Defending our selections: The Defensive Line…

Now, this is the first time we have done a middle school, All-State, Football team, but it isn’t our first All-State Football team. For those of you who subscribe and belong to KPGFootball, you know we also publish both a Freshman and Sophomore All-State football team for the high-schoolers. In addition to that, KPGFootball is a member of the Associated Press and, therefore, votes on the AP’s Kentucky High School Media All-State Football team. We either know what we are doing or think we know what we are doing. As is our common practice, we will now go through the players selected and defend each player’s selection to this team. We, metaphorically, won the coin toss and elected to defer our choice to the second half, so we will begin on defense.

The All-State Defensive Line;

Conway Middle School, Louisville, KY; Kaden Briggs…

Kaden Briggs is 6-0 and weighs 190 pounds. He plays both defensive end and running back in Louisville but was on Team Kentucky as a DE. He has a reported 40 yard dash time of 5.22 seconds, he bench presses 225 pounds, and he back squats a cool 300. Just look at the picture to the left of this paragraph and tell me you would have thought him a member of Kentucky’s class of 2023 if I hadn’t told you that. Kaden uses his hands well to shed defenders and scrape down the line and make plays. Kaden also has good flexibility and bend enabling his ability to dip his shoulder underneath the tackle’s hands and slip into the backfield to pressure QBs. On offense, Kaden plays running back and provides the type of big back problems to linebackers coming up to tackle him. Briggs played, at one time, for one of the more storied programs in Louisville in the Tenth Street Cardinals and its head coach Joe Thomas. This year Briggs played football at Conway Middle School. Kaden is just a grown man, truthfully, whom we have seen play this past summer, in the Tennessee-Kentucky Future Stars Classic, and a player we ranked in our Top 20 prospects for the Class of 2023, in the beginning of this Fall. With Team Kentucky tryouts this weekend at Campbellsville, just wait, he’ll show you what he can do. You will be impressed, I promise.

Westport Middle School, Louisville, KY; Josh Johnson…

Johnson, at 6-0 and 220 pounds, would have won the Defensive MVP of the Tennessee-Kentucky Future Stars classic this past summer had it not been for the incredible effort, and on-field production, of Hopkinsville’s Oscar “JT” Adams. I can tell you there was a considerable debate as two which one deserved the honor this summer. There was no debate at all among the selection committee whether Josh belonged on this All-State football team. Josh is a 6-0, 220 pound defensive end with considerable bend, speed, and quickness and Kaden Briggs and he are the best two DEs in the 2023 class, commonwealth-wide, or so we believe.

Future Stars Classic

His candidacy for All-State selection can be summed up from something we saw this past summer. When playing the Tennessee Future Stars, Tennessee had a superstar QB named Jadyn Davis who was killing KY and whom KY’s defense just couldn’t stop, anymore than the Tennessee defense could stop Cole Hodge in the 4th quarter. Davis tried to come back down the field and take victory from Kentucky, late in the 4th quarter, when this happened…Tennessee still had Davis and Davis had the type of arm, which he had shown us all day, to cover virtually miles in 36 seconds, if he wished. On the second play of his attempted heroics, Davis was under a heavy rush and running for his life, when he got slammed into the turf, by Westport’s Josh Johnson, at Toyota Stadium and, sadly, suffered a broken wrist. Now the game went into overtime but Tennessee would be without its star QB for the game’s pivotal possession. From, And a little child shall lead them, June 17, 2018. The net result, Kentucky goes to overtime, Colin Fratus nails a field goal, Kentucky wins. Josh Johnson has tremendous upside, which is scary because he is damn good right now. Johnson is also a versatile athlete with a versatile skill set. Josh competes on his middle school’s Track & Field team, in addition to football, and runs both the 100 and 200 meter sprints, throws the javelin, throws the shot put, and throws the discus. Josh is one of the best athletes, his age, in Kentucky.

Owensboro Jr. High, Owensboro, KY; Jeremiah Goodwin…

Goodwin is No. 9

Jeremiah Goodwin, described by Coach Brown as one of the fastest kids on his entire team who just happens to play defensive end at OMS is 6-1 and weights 180 pounds. Goodwin not only was selected to this All-State team but has been selected to the Bret Cooper Junior Academic All-American game in Dallas, Texas played in December of this year. Not everyone in middle school football is as knowledgeable about the program at Owensboro Middle School, or Junior High (as a purest would reference the school), as we. For instance, not many people know, as middle school statistics are difficult by which to come, that Owensboro Middle is 45-1 over the previous 4 seasons. Not many people would know that Owensboro Junior went 8-0 this season with wins against College View, Bowling Green, and North Pulaski to its credit. Not many people would know they scored 258 points in 8 games while allowing 44. Not many people would know they have 7 players presently slotted to play in the Bret Cooper Middle School All-American game in Dallas, Texas the end of this year. I told you you that to explain why four Owensboro Middle players made this All-State team. In choosing only 4 we excluded three more players whom were selected middle school All-Americans. Goodwin is a big and long framed athlete who played on both sides of the ball this year for Coach Greg Brown. Goodwin has excellent length, bend, and, as we above told you, speed. His speed is further evidenced by his offensive deployment at RB. Owensboro Middle School doesn’t compete in the KYMSFA, so some of their athletes get overlooked for things like this, but Goodwin is a guy who reminds quite a few people of a former superstar at Owensboro Junior High who is killing it, right now, at Owensboro Senior, Austin Gough. Had there been a middle school All-State football team in Gough’s day, he certainly would have been on it, ask anyone.

Owensboro Jr. High, Owensboro, KY; Sahvon Hines…

Hines No. 58

Sahvon Hines, 6-1 and 210 pounds, is another Bret Cooper Junior Academic All-American football player who was selected this past summer to play for Team Kentucky Future Stars. In speaking with Coach Brown, though Hines is a bone fide star on the defensive front for his middle school team, he projects as a future offensive lineman expected to letter (if not start) at Class 5A, Owensboro Senior High School next year as a freshman! Hines can best be described as extremely active, with violent hands, extremely quick get off, with upper-level technique. Hines is the kind of player commonly referenced by defensive coaches as a gapper in that he can jump a gap and be through to the backfield before the o-lineman charged with blocking him can even get out of his stance. Unlike some gappers, he has enough led in his back-side to sit, play read, and shed the lineman and get to the football once located. Hines has all the tools one would look for in a middle school down-lineman. He was most commonly described to our selection committed as blink and he’s by you kind of player which really did some discredit to his other pronounced tools. He’s an every down, defensive lineman. Hines has an excellent frame which could get much thicker and project him playing inside along the defensive front should he remain on defense or be used as in interior offensive lineman. Hines could also stay his present size, increase his speed and quickness and bend off the end, and turn into the pass-rushing, edge threat so many teams crave. Hines is one Hell of an inside technique down-lineman who consistently made plays, this year, in the opponent’s backfield leaving the opposition in uncomfortable mid-to-late down, long distance situations. The biggest thing about Hines is his ability to blow up the middle coupled with the speed to pursue, catch, and tackle from behind running backs attempting to sweep either end. Sahvon Hines is a guy who can both hold the middle of the line for the defense while still capable of making plays into the sideline.

Taylor County Middle School, Campbellsville, KY; Clay Corbin…

You’ll have to excuse Coach Marlon Hoskins at Taylor County Middle School if he chooses to wax somewhat eloquently about the play his team got, defensively upfront, from Clay Corbin this season. At 5-10 and weighing 220 pounds, Corbin exhibits the same type of low pad level and use of leverage to win the same battles for which defensive linemen from Taylor County have become known through out the years, particularly at the middle school level. Anyone out there ever heard of Logan Parker? According to Coach Hoskins, Clay is a kid who started for Taylor Co.’s middle school varsity team from his first day as a seventh grader. Clay Corbin has been described as very physical with a high motor who has improved more than any kid whom has matriculated through Hoskins’ program. Clay Corbin, like his teammate Kaden Smith, is a Team Kentucky caliber player and a favorite to make this year’s addition of the FBU Elite team set to tryout this coming weekend. Taylor County had another excellent season this past year, making the playoffs, earning a top 3 seed in the 2nd Region, and losing to Caudill in the Regional Semi-finals and, thereby, making it to the Sweet Sixteen of the middle school playoffs. We knew Taylor County could play coming into the playoff as they narrowly lost to Division 2, Kentucky semi-finalist, Corbin, 32-30, during the regular season. Maybe the greatest complement which could be paid to Clay Corbin is his being described as a great teammate who competes every down, every play. There is always room on any All-State football team for a kid like that.

Well folks, there it is. For the reasons above we believed these five players to be very deserving of this recognition. I am sure these may not be the best five defensive linemen in middle school football from across Kentucky but we are equally sure they are among them. All of these players have distinguished themselves on the field of play. These players have also performed well on the combine and camp circuit, gaining selection for various all-star, All-State, and All-American football games.

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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About Fletcher Long 1423 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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