To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended. The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined). Not on the list? Good thing it’s not even preseason yet. Prove us right or prove us wrong.
Without further ado…
Nick Vance (Winfield) 2020
Jeremiah Johnston (Richwood) 2020
Ethan Payne (Poca) 2021
#5 Jordan Dempsey
HT/WT: 5’10 / 170 lbs
Dempsey rolls into his senior year with two stat-packed seasons under his belt. 2017 had him experience the sole duty of being the offensive firepower. He delivered many times with electric plays shooting down the field. His ability to play multiple positions makes him dynamic and the heart and soul of the Pirates. His downside is his smaller frame has him get beat up very fast especially with the amount of touches he receives.
#4 Connor White
HT/WT: 5’8 / 170 lbs
White drops onto our list as the smallest but potentially the fastest. Overlooking his height and weight, White undoubtedly knows how to hit a hole without hesitation. His acceleration is top notch, and his foot speed outclasses 9/10 defenders he goes against in the open field. He spent much of the 2017 season sidelined with an injury but made much noise when he could. Scott partners him with fellow all-state runningback Carson McComas for a very dynamic duo.
#3 Mark Rucker
School: Tyler Consolidated
HT/WT: 6’0 / 170 lbs
Rucker could be one of the better kept secrets within the state. Those who have played him in Single A are very much familiar with the name. As a sophomore, Rucker was a one-man show out of Sistersville. There might not be a position on offense he can’t excel at. His best trait is his catch and go whether from the slot or backfield. He has legit 4.5 speed and superb length. Expect big things.
#2 Juice Edwards
HT/WT: 5’10 / 185 lbs
As a duo of original names depart, one more rises in its absence. Behind a fantastic line, Edwards is a poised for a very strong senior season. He has size, strength, and speed. Judging from his previous seasons, he runs with an attitude as well. Edwards has the ability to plant and crash a gap for a tough several yards or even perhaps slip away and hit a homerun. The Beaver run game is not going anywhere.
#1 Donovan Kirby
HT/WT: 5’11 / 212 lbs
Kirby brings a mix between explosiveness and pure power. Many can argue that they play a weak schedule, but we don’t see many others hurdling defensive backs and stiff arming lineman into the dirt. Rushing for near 2,500 yards- what else could he do? He has a next level frame and decent speed. Kirby has the ability to take the rock 30+ times a game for every game in the season. Outsider rumors say there is a potential transfer to AA Weir in the works but take that with a grain of salt.
Who did we miss? Let us know! We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids! Our next Feature Five Friday will take on the top returning linebackers in AAA! Let us know who should be in there!