A group that trails only OL for best depth is the LB talent on display at Camp Randal Stadium for the 2022 WIAA State Championship games. The LB group had talent with FBS offers down to seniors with very little…
A group that trails only OL for best depth is the LB talent on display at Camp Randal Stadium for the 2022 WIAA State Championship games. The LB group had talent with FBS offers down to seniors with very little attention that deserve a look because of what they showed on the big stage and the entire season. I have 10 student athletes that we will focus on today. We will look at what I took away from their performances, provide the stats, and any other relevant information. Let’s get started!
Stats: 10 Tackles, 1 TFL
The 6’1″ 225 lbs senior ILB led the charge on defense as Kimberly came away with the D1 State Championship. His instincts were on display Championship night. He reacted quickly to blocking schemes and play flow. He diagnosed plays quickly and worked to get proper leverage. Ethan proved to be stout against the dominant run game/OL of Mukwonago. We got a great look at his ability to take on blocks and shed them without having to give up ground. The stud LB used his hands well to shed those blocks. Lastly, Doucette is one of the state’s most reliable tacklers. He piled up 135 tackles on the season. He strikes his opponent quickly and with force. When Doucette makes contact the forward progression ends there. The LB is still looking for his next level home. Don’t miss out on the LB.
Stats: 8 Tackles, 1 TFL
The 6’1″ 230 lbs aligned all over the defense throughout his HS career. He spent a lot of this season on the edge for Catholic Memorial. There we got a good glimpse into what has earned him FBS offers and interest. Keith has that grown man strength that stands out from the rest of the crowd. He is able to negate his opponent’s strength with force on the edge. He can stack blockers on the edge and force RBs back inside. That strength is the primary tool behind Williams’ pass rush success. He controls linemen with heavy hands and has the strength to get them off balance. Keith also uses that strength to shed blocks. Once he sheds, the LB has the range to and high effort to chase down ball carriers and QBs. Keith is our top uncommitted senior LB.
Stats: 8 Tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 Sack, 1 FR
We have recently seen multiple of these “new age” LBs getting the attention of the FBS level. The 6’1″ 205 lbs junior LB looks like the next one. While he doesn’t have that traditional size, Jonathan has special athleticism for the ILB position. Jonathan has the best range of any LB in this article, and some of the best in the state. He can play far outside his immediate area. He can get to the edge of the field, he read and reacts quickly, and he can play in space with ease. That athleticism allows the junior to make the unusual plays that enable his team tow in. We saw him chase down plays deep down field that otherwise would have been a score. Jonathan uses his short area quickness and agility to stop the inside run. Linemen have a hard time getting squared up on him to block him allowing Jonathan an easier path to shedding the block and making the stop. Ksobiech is going to be a heavily pursued LB over the next year. Don’t miss out on him.
Stats: 7 Tackles, 1 TFL
Damien has long been one of the athletes I pound the table for. He is one of the best three down LBs in the state. He can rush the passer using his length to magnify solid hand usage. He has the body control and range to be able to drop into coverage and get to his entire zone with ease. What we got to see in the State Championship was his stoutness against a dominant run game. Damien finishes off his three down versatility by showing that he can set a strong edge. He was able to take on blocks, maintain outside leverage, and keep ball carriers contained. More than that though, Damien was able to get off those edge blocks and drag down ball carriers. Lee has a hot motor as well. Not only is he a dominant OLB, he also played TE on offense where he was used primarily as a blocker. Lee once again proved why he is one of the best hidden gems in WI. I believe he holds one D2 offer. That is far too little interest for his talent level.
Stats: 5 Tackles, 1 TFL
St. Thomas has a very athletic OLB coming to town next fall. The 6’2″ 200 lbs athlete is poised to make an impact early on third downs. Connor is an impact player on passing downs. He can fly off the edge with his acceleration and 4.59 40 speed. Kimberly aligned him wide on the edge giving him a straight path to the QB. A path that linemen couldn’t get to before he made it by them. Schiessl can also be an athlete that drops into coverage. That athleticism and body control will allow him to play a zone. He will be able to get good depth on his drops, and can run with RBs and TEs. He will be a nice chess piece to matchup with those type of offensive weapons as he develops that part of his game at the net level. I’m excited for him at the next level.
Stats: 5 Tackles
Matt had a breakout junior campaign that culminated with a solid Championship performance. The 6′ 195 lbs junior competes and has a high motor on the field. He is relentless in his pursuit and goes full speed until the whistle every snap. Matt also proved he could navigate the trash in the trenches and still be productive. He was able to play through contact from linemen and stay on his path to the ball carrier. Miklosy also was able to get pressure on the QB with well timed blitzes and his burst. Despite being a junior, I believe Matt is 16 years old still, so we could still see him continue to grow. We haven’t seen this kid’s full potential yet. Keep tabs on him.
Stats: 8 Tackles, 1 TFL
Gavin had himself a solid final game of his HS career. The 5’11” 195 lbs senior plays OLB, and he aligns on the edge and off the ball. While on the edge, Gavin has solid short area acceleration to burst off the edge to get to the OL heels. He also has good long speed allowing him to chase down plays in the backfield. We saw that happen multiple times in the Championship game. Gavin is a productive tackler as well. He strikes and wraps up his opponent, and drags them down on teh spot. Adams holds multiple D3 offers including UW- Eau Claire, and UW- Oshkosh.
Stats: 4 Tackles, 1 PBU
An athlete who I didn’t know about coming into the day was the 6’5″ 220 lbs junior OLB. I quickly had to make myself aware of the impressive athlete. The stat line doesn’t tell the whole story for this one. Remington was flying around off the edge all day long. Stratford was very heavy run, and Austin attacked that with an array of efforts. Austin was able to use his speed to get penetration up field, then rip around the OL to create disruption. Austin also was able to use his length and strength to stack his man at the line of scrimmage. That length allowed him to get separation for shedding the block then making the stop. Remington looks like a hidden gem in the making. Make yourself well aware of the junior.
Stats: 10 Tackles, 1 TFL
The 6′ 215 lbs senior has been a key piece of the West De Pere defense on their way to the State Championship game. JJ continued his high impact right through the final game. He was flying around the field and getting to the football on a regular basis. I would have guessed he had more than the 10 tackles he was statted with. Joiner offers three down/ level of play. He can play at the line of scrimmage against the run. He can play through the trash at the second level thanks to his quick processing and short area agility. Lastly, the senior can play behind his initial alignment. While in zone, Joiner reads the QB well, feels guys entering his zone, and diagnoses screens quickly. Joiner holds a few D3 offers. Another hidden gem of the senior class.
Stats: 4 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FF
The senior LB finished his HS career with a strong performance and a State Championship ring. The 6′ 190 lbs LB is the leader of one of the most swarming defenses in the state. Stratford’s defense always gets 11 hats to the ball, and one of the first ones there is always Johnny Seitz. He processes what he sees so quickly, and without hesitation flies downhill aggressively. Despite being smaller than the prototypical LB, Seitz is a stout defender who is surprisingly effective at playing through a blocker. Johnny is also shifty in short areas making it hard for OL to get a square block on him. Lastly, the senior packs a punch at the tackle. That hit power led to his forced fumble. Seitz holds multiple D3 offers. He will definitely play at the next level.