Commentary

Friday Five: June 19

Updated: June 19, 2009, 10:36 AM ET
By Mike Loveday | ESPNRISE.com

We are bringing back an old favorite. Starting this Friday, MDVarsity.com will post a new Friday Five each week until the start of the 2009 high school football season.

Each Friday we will highlight five athletes who are expected to be contributors to their respective football teams this fall.

[+] EnlargeBobby Partilla
Courtesy Mike LovedayBobby Partilla and the Arundel defense made a key fourth-quarter stop to save the victory.
Bobby Partilla, LB, Arundel -- Arundel's offense gets most of the attention, but its defense is not without star power. The 6-foot, 215-pound Partilla has been a starter the past two seasons for the Wildcats and is expected to start his senior season.

"He's been a leader for the last three years," Arundel coach Chuck Markiewicz said. "He's become more vocal -- he knows the defense. It's always nice to have someone on the field that knows as much as the coach. He knows all the checks and all the tendencies."

Partilla will be one of five linebackers returning for Arundel this season. Last year, the junior recorded 113 tackles and two sacks.

Mike Pitz, OL/DL, Hereford -- At 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds, Pitz plays the offensive line for the Bulls and is a starting attacker on the lacrosse team.

Hereford's entire defensive line last season was comprised of seniors, forcing coach Steve Turnbaugh to utilize Pitz on the defensive line, as well, for his senior season.

"He works hard in the weight room and he'll do that extra [to help the team]," Turnbaugh said. "He's up to the challenge. His attitude is that 'I'll go both ways -- I'm ready for it.'"

Pitz was named to the 2009 Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 team, which highlights some of the best rising seniors in the state. Turnbaugh said Football Championship Series schools have expressed interest in Pitz.

Darren Black, OL, C.H. Flowers -- The 6-foot-1, 275-pound Black learned how to play better and be a leader from Syracuse recruit Michael Kay, who was a senior when Black started as a sophomore.

[+] EnlargeDarren Black
Courtesy Mike Loveday Black started on the offensive line as a sophomore.
"He took me under his wing. He showed the role and the steps I needed to take," Black said of Kay's influence. "So when he left I took on his responsibilities -- make the line do what they needed to do; make sure the offense was a unit."

Black plans to visit Old Dominion in June, but the self-aware junior knows he has room to improve and knows how to reach his goal.

"Do I see myself as a D1? Not at this moment. I think I still have a lot of growing and maturing to do over my senior year. But sure enough I think I will be one by the end of my senior season. I think I can grow into one," Black said. "I'm not where I want to be at yet. I am one of the best players at my position, but I'm not the best yet. When I'm the best and dominate at my position then I can say I'm D1."

Conor Bruns, QB, Loyola -- Loyola's Conor Bruns never expected to be the Dons' starting quarterback during his junior season. That position was filled with three-year starter and University of Connecticut recruit Leon Kinnard last year.

But a leg injury to Kinnard toward the end of the season thrust Bruns into the starter's role for one of the Dons' most important games of the season.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns against Gilman in his first varsity start for Loyola.

A transfer from South High School (Fargo, N.D.), Bruns proved to head coach Brian Abbott that the season would not be lost with Kinnard's season-ending leg injury.

"He has the strongest arm I've seen on a high school kid," Abbott said of Bruns in an earlier interview. "He's got a little zip to his pass."

J.D. Hook, RB/DB, Allegany -- The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Hook led the Campers in rushing last season with 1,036 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Hook earned first team all-area honors and was named Small School All-State honorable mention as a running back.

Click HERE for a complete list of players profiled. Interested in having your profile on ESPNRISE/MDVarsity.com? Click here to fill out the Player Prospect Form and e-mail it to Mike Loveday. All information on the form will be verified through coaches. We will be profiling athletes throughout the winter and spring.

Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com