There’s a lot of NCAA Division I talent on the defensive side of the ball this year, headlined by Blackman’s Adonis Otey.
Not surprisingly, those players dominate our Preseason Defensive Player of the Year rankings in Rutherford County.
You’ll probably see all these players again at the major college level, but this fall, enjoy them in your back yard while you can.
5. Jarek Campbell
Riverdale, Sr., defensive back, 6-0, 185
We list the Louisville commitment as a defensive back, because coach Will Kriesky plans to use his versatile defender at cornerback and safety. If a team has a pass-catching star, Campbell will likely cover him. If the Warriors’ opponent is more run-heavy, Riverdale will put him in the box and use him as a safety for run support. Campbell also has some skills that make him dangerous with the ball in his hands as a receiver and a punt returner. Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect and the No. 19 player in this year’s senior class. He also had an offer from Tennessee.
4. Woodi Washington
Oakland, Jr., safety, 6-0, 165
Oakland’s starting free safety is equally comfortable chasing receivers, where his good vision, physical ability and ball skills make him a guy you don’t want to throw on, or decking them, as he’s not afraid to hit. Rivals ranks Washington as a four-star recruit, the No. 10 player in Tennessee in the Class of 2019, and the No. 245 player nationally for his class.
3. Joseph Anderson
Siegel, Jr. defensive tackle, 6-4, 265
Anderson showed rare qualities as a sophomore in 2016. He’s big enough to play in the middle, yet athletic enough to rush the passer and even catch balls at tight end. Rivals ranks Anderson as a four-star recruit, the third-best player in Tennessee in the 2019 class, and the No. 127 player nationally for said class. Anderson has offers from a bunch of Southeastern Conference schools as well as national powerhouses like Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Notre Dame.
2. D’Andre Litaker
Riverdale, Sr., defensive tackle, 6-3, 285
Litaker is a tall, stocky defensive lineman who is a disruptive force due to his excellent lateral movement and pursuit skills, and can hit like a sledgehammer when he arrives. Unfortunately, fans weren’t able to see those skills last year, since Litaker was hurt early in Riverdale’s first game. Rivals ranks Litaker the No. 5 player in the Class of 2018, and 180th nationally.
Blackman, Jr., cornerback, 6-1, 170
Otey’s a physical junior who uses excellent closing and ball skills to blanket receivers. Blessed with quick feet and change-of-direction skills, he’ll also line up as a receiver across from Trey Knox on the Blackman offense. Rivals ranks Otey the No. 2 junior in Tennessee (behind Knox) and the 72nd-best player in the country in his class.