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…


Honorable Mention

Kaden Rice (Morgantown) 2019

Griffin Adkins (Cabell Midland) 2019

Josh Kay (Ripley) 2019



#5 Kerion Martin

Kerion M

School: Capital

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’2/195

Martin has a significant frame to work with and great football instincts.  Also being a great receiver, he has the ability to get takeaways defensively.  He will be looked to as the Cougars try to improve their secondary from last year.  He has all the tools to make that happen- speed, length, and solid tackling.  A potential breakout star in 2018.



#4 Carlito Carter

Carlito Carter

School: Cabell Midland

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’11/170

A former Black Eagle, Carter had plenty of glimpses of lockdown ability.  He plays lengthier than what he is and has about enough speed to cover anyone in the state.  His run support is spotty but definitely better than most.  Carter’s new role in 2018 could have him shining in a stacked Scarlet Knight secondary and more freedom to make big plays.



#3 Teddy Marshall


School: Martinsburg

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’1/170

Marshall takes on the underclassman role of a current dynasty.  He’s a two-way star and will be looked to even more in 2018.  He has awesome hip movement and enough grit to force an edge when needed.  Marshall goes against top competition early and often and his ceiling is very high.  Combine all this with excellent coaching a tried-and-true defensive scheme and you get a stellar player.



#2 N’iyjere Smith


School: Hedgesville

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’10/180

Smith is the most explosive defensive back on our list. He’s tightly built and has pretty good athleticism.  He translates all of it though into very intense play which usually wears down his opponents.  Smith could use some technical work but no one can deny his big hit ability.  An underrated playmaker in the panhandle, Smith looks to help cement Hedgesville as an annual playoff contender.



#1 Grant Harman

Photo Credits: The Journal

School: Martinsburg

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’11/185

Harman is one of the most decorated players returning in 2018 with two rings and two 1st-Team bids.  He was integral in a dominating Bulldog defense as he has a pure knack for ball hunting at the safety position.  If he isn’t closing on passes, he is also a hard nosed run stopper that plays with great leverages.  His responsbilities will multiply this season with so many new faces, but if anyone can handle it- it’s him.



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 defensive backs in AA/A!  Let us know who should be in there!


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