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…
Nate Kowalski (Fairmont Senior) 2020
Doug Morral (Petersburg) 2019
Ben Kee (Herbert Hoover) 2020
#5 Dalton Pollock
HT/WT: 6’1 / 220 lbs
Pollock comes onto the list as probably the lesser known of everyone else here. Panhandle players sometime struggle gaining attention but Pollock caught ours. He’s a very good sized player that has a solid engine. Being a good runningback as well, Pollock has great hit power and quick enough speed to cover the field sideline to sideline. His performance will dictate immediately if Frankfort can get out of the average level of AA.
#4 Adam Murray
School: Wheeling Central
HT/WT: 6’1 / 225 lbs
Many will critique us for having the reigning Huff Award winner at number four, but we try to not let outside things influence our opinion. Saying this, Murray is only a rising junior and has plenty of time to make us eat our words. He is a strong linebacker that can overpower (outsize in most cases) many lineman he faces. His motor is evident with almost 200 tackles. His downhill movement is what needs developed, and we guarantee it will.
#3 Luke Jackson
HT/WT: 5’10 / 220 lbs
Jackson was evaluated high months ago when his hard-hitting film surfaced. He is typical stocky middle linebacker that can deliver some incredible shots. His speed is good enough to get the job done and his strength is very obvious. A big fault is his knockout blows can have him out of control at time. Ravenswood is a silent favorite for a good season in 2018 and Jackson is a reason for it.
#2 Arnold Martin
HT/WT: 6’0 / 225 lbs
The more this offseason goes the more we truly understand that the Beavers had many other players not named Mookie or Truck. Martin was a tackling machine for Bluefield last season. He’s especially good at forcing the run game to go side-to-side with proper angling and finishing. Martin could polish up several areas of his game but is definitely an outstanding linebacker coming back this year.
#1 Mike Bartram
HT/WT: 6’0 / 215 lbs
Bartram is one of the most fun players to see play. We believe linebacker isn’t just a position but also an attitude and Bartram has that. He plays much more vicious and mean than those he faces. Mix that in with his solid athleticism and you have a high-caliber linebacker. Small mistakes plague his game here and there but overall a very consistent and good linebacker. Once again, a big reason for his team’s early praise.
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 wide receivers in AAA! Let us know who should be in there!