Top 5 AAA Defensive Linemen in WV for 2021

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*NOTE: To help spread the love, players will be listed at only one position. So some players who might qualify as a Big Board caliber player here will be ranked at another position. The scout sheet we send to colleges has all players and all their positions. Some players have been adjusted to another position due to scheming and likelihood of change in college. Relevant to this list includes: St. Alban’s Elijah Edge, Huntington’s Donovan Garrett, and Greenbrier East’s Garrett Bennett.

Honorable Mention

46 – Christian Slack (Martinsburg) 2022

48 – Nate Erby (Capital) 2023

48 – Jacob Stewart (Wheeling Park) 2022

TIE – 5. Logan Fischer

Fischer stood out on a Cabell Midland team that lost no games in 2020. At 6’3 and over 200 pounds, he has premium size for a AAA end. He already possesses some noticeable talent for acceleration and aggression. The Scarlet Knight coaching staff has produced some elite defensive linemen in the last decade and Fischer shows the same excellent technique and discipline. He checks many boxes and should have plenty of offers by next February.

TIE – 5. James Scott

Scott has been an overlooked workhorse for the Highlanders for two seasons now. Going into his senior year, he should be getting more attention from opposing playcallers. A tad undersized for the next level, he makes up for it with some solid burst, agility, and flexibility. At the tackle position, he is a constant disruptor for interior runs and seems to hold his responsibility well- a key for inside players. Scott will be a notable lineman for 2021.

4. Anthony Casto

Casto is one of the largest defenders in West Virginia. He is potentially the strongest too. For the past two seasons he has been a force at the defensive tackle position for George Washington. At his size he is quite agile and explosive. Of course, he needs to continue making gains in flexibility and speed but the foundation of his size and ability to own gaps is very valuable to the next level. Colleges will want him based off those rare traits.

3. Jayson Barnett

Barnett has continued being a nuisance to West Virginia offensive lines. Slightly undersized, he completely overcomes this with probably the best acceleration in AAA. With speed and agility, he needs constant attention by interior guards and centers to avoid him shooting gaps and blowing up plays. He does face difficulty with bigger linemen who have been schemed into managing his athleticism. Still, he is an exciting prospect and only a rising junior.

2. Mari Lawton

Lawton has the highest ceiling of any defensive lineman in the state. Only a rising junior, he already stands over 6’4 and has used the weightroom to get up around 240 pounds. He seems to have kept his athleticism and range with this growth. His film shows a natural talent for pass rushing- using proper leverages and aggression. Lawton also seems to be a disciplined run defender as well. He has already garnered several Division I scholarships and we expect him to make a huge jump in production as a junior.

1. Nemo Roberts

Roberts takes over as the #1 defensive lineman and with good reason. Though he doesn’t have the typical height of a big-time linemen, he does have legitimate athleticism. No other trench player in the state has his blend of strength, burst, and leverage. At the nose or tackle positions, he continuously fires off into the opposition disrupting runs and getting to the quarterback. He is also arguably one of the best offensive lineman in the state as well. Roberts is going to be overlooked by many because of his height but whatever school snags him will get an athletic gem.

Keep An Eye Out

AAA has a particularly deep class or two of D-line prospects. Parkersburg’s Austin Fleming (2023) was impressive as a sophomore and should use his natural size to make a huge jump in 2021. Bridgeport’s Kamar Summers (2023) will be a strong interior player and will be well-known by the end of the season. St. Alban’s Kam Wells (2022) and Cabell Midland’s Justice Hutchinson (2022) are two well-sized defensive ends that have very attractive size and potential. Finally, one of the biggest sleepers to watch in the next two season is Riverside’s Braydin Ward (2023). He is tall, a bit lanky, and has some elite speed and motor; with proper development he could become big time.

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