2022 All-State Defense a veritable ‘Hit Parade’ of playmakers
These are the best defenders across Kentucky in the estimation of this particular magazine. Some of these guys are among the more coveted and recruited players in the commonwealth and some of them are headed for the small college ranks where it is expected they will make almost immediate impacts. All of these guys here are tremendous talents and players.Fletcher W. Long, Chief of the Scouting Division, KPGFootball
Defensive Player of the Year: Tommy Ziesmer, Boyle County
The Line of Scrimmage:
DE/DT: Bryce “The Predator” Hoskins, Breathitt. This next guy is an intriguing player who, like Harkless, Conyer, and Carter (below), contributed in ways the stat sheet doesn’t always adequately record. Hoskins, at 6’6,” 280-pounds, played inside at NG for his defense this past fall because that is where the Bobcats most needed him. Hoskins projects as a TE/OT hybrid, or any of the DL posts, at the next level. There will be a “next level” for him too. Hoskins appears headed to UPike (no inside info, just an educated guess), but has many other programs, including the Georgetown Tigers, putting on the full-press. What makes Hoskins so darned-interesting is the fact he played TE on offense and while so deployed was a brutal enforcer out on the edge in the power run game but was also nimble enough to be targeted in the passing game where he caught several TD’s and drive continuing aerials over his career in blue. His best football is still ahead of him and he is darn good now. Hoskins has one of the better drop steps down the baseline and to the rack in HS basketball among mountain basketball prospects where Hoskins is a deft finisher around the rim. Translation…excellent hands, excellent feet = excellent football player; it’s an elementary formula.
DE: Saadiq Clements, Henderson County. Clements was the best pass rusher in Kentucky this year. He projects as a stand-up, pass-rushing specialist in college or even a guy who could slide inside and put his hand in the dirt as an every down defensive lineman. The 6’5,” 260-pound Clements had 62-tackles, 10.5-TFL’s, and 21-QB sacks in ’22. Clements, who is rated a 3-star prospect by 247Sports.com, and committed to Louisville, also forced three (3) fumbles.
DE: Tommy Ziesmer, Boyle County. Ziesmer is a 3-star edge guy, according to 247Sports.com. Rivals.com has him rated a 5.7, 3-star, and the commonwealth’s fifth (5th) most highly coveted prospect. The 6’3,” 235-pound, strong side DE is already enrolled at UK and plans on going through spring practice with the team. Ziesmer, in helping lead Boyle to its third straight, 4A title, registered 20-TFL’s and 9-QB sacks among his 83-total stops. Zeismer forced three (3) fumbles to go along with his other prodigious tackle statistics.
NG/DT: Jamarrion Harkless, Frederick Douglass. This 6’4,” 290-pounder is committed to Auburn. Harkless, the focal point of every opponent’s scouting report this season and for good reason, registered 25-tackles, 6.5-TFL’s, and 2-QB sacks. If high schools registered backfield disruption and QB pressures among the stats they do annotate, his statistical outlay would be far more impressive.
DT/DE: Layton “Drew” Davis, Paducah Tilghman. This season, in spite of being the focus of every opponent’s scouting report (much like Harkless), Davis had 63-tackles, 12-TFL’s, 5-QB sacks, and a forced fumble (FF). Remember, this guy was aligned inside and drew every conceivable double (and even triple) team the opposing OC could throw at him. We believe Davis will commit to Campbellsville. Just a hunch. Regardless, he will be a star at the next level just like he was in high school.
DE/DT: Micah Carter, St. Xavier. Carter led St. Xavier’s defense this year with 56-stops. He also had 7-TFL’s and 4-QB sacks. Carter, a 6’5,” 260-pound defensive lineman is a 3-star prospect on 247Sports.com and has been somewhat of an all over the place prospect as far as rumored commitment. Carter was “crystal balled” to UK and was formerly committed to both Purdue and UL. Carter professes he is now headed to Lexington.
The Second Level;
LB: Oscar “JT” Adams, Paducah Tilghman. Adams led the Blue Tornado defense with 85-tackles, 2-TFL’s and a sack from his inside LB slot. He was also credited with a INT he returned 24-yards while forcing and recovering a fumble.
LB: Kory Combs, Breathitt High. Combs comes from one of the “first families of mountain football.” He had 109-tackles this year, as only a sophomore, with 7-TFL’s and a sack. Combs forced 3-fumbles and recovered one. Get this…he played FB/RB on offense and gained 340-yards, over 59-carries, scoring 11-rushing TD’s in addition to what he contributed on defense. He also scored a pair of TD’s receiving. The kid’s just a football player, about what one would expect from a “Combs,” if you know anything about mountain football.
LB: Vince Carrico, Owensboro Catholic. Carrico had 183-tackles, 15-TFL’s, half a sack. and an INT. Like Combs, Carrico was a two-way guy and gained 344-yards rushing on 71-carries scoring four (4) rushing TD’s. Carrico caught 16-passes, three of which crossed the goal-line.
LB: Lofton Howard, Greenwood, Howard had 106-tackles, 16-TFL’s and 7-QB sacks this past year while also forcing a fumble. Howard picked a pair of passes and returned one of them all the way for a “pick-six” while accumulating 50-Interception Return Net Yards.
Safety: Ty Bryant, Frederick Douglass. Bryant is a 6’0,” 180-pound hit-machine headed to play for the Kentucky Wildcats. Bryant had 22-tackles, 3-TFL’s, and half a sack while picking a pair of passes and forcing a fumble for the reputed “best defense” in Kentucky High School football this past Fall.
Corner: Carson Craycraft, Beechwood. Carson intercepted 8-passes this year returning them 139-Interception Return Net Yards while scoring a “pick-six” on two of the eight. Craycaft was also credited with a QB-sack.
Corner: Christian Conyer, South Warren. Conyer is a 6’1.5,” 170-pound corner who rivals.com has as the top prospect in Kentucky and a 4-star nationally rated player. Conyer verbally committed to Tennessee on July 3, 2022 but there are rumblings he may be wavering and considering playing for UK. Conyer registered 12-tackles and only a single interception this year but that doesn’t really “tell the tale” when it comes to evaluating a corner. He routinely draws the best receiver the opposing team has and routinely takes that guy completely out of the game. Go back to last year’s 5A championship game and run video of him checking UK’s Dane Key and tell me he isn’t an all-stater. For that matter, ask Key and see what he tells you.
Safety: Daisjaun Mercer, Hopkinsville. You might write this down…there may not be a better athlete than Mercer playing high school football anywhere in Kentucky. Mercer scored five (5)-TD’s rushing, 9-TD’s receiving, caught 37-passes for 766-yards and we haven’t even discussed what he brings defensively. Mercer had 37-tackles, 4-INT’s for 112-Interception Return Net Yards with a pick-six. Mercer leaves Hoptown its all-time interceptions leader and has committed to Miami of Ohio. There have been a few pretty dad-burn good DB’s running around Hoptown’s locker room in the past. Ever heard of Curtis Pulley, Josh Catlett, Don Parker, or Brian Dodd? Point is, being the leading all-time picks leader at Hoptown is significant.
Punter: Cole Thompson, Boyd County High. Thompson is a 5-star rated punter by Prokicker.com. He had a long punt this season of 55-yards and averaged over 4-seconds of hang-time per effort. He is a combo P/PK and averaged 61.5-yards per kickoff with an average hang time of 3.4775 seconds on kicks. This kid is the real deal! Thompson, a 6’0,” 175-pounder, runs the 40 in 4.9, shuttles in 4.7, has a 8’11,” broad jump. He’s an athlete who could have made this team as a PK too, but we selected him to be our punter.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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