Defensive football players to watch in the 2014 season

September 03, 2014|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Jordan Adams

Franklin, cornerback, senior

A two-way standout, the 6-foot-1, 160-pound 3-star Rivals.com prospect had seven interceptions and 10 pass deflections as an All-Metro second-team corner, helping the Class 3A state champions hold opponents to 12.9 points per game. Committed to West Virginia along with his twin brother, Jacquez, Jordan Adams also caught 50 passes for 763 yards.

Indians Coach Anthony Burgos: "This year, it's just about having confidence and being more of a guy who understands that he has to be the leader. He has to be the guy that we can rely on for everything. Defensively, he's gotten a lot better because he's gone to all these camps and he understands what it's going to take for him. He's playing at a Big 12 major university next year, so he has to be a major player and I think he's accepted that role."

More about Adams: Already a strong defensive player, Adams emerged as a big offensive threat last year, a prime target for his brother, who threw for more than 2,800 yards. Rated the No. 10 recruit in Maryland in the Class of 2015 by Rivals.com, Adams committed to West Virginia in February over Virginia Tech and Wisconsin, among other offers. He and his brother, one of the area's top quarterbacks, wanted to play college football together. Over the summer, Adams went to local Nike and Rivals camps as well as to the West Virginia camp.

Dionte Austin

Calvert Hall, cornerback, senior

The 6-foot, 170-pound cornerback played only six games last fall because of injury, so he's ready for a big year before heading off to Wake Forest. The 3-star Rivals.com prospect has been timed at 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash. With that speed and great ball skills, he's a stellar cover corner.

Cardinals coach Donald Davis: "He's a complete defensive back. He's a tremendous cover guy, changes directions well and he's got an offensive player's ball skills. That's why I'm using him on offense, too. I think most of his growth has really come in just maturity, taking that leadership role. He has developed into a guy that kids can count on."

More about Austin: He committed to Wake Forest this summer over 13 other offers, including those from Purdue, Boston College, Illinois, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Rated the No. 14 player in the Class of 2015 in Maryland by Rivals.com, he can also play safety. In addition, he will see time at wide receiver. Austin is also a sprinter and jumper on the Calvert Hall track team.

Eric Burrell

McDonogh, safety, junior

A 4-star ESPN prospect, Burrell is rated the top player in Baltimore and the No. 5 safety overall in ESPN's Junior 300. He has great coverage skills and is already a leader in the secondary. The 6-foot, 175-pound free safety is also a great tackler and can play the box on run-stopping plays.

Eagles Coach Dom Damico: "Eric has offers but he's going to get a lot more. He's just a complete football player. He has great instincts. He's got great athleticism. He's got great size and range. I think the thing that separates him at the high school level is he's smart. He understands the schemes. We have some complex coverages that he has to get people lined up right, so he's like the quarterback of the secondary and he does a great job with that."

More about Burrell: He has started every game since his freshman year at McDonogh and is rated No. 80 overall in ESPN's Jr. 300. Burrell, who doubles as a wide receiver, has offers to play safety from Virginia Tech, Virginia and Old Dominion. This summer, he went to a one-day camp at Maryland, but otherwise worked on his game with the Eagles. He also runs track for McDonogh.

Ron'Dell Carter

Long Reach, defensive end, senior

At 6 feet 4, 240 pounds, Carter has emerged as a dynamic player on both sides of the ball. Last season, he had seven sacks and 42 tackles, including five for a loss. He also had 11 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns as a tight end. Carter committed to Rutgers as a defensive end.

Lightning coach Jamie Willis: "Last year, he weighed about 250 and he dedicated himself to the weight room and lost a bunch of weight during basketball season, got down to about 230 and just built his body up to where he's 240 now and much stronger. He's way more explosive than he was last year — and he was explosive last year, so to see him look even better is just amazing."

More about Carter: Although Rutgers recruited him as a defensive end, Carter so impressed the coaches at a 7-on-7 camp on campus this summer that they might switch him to athlete because he was so good as a tight end, Willis said. Carter also went to 7-on-7 camps at Youngstown State and Akron with his Long Reach teammates and both schools offered him scholarships. He also had offers from Boston College and Villanova, among others. Carter also plays basketball and throws the shot and discus for the Lightning.

Wyatt Cook

McDonogh, linebacker, senior

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