6-foot-2, 315-pound senior earns All-Metro honors for the third straight year for his play on both sides of the ball. Akers led a Bulls team that went 13-1, reached the Class 2A state title game for the third time in his four years as a starter, and finished with a No. 2 area ranking.

A member of the Bulls' state title-winning teams of 2001 and '02, Akers helped Hereford go 48-4 during his tenure. This season, he registered 15 sacks. Offensively, Akers anchored a line that paved the way for a state single-season-record 636 points.

Akers will satisfy graduation requirements at Hereford in January, then leave to join spring practices at the University of Connecticut, the school to which he has earned a full football scholarship.

Alex Butt

Hereford, linebacker

He was a tireless presence for the Bulls on both sides of the ball. On defense, Butt, 6 feet 1, 195 pounds, played linebacker and was the team's leading tackler. On offense, Butt teamed with backfield mate Cory Smith, a second-team All-Metro selection, to form a solid duo.

Defensively, Butt was almost always around the ball. More than 50 of his 151 tackles were solo, he notched six sacks and occasionally dropped back into pass coverage, making two interceptions.

Offensively, Butt was a hard runner but was also deceptively fast, having clocked a 4.6-second 40 yard dash. He rushed for 13 of his 16 total touchdowns and ran for nearly 900 yards.

A B-average student, he is undecided about his college choice.

Tommy Farmer

Eastern Tech, def. back

A repeat All-Metro performer, Farmer, 6 feet 4 and 195 pounds, stood above most of his rivals. And this year, from his position in the secondary, the senior continued to be the scourge of rival receivers.

Farmer grabbed eight interceptions, raising his career mark to 22, and deflected 10 other passes. In 30 games as a starter, Farmer has given up only one scoring reception.

One of his best games was in a 7-6 victory over then-No. 1 Randallstown, when he made a defensive stop at the 1-yard line and caught the game-winning touchdown pass. As a receiver, Farmer made the most of his 12 receptions for 218 yards, scoring on 11 of them. He also returned a punt for a score.

Farmer has been offered a full scholarship to play for Towson, but also has received interest from Connecticut, Buffalo and Richmond.

Ben Hostetler

River Hill, defensive back

He is known primarily for his abilities as a quarterback, but the senior also excelled this year in his debut in the secondary.

Hostetler, 6 feet 3 and 180 pounds, had 10 inteceptions on the season, grabbing three in each of the Hawks' Howard County League wins over Hammond and Reservoir. Hostetler also caused three fumbles, and 37 of his 72 tackles were solo.

Hostetler completed 98 of 197 passes for 1,415 yards, 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also rushed for 218 yards and eight more scores. Hostetler also was the punter for the 10-0 team.

Hostetler, who holds seven school records, led River Hill to its second straight county title and second straight playoff berth. A 4.0 student who ranks No. 1 in his class, Hostetler is getting looks from several Ivy League schools.

John Jackson

Bel Air, linebacker

Jackson was an invaluable player for the Bobcats, who dethroned Randallstown as Class 3A North region champions and reached the 3A state semifinals, where they lost a close game to eventual state champ Northwest of Montgomery County.

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