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…
Keenan Smoot (Hedgesville) 2020
RJ Barrett (Martinsburg) 2019
Brocton Blair (Huntington) 2020
#5 JT Cooper
HT/WT: 6’1 / 225 lbs
Cooper has been the centerpiece in one of Hurricane’s best runs in school history defensively. Last year he had fellow standouts to attack offenses with but those guys are gone which leaves him as the sole man. Cooper has a good downhill presence and rarely misses tackles. He has obvious X and O control over his squadron which is paramount to a linebacker’s success. He heads into 2018 with talent, hard work, and experience.
#4 Jestohn Moore
HT/WT: 6’2 / 195 lbs
Moore drops on our list as the most improved and most college ready. Moore’s lanky build gives him incredible leverage and torque off the edge. He is explosive with his movements and offensive lineman struggle mightily handling him off the edge. His consistency and space play still need improving, but he easily makes up for those with firework plays on defense.
#3 Breece Hoff
HT/WT: 6’0 / 180 lbs
Hoff is without a doubt the fastest linebacker on this list. His straight-line speed is phenomenal. He has a good instinct on pressuring the quarterback and getting the angle right to ensure the play. Hoff has been moved around in positions due to his variability. Even though he had a stellar junior year, his specificity on pass rushing drops him behind two all-around backers. Regardless, expect big things.
#2 Drew Joseph
School: South Charleston
HT/WT: 5’9 / 185 lbs
Joseph has the most baffling stat-line of anyone we’ve seen yet. Nearing 200 tackles in back-to-back seasons- even if accused of stretching stats, that’s still a crazy amount if you deduct 50. He gets these numbers by being everywhere. Joseph goes sideline to sideline and always with a purpose. He has great breakdown, instinct, and knows how/when to pierce an offensive line. His biggest catch is he is very undersized. For now, his heart and speed can allow him to be a top West Virginia linebacker.
#1 Jermain Snodgrass
School: Wheeling Park
HT/WT: 5’10 / 215 lbs
Snodgrass probably isn’t even on many people’s list let alone numero uno. But we don’t play politics here, and this kid can play. He isn’t greatly sized but his play speaks for itself. He has the best see-and-go mentality of any linebacker we have watched. Snodgrass plays at a higher pace and is constantly making big hits and dicing up offenses. He is a prime mix of talent, instinct, athleticism, and attitude. Keep an eye out, folks.
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 AA/A! Let us know who should be in there!