With the May evaluation period beginning today, where college coaches get to hit the road to take a…
The West's Emerging Defensive Prospects
Anthony Popovich Defensive Line, Kentfield (Calif.) Marin CatholicA big athlete, Popovich has the type of athleticism that lets him play from a standup position at times and cover backs out of the backfield or drop back in a zone blitz. He has the size to move inside and stick at defensive tackle on the next level. He has a good change of direction and a high football IQ. Devaughn Hanley Defensive Line, Cerritos (Calif.) GahrAt a school that's been known for their high-powered offense (12,000 yards through the air the last three years), Hanley is one of the defensive stalwarts and was one of the better underclassmen we saw at last year's USC Rising Stars Camp. Can play defensive end or defensive tackle. Julius Tevaga Defensive Line, Everett (Wash.) Archbishop MurphyHe and Tani Tupou form one of the better defensive line tandems in the West and while Tupou had offers (and is already committed to Washington), Tevaga figures to be the next Archbishop Murphy prospect to emerge this spring and turn into a D-I recruit. J.R. Plote Defensive Line, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain PointeLong armed defensive end prospect. Plays with a good motor and is a near 4.0 student. Jake Bainton Linebacker, Renton (Wash.) LibertyOne of the most physically gifted two-way players in the Northwest, Bainton could also play receiver in college but his size makes him an ideal outside linebacker. He's a gamer, with great football instincts and loves to play physically. Coaches will love his motor. Aaron Wallace Linebacker, Poway (Calif.) Rancho BernardoThe son of former NFL defensive end Aaron Wallace, the younger Wallace was one of the most physically impressive players we saw in Vegas at the 7on7. He's 6-4, 200 and can play outside linebacker or safety (he plays end for his high school team). He won the MVP of the TCU Nike Camp last weekend. With his size and skill set, he'll be a nice fit in a 3-4 defense. Woodson Greer Linebacker, Gardena (Calif.) SerraGood size to play inside or outside linebacker, Greer has excellent acceleration that allows him to shoot the gap on a delayed blitz or beat a running back to the edge. Attacks the ball carrier on contact and finishes his tackles well. Thierry Nguema Defensive Back, Corona (Calif.) SantiagoOne of the best pure cover corners in the West, Nguema has quick, active hands, good backpedal quickness and excellent cover awareness. His ball skills are some of the best from a Western DB. Desman Carter Defensive Back, Fontana (Calif.) KaiserCarter is a big and physical safety who has the flexibility to play cornerback in college. Overshadowed by his Pac-10 bound teammates a year ago (Anthony Brown and Josh Shirley), but can thank those two for the college coaches who now have him on their radar. Kendrick Van Ackeren Defensive Back, Bellevue (Wash.)One of the most gifted athletes in the Evergreen State, Van Ackeren was one of the defensive stalwarts for the state champion Wolverines, and can play corner or safety in college, but figures to play free at the next level. Taj Teague Defensive Back, Pomona (Calif.)Another top two-way athlete, Teague has earned most of his publicity as a running back, but he projects better to safety in college. His older brother, Titus, also flew under the radar and is now a redshirt freshman at Louisville. Taj figures to be on more people's radar once the spring is done.
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