Defending our Selections: The Sophomore Defensive Line…

KPGFootball would like to share with you something college coaches, while out recruiting, tell us. Well, it is really two things…one, a college football prospect, playing in high school, gets in the lineup as a sophomore; and, two, if you have to tell us which kid we are supposed to be monitoring on the game film, he isn’t good enough to play for us. KPGFootball will take these two one at a time. First, and I don’t care how good the program is, after a solid year in the Strength & Conditioning program, you should be ready to play, at any high school, as a sophomore. We can assure you of this; if we are promoting you for Saturday play, and you didn’t break the lineup as a sophomore, a college recruiter is going to ask us about it.

These four players, here featured, were prominently in the plans of each of his schools from day one of his sophomore year. The only one not in the day-one starting lineup, was so good when he arrived, that his not being in the game one starting lineup looks worse on his school’s program than it looks on him. Of these four, two of them were freshman All-Staters, a year ago, and one didn’t play, at all, his freshman year and UK still offered him before the start of his sophomore season.

The committee weighted heavily a sophomore’s finish to his season over where he started, but we didn’t give a sophomore much early season leeway before we expected him in the lineup. We looked for defensive linemen here who fired out, and not up, coming off the ball. We wanted guys with active hands who used them to shed blockers, swim, or rip through double teams, and stayed active throughout the play. Guys with motors were favored.

All four of these cats were awesome this year, period. Lack of production will not be countenance, by either KPGFootball or its selection committee, when it comes to a sophomore All-Stater. We are picking a football team here of football players and not awarding the All-potential, All-frame squad. The below detailed guys are our sophomore, KPGFootball, All-State Defensive Line…

DE-Darion Dearinger, 6’3” 245, Anderson County High School… This selection goes under the category of Duh! If you think you know anything about Kentucky High School football and this kid doesn’t feature prominently in your top Class of 2021 prospects, then you really don’t know a damn thing. This kid has a Division I, FBS, Power 5 frame and the athleticism to go along with it. Darian made the KPGFootball, Freshman All-State Football team a year ago and led his team, this year, to an overall 10-1 record, losing to Highlands by 4 points in round one of the KHSAA playoffs. Dearinger had 52 Total tackles on the year with 35 of them being solos, in spite of every team Anderson County played running away from him as fast as they could. He also contributed 11 TFLs and an additional 4 QB sacks, recovering a fumble to boot. This is a guy whom we expect will play some tight-end too as he goes forward and he is a good enough athlete to deploy at TE, DE, or even a 4-3 OLB collegiately. The kids strength (295 pound bench press), power (405 pound squat), explosion (28 inch vertical), and athleticism (4.74 second 40 yard dash; 4.5 second shuttle) are all where they should be, or slightly better, for a Division I, FBS, Power 5 target his size. Easy selection here…pretty much a consensus sophomore All-Stater in the minds of the committee. 

DL (NG)-Braeden Babin, 5’11” 187 Christian Academy of Louisville… This kid was referenced yesterday when we published the exert about another kid who reminded us of Babin named Tyler Morris from Lexington Christian Academy. Now, if Morris works out to have the same type production his sophomore season as Braeden Babin enjoyed this year Tyler will be a much discussed, up-front commodity for any defensive front. Babin doubles on offense as his brother’s lead blocker for one of the premier football programs in all of Kentucky regardless of classification. There are two ways to man a Nose in an odd front. You can man it with a immovable, gigantic, player who clogs up the middle and doesn’t give ground or you can man it with a lightening quick and fast pest perpetually shooting into the backfield and effecting both down and distance and the center/QB exchange. CAL voted on the latter as opposed to the former and one can hardly argue with the result. Though undersized for what one expects of a Nose, this lightening quick “gapper” was far too quick for most centers to block. One can make the argument Braeden even out played his brother this year, especially since brother had to lay out four games with injury, but KPGFootball doesn’t want in the middle of that debate. That is better left a twin-matter. What we can say is there wasn’t a Nose we saw this year impact games any more profoundly than Braeden Babin did. Babin had 63 tackles with an incredible, drive-killing, 16 TFLs to lead his 15-0 football team. Babin also collected 8.5 QB sacks. Excuse me, 8.5 sacks from the Nose-guard? Incredible! Babin also forced 2 fumbles and recovered 2 fumbles. Kid had an incredible year and was entitled to this type of recognition for his level of production. Babin can come play the Nose for KPGFootball, no matter what size he chooses to be, anytime he wants.

Photo pulled from Lawrence’s Hudl/un-credited

DL-Sebastian Lawrence, 6-2, 265 pounds…Okay, this guy played DE for Murray High School this season but, on our fictitious team, we are sliding him down inside to the 3 technique, next to Babin at the one-tech. What KPGFootball is about to write may seem to reflect poorly on the coaching staff at Murray High School unless Sebastian was injured to begin the year. How in the world would it take 3 weeks to determine Lawrence was among the best defensive ends in all of Kentucky’s 2021 Class, much less on the Murray High School roster? Can’t answer that one. However, credit the staff and Lawrence both for this…once Lawrence entered the rotation, Murray and Sebastian made sure Lawrence wasn’t going anywhere. This kid played on both sides of the ball in 2018 in helping lead his team to the Regional Championship Game, where Murray ran into the ultimate killer of dream-seasons, state-finalist, Mayfield. Lawrence made the All-WKC team (which isn’t easy to do at all as a sophomore) and, in only 10 of the team’s 13 games, proved himself unblock-able. Lawrence (missing three games of opportunity) still had 82 tackles, 60 of which were solos. Can you believe Murray’s opponents were sufficiently stupid enough to actually attempt to run the football to this guy’s side of the field? Lawrence also had 19 TFLs and 4 QB sacks; both forcing and recovering two fumbles a piece. Don’t know why it took Murray three games to get him in the lineup, but Murray High went 1-2 without him and 7-3 with him. KPGFootball is willing to wager this kid doesn’t have any more pine-time in his future.

DE- Logan Weedman, 6-5, 200 pounds, Owensboro Apollo…This guy hardly ever walked on the playing surface over the course of his freshman campaign and then got offered by the University of Kentucky based from off his performance at its camp and his frame, which is fantastic and only going to get better. This year, Logan demonstrated he was worthy of all the attention and ballyhoo! Logan also plays basketball which lends to football players in three critical ways. One, basketball players have good wind (in good shape). Two, basketball players are coordinated. Three, basketball players have both quick and agile feet. The good ones anyway. So what one has with Weedman is a 6-5 DE/TE prospect who is skinny now but figures to be a much-sought-after prospect (even more than he is presently) as he fills out his very long, very athletic, agile, quick-footed frame. Make no mistake that Logan can play football as he didn’t make this team because of whom may or may not have offered him. This is a team for football players, not a top-prospects list. In his first year in the line-up for Owensboro Apollo, Logan, with everyone in the world knowing exactly who he was and where he would be aligned, still contributed 48 tackles from his end slot. More importantly, Logan was in the backfield so much he might as well have joined the offense’s huddle. Logan had 18 TFLs to go along with his 17 QB sacks. Not sure but that sack total has to be either the leading amount of sacks recorded in all of Kentucky High School football in 2018 or, certainly, towards the top. Logan also recovered a fumble. Not bad for a kid every team on the schedule noted it could afford to let beat them. We didn’t put Logan on the team because of the University of Kentucky, Rivals, or any other evaluator looking for SEC caliber talent. He’s on the KPGFootball team because he is that good of a player of the game. If he were 5-8 and weighed 135 pounds and recruited by no-one, he would have made this team with his production.

Well, that is the defense of our selections for the sophomore defensive line representing Kentucky’s class of 2021. KPGFootball is quite sure that, while these may not be the best defensive linemen in the 2021 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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