In this article, we will feature the players we selected in the back four of our fictional freshman defense by featuring the defensive backs, be they corners or be they safeties. In the class of 2022, we selected three corners and a strong safety. We will briefly describe for what we were looking at each position.
In assessing corners, the selection committee looked for athletes with great feet, change of direction, body control, and loose hips. In watching film and highlights, we looked for corners with quick back pedal, who stay low and can flip their hips without losing much speed. We attempted to identify corners who transitioned very quickly. By transitioning, the committee looked for corners who could go from a pedal to closing on the ball seamlessly. The quicker a player is in transition can mean the difference between a pass completion and a pass breakup or interception. The selection committee believed an ideal corner plays press, off, and zone-coverages equally well.
For our safety, the committee looked for many of the same traits as a corner but to a lesser degree. For the most part, safeties are bigger then corners but, not necessarily, when dealing with high school players. The committee preferred some length on this particular player. In identifying the attributes we desired at safety, we looked for a safety who had the athleticism to play corner, which is what we got in this selection here. Our safety selected here is versatile and can be deployed lots of different places. These are the class of 2022’s, KPGFootball Freshman All-State defensive backs…
Strong Safety-Xavier Brown, 6-0, 165 pounds, Lexington Christian Academy…
Xavier Brown was a member of the best freshman class (25 freshman made the varsity roster this year at LCA) at one school we have seen in some time. I mean, even with the amount of freshmen pressed into service, LCA still finished the year 9-4 and one-yard away from winning the Region and advancing to the State Semis. Xavier Brown for LCA in only his freshman year played in all 13 games. He contributed 35 tackles, 24 of which were solo tackles, with 3 tackles for loss, 2 QB sacks, and an interception.
Does the kid have any wheels, you ask? Well, he registered the fastest 40 yard dash time in the commonwealth at the Team Kentucky Future Stars’ combine the summer before enrolling in 9th grade. Unsure of the exact time, and to be fair Dedrick Hamilton didn’t run a 40 at any of the Future Stars’ combines, but Brown’s time was in the 4.5s. You may also consider this; he had made this team at RB if he hadn’t played extraordinarily at safety. Plus we put him at safety on our team owing to his primarily being projected as a defensive back as a prospect. Brown, on offense, carried it 88 times, gaining 604 yards rushing with 12 rushing TDs to go along with his 14 receptions from out of the backfield, for 151 yards receiving, and a receiving TD. Throw in his converted 2-pointer and Brown lead his team in scoring 74 of the team’s 368 points it registered all year.
We didn’t decide to have a Freshman of the Year, maybe it is something we may decide to do in the future. Had we decided to do that, Xavier Brown would have been Lennon Ries’ main competition for that award. At KPGFootball, we wish all selections were this apparent.
C-Ty Bryant, 6-1, 165 pounds, Frederick Douglass…
One thing is definitely for sure, if you like your corners long, we have got the corners for you between Bryant and Key. Ty Bryant played in the defensive backfield for a Class 6A program which spent a lot of weekly, poll time at the top of the Class 6A, weekly Top-10, AP poll. Frederick Douglass finished 11-1 and lost in the 2nd round to State Finalist, Scott County, 28-27. Ty Bryant played in all 12 games as a freshman. Bryant registered 34 tackles with one tackle being behind the line of scrimmage. Bryant also came up and forced two fumbles laying the smack-down on opposing ball carriers. Can’t ask for more from a freshman corner than what Bryant contributed especially playing the level of competition he faced.
C-Dane Key, 6-1, 155 pounds, Frederick Douglass…
At KPGFootball, we can’t even imagine how exciting it is to realized you have young talent coming our the pipeline the likes of Ty Bryant, Dekel Crowdus, and Dane Key. One thing is certain, it doesn’t appear Frederick Douglass is going to slack up any at all in coming seasons. Dane Key played in 11 of Frederick Douglass’ 12 football games. Key played some offense too, catching 4 passes for 46 receiving yards with 2 of the 4 receptions going for TDs. On defense, Key broke up several passes and registered 13 tackles. As the year progressed, Key and Bryant both saw their roles grow; and, when it mattered most, they were on the field for their team. Dane Key is an elite athlete in the Class of 2022 and one of its foremost corners. There is literally no telling what Key could have contributed, statistically, had he played somewhere other than one of Kentucky’s premier, Class 6A, football programs. The future at Frederick Douglass is incredibly bright.
C-Kani Smith, 5-8, 150 pounds, Henderson County…
Kani Smith is widely considered among the top prospects in western Kentucky football. He plays for the Henderson County Colonels who regularly battle McCracken County for Western Kentucky supremacy in the 6A classification. Smith is just a shining example of the type of athletic talent coming through that pipeline. We have a selection committee member with extensive Western Kentucky ties who assures us Kani played substantial minutes in 2018 in the Colonel defensive third level and that, speed wise, he is an absolute burner. Henderson County finished 7-5 in 2018 but, with talent like Kani Smith on the roster, the Colonels prospects will continue to improve and their playoff penetration will deepen.
Well, that is the defense of our selections for the freshman defensive backs representing Kentucky’s class of 2022. KPGFootball is quite sure that, while these may not be the very best DBs in the 2022 class; they 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 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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