Semper Fi: East Defensive Preview
Poona Ford
Poona Ford
Regional Recruiting Analyst
Posted Dec 31, 2013
Michael B. Clark


A look at the defensive standouts who will be taking the field for the Semper Fi East team.

Defensive Line

The defensive line looks like it will be a strong group. Leading the way in the middle is four-star Hilton Head (S.C.) defensive tackle Poona Ford. Ford, who is committed to Louisville, is the No. 23 defensive tackle in the class. At 6-foot-1, 275-pounds, he is a strong, explosive prospect that plays with great leverage.

Three-star Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandlewood defensive tackle and Florida State commit Blake McClain is quick off the ball and has really good hands. He also has a great frame and is extremely versatile.

Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth defensive tackle Michael Sawyers is the 88th-ranked defensive tackle in the country. The three-star prospect, who is committed to Vanderbilt, is a relentless defensive lineman that is very good in pursuit and has a knack for making plays.

The final defensive tackle is Hampton (Va.) Bethel’s Ricky Walker. The three-star prospect is committed to Virginia Tech. Walker really fires off the ball and has violent hands. He is also very agile and has a great motor.

Leading the way at defensive end is Dewayne Hendrix. The four-star O'Fallon (Ill.) prospect, who is committed to Tennessee, has a good combination of size and athleticism. He does a nice job using his hands to put pressure on the offensive lineman and takes good angles when pursuing the football.

Four-star prospect Anthony Moten of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, is committed to Miami. At 6-4 and 292 pounds, he has a great frame and is very versatile. He is also explosive and powerful.

Four-star prospect Keyon Brown is committed to Georgia and is the No. 20 defensive end in the country. The 6-3, 240-pound Wauchula (Fla.) Hardee standout is a big-time athlete with an explosive first step and plays sideline to sideline extremely well.

Greenville (Miss.) Weston defensive end Gerri Green is also a four-star prospect. The 6-4, 220-pound Green, who is committed to Mississippi State, is very athletic and has good range. He also does a nice job of playing under control and putting himself in position to make plays.

Harold Landry rounds out the defensive end group. The three-star prospect from Fayetteville (N.C.) Pine Forest is committed to Boston College. Landry is a good athlete and has a non-stop motor. He also does nice job of containing the edge and is very good in pursuit.

Linebackers

Three-star Needham (Mass.) St. Sebastian’s School linebacker Connor Strachan is committed to Boston Colllege. The 6-1, 230-pound Strachan is a hard-nosed, physical football player with great instincts.

Kansas commit Kyron Watson is a three-star prospect and the No. 60 outside linebacker in the class. The East St. Louis (Ill.) defender is a big hitter and plays fast, but under control.

Darrion Owens is a three-star prospect from Orange Park (Fla.) Oakleaf and is committed to Miami. He runs well and really flies around on defense. Owens also has the ability to drop into coverage.

Defensive Backs

Emmanuel Smith is a four-star safety from Murfressboro (Tenn.) Oakland. The Vanderbilt commit, who is the 30th-ranked safety in the class, is very athletic and has good instincts. He also does a nice job of playing both the run and the pass.

Three-star Thompson's Station (Tenn.) Independence safety RaShaan Gaulden is committed to Tennessee. The 6-1, 170-pound Gaulden is very aggressive and physical. He also does a nice job in pursuit and puts himself in position to make plays.

The No. 14 cornerback in the class, Duke Dawson of Cross City (Fla.) Dixie County, is committed to Miami. The four-star prospect is physical and understands the position. He also runs well and is fluid in coverage.

Georgia Tech commit Stepheny Durham is the 72nd-ranked cornerback in the country. The three-star Jacksonville (Fla.) Atlantic Coast defensive back shows great awareness and has a good feel for the game. He also plays fast and physical.

Oklahoma commit Tito Windham is the No. 55 cornerback in the class. The three-star Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison Central standout is good in coverage, but will also come up and deliver a big hit in run support. Windham is exceptional when it comes to getting in and out of his backpedal and also has good ball skills.

Kendall Rudolph is a playmaker in the secondary. The three-star Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln safety reads is very good at reading quarterback’s eyes and is a ballhawk. The 5-11, 180-pound Rudolph is also fundamentally sound and plays under control.

Three-star safety Mattrell McGraw has great speed and is very explosive out of his backpedal. The River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian standout, who is No. 37 safety in the country, is also very aggressive and physical.

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