Defending our Selections: the Class of 2021 Offensive Linemen…

KPGFootball got a phone call from a coach upset his son wasn’t selected to our sophomore team. We told him the problem was the coaches at the high school where his son plays haven’t kept its KHSAA page up to date, statistically. Incidentally, this coach-father coaches at the middle school, and not the high school level. He told me his son led the team for which he played in tackles and we have no doubt that is the case. Problem is; when the selection committee accessed the website to research his stats, the official numbers reflected he played in only 5 games without much production. When what a parent tells us conflicts with what the team self-reports to the KHSAA, unless we are armed with personal knowledge to the contrary, we will defer to what is reported on the KHSAA site. Now a teammate of this particular player made this team and his stats were incomplete on the site too. The difference? Well, his parents subscribe to KPGFootball and we were kept abreast of his statistics throughout the year. We were able to corroborate, through a third-party, unrelated source, that the numbers he provided were accurate. It isn’t a perfect system, at this or any level. 

The coach then asked us how we evaluated offensive linemen if we consulted the KHSAA site? What statistic makes one O-lineman stand out over another? We are glad he asked. First, we look at registered starts. Some of these offensive linemen, on the sophomore team, have registered upwards of 20 consecutive starts with William Long leading the way with 25 consecutive starts while only just finishing his sophomore year. We also have access to some players’ power numbers. For instance, we had Long’s because he is one of the premier powerlifters in Kentucky. We also had some numbers on Logan Smith because his parents belong to the site and have kept us apprised of that information. Additionally, we were able to independently corroborate whatever figures were provided us on both Long and Smith. In looking for offensive linemen, we want offensive linemen who are strong, powerful, athletic, and explosive. We want linemen to lock on, and stay on, until the whistle blows. We believe we have found the best in Kentucky’s 2021 class below listed. Here are your Class of 2021, All-State offensive line…

Tackle-John Mudd 6-2, 280 pounds, Louisville Waggener High School… John made this team as a freshman last season. John started 9 of the team’s 12 games at offensive tackle in 2017, a year during which his team lost in the 2nd round of the KHSAA playoffs to Class 3A, powerhouse, Belfry. In 2018, John Mudd started every game, up front, for Waggener High School as the Wildcats improved on its 5-7 record in 2017 to go 8-4 in 2018. John Mudd is one of the most physically imposing and skilled front line players in Kentucky’s Class of 2021 and John helped open holes for Waggoner’s 1,000 yard rusher, Branden Jones, while playing consistently at an All-State level. Mudd has excellent get off, firing off the line of scrimmage low and hard, maintaining excellent pad level through out engagement. Mudd runs his feet well and stays on his blocks well into the second, and sometimes third, level.  John Mudd is a well known name in football circles among pundits composing lists or participating in the listing of 2021’s best Kentucky high school football players. We don’t believe that to be by accident. We are big John Mudd fans. 

William Long, a bull of a center who will likely end up on the defensive front

Center- William L. Long II, 5’10” 250 Hopkinsville High School… William made this team as a freshman too, but as an offensive guard, as opposed to Center. Long is one of the few offensive linemen, in Kentucky high school football’s class of 2021 who can boast 25 straight starts along an offensive front through his freshman and sophomore seasons. Long anchored a line of scrimmage which lost its only QB still on the roster in the fourth game relegating the Tigers to running a scaled down offense without the tangible threat of the pass for much of its last 8 games. Still, HHS was able to run for 2,280 yards, behind Long and his line-mates. That figure was over twice as many yards as the Tigers gained on the ground in 2017 (996).

Long, though undersized for where he was deployed, is the reigning Powerlifting Kentucky State Champion in the 250 pound weight class. William bench presses 375 pounds, incline presses 300 pounds, squats 585-pounds, power cleans 260, and hang cleans 260. William Long is the holder of four KY, APA (American Powerlifting Association) records for his age group in bench, squat, deadlift, and combined lifts. William has been selected to the National Underclassman Combine‘s All-American Team and has gained selection to participate in the Appalachia Prep Combine. Can Long move his feet? Well, he registered a 40 yard dash of 4.89 seconds and a pro-agility shuttle of 4.33 seconds this past summer between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Long has recorded a 100 inch broad jump, a vertical leap of 27 inches, and has repped the high school, combine, bench press weight of 185 pounds, 29 times, at the Blue-Grey All-American while recording 21 repetitions on the NFL/College combine, bench press weight of 225 pounds at the All-State Mountain.

Long is best described as a mauler and has been called by a personal trainer in Louisville, named Chris Vaughn, the strongest, most powerful, and explosive player in the 2021 class in Kentucky, and any state which borders it. Best offensive center in Kentucky in his class. Running over Long is like trying to run over a fire hydrant.  His future may be on the defensive line, or even at LB; but, for now, needing an offensive center for our fictitious football team, we could neither come up with, nor even imagine, a better one in this year than William Long. This selection didn’t take much time. 

Center/Guard-Drew Johnson, 6-2, 265 pounds, Somerset High…Drew plays baseball and basketball too making him one of the most athletic big men on our team and as athletic of a high school lineman as one can hope to enlist for offensive line play. Drew has a good frame for interior offensive line play and started all year at offensive center for the Somerset Briar Jumpers whom he helped lead to the State Semi-finals. Drew is versatile enough to play all five of the upfront positions, especially the three interior OL slots. 

Guard-Daniel Horton, 6-1, 290 pounds, Louisville Central…Daniel started every game for the Class 3A State Champion at either guard or center and, like several other up-front players on this list, he is sufficiently versatile to play along any of the interior OL slots. Daniel is really devastating either pulling or trapping unsuspecting defensive linemen or just firing off and driving the guy in front of him deep into the second level. Horton has both the mobility and ability to get to the 2nd and 3rd levels and cover-up  defenders stationed there hoping to make plays. Horton has a devastating hand punch and plays with excellent pad level, driving into defensive linemen or LBs and pounding the ground and digging them out of their positions. Horton plays through the whistle. Horton is just another in a long line of Central players whom are incredibly athletic and nasty. No wonder Central is a regular contender for the Class 3A State Football Championship (which they just won). Central moves up to Class 4A in 2019 where they will also be immediate State Football Championship contenders. Who knows, they may find the sledding even easier in Class 4A then they found it in Class 3A. 

Cole Knoop

Tackle-Cole Knoop, 6-3, 275 pounds, Meade County… Cole is an example of an aggressive and accomplished upfront guy of whom we knew little until convening a selection committee in the hopes of putting this team together. Knoop, playing in Kentucky’s largest classification, was a two-way player, for at least part of the year, but was an all year starter for Meade County along its offensive line. Meed County had a strange year in that, when it wanted to, it was a tough match for anyone in Kentucky.  The Green Wave demonstrated this in narrow losses to Class 6A power Simon-Kenton (29-28), and Class 4A, back-to-back, State Football Champion, Franklin-Simpson (17-14). Then, curiously, Coach Moefield’s guys would turn around and lose, 38-15, to a Central Hardin team which would finish 3-8 on the year. What can’t be discounted is the Green Wave has some super talent coming up the ranks in both Knoop and JJ Richardson. The Green Wave also has a 1,500 yard, ground-gainer, joining the party next year in running back, Austin Oppel. Oppel has been playing Indiana, Class 6A football and killing it but has now moved to Brandenburg, Kentucky from New Albany, Indiana. Knoop is exactly for what line coaches search in up-front player as he is a super-aggressive with plus size and plus length. Additionally, Cole Knoop possesses agile and quick feet. One of the better athletes on this All-State Football team.

Tackle-Logan Smith, 6-3 280 pounds, Corbin High…Logan has played in 14 of Corbin’s 15 games, missing the State Championship this year owing to injury. Logan’s absence may have cost his team the title as Corbin lost to Central 20-19. With Logan in the lineup, Corbin in the State Semis beat a Boyle County team, 21-0, which had won 25 consecutive football games and was the odds-on favorite to repeat as State Football Champions in the 3A classification. Without Logan in the lineup…well… Logan Smith, like William Long, is one of the stronger kids in Kentucky’s prospect class of 2021. We have some powerlifting numbers on Logan though we can’t swear as to exactly how up-to-date they are. It is our information Logan benches 325, squats 515, and power cleans 250. Logan wears his weight well meaning this may be the skinniest kid at 280 pounds you may well ever see. There is nothing sloppy about Logan’s physique. There is nothing sloppy about his play either. Logan Smith is one of Kentucky’s premier offensive linemen and his selection to the All-State Sophomore Football team was an easy one. 

Well, that is the defense of our selections along our offensive line for the Class of 2021. KPGFootball is quite sure these may not be the best six offensive linemen in Kentucky’s Class of 2021 but we are equally sure these six are definitely among them. All of these players have distinguished themselves both on the field of play and in the class room. It will be fun to follow these guys as they continue to develop and play football next Fall. You will continue to hear plenty from these six players in 2019 and beyond. 

Reporting for KPGFootball, this is Fletcher Long reminding all of the ballers out there that #WeGotUCovered and to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE.

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