Dream team: First-team defense
Starting Monday, Aug. 17, MDVarsity.com will unveil its version of the Maryland high school football dream team. The term "dream team" was first used to describe the 1992 U.S. men's Olympic Basketball team, which consisted of, among others, Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas and Charles Barkley. Our dream team consists of 90 of the best players in the state, selected after months of scouting, talking to coaches and poring over recruiting lists.
The players are chosen in part because of their college recruiting stature, but also because of their impact on their teams. The team consists of 15 offensive and 15 defensive players and are chosen by Mike Loveday and Sheldon Shealer.
On Monday, the first, second and third offensive dream teams were released; today the defense gets its time to shine.
Vincent Croce, Good Counsel
Croce is only a junior, but the 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive tackle is rapidly becoming a high-profile national prospect. Croce already holds verbal offers from Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, West Virginia and Wisconsin and is getting heavy interest from Florida. Croce is expected to have a breakout junior season.
Anthony Ferguson, Gilman
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle committed to Iowa on May 31 and held offers from Penn State, Virginia and Duke. The all-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) performer is one of two Gilman defensive players on the dream team this year.
Forrest Mason, Frederick
With Ego Ferguson transferring to Hargrave Military Academy, Mason was expected to become the defensive focus for St. John's Catholic Prep. However, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound defensive end transfered to Frederick high school for his senior season. As a junior at St. John's Catholic Prep, Mason recorded 86 tackles and 13 sacks, earning small school all-state honorable mention. Mason holds offers from Connecticut, East Carolina and Towson.
Rahsaan Moore, Wise
Wise head coach DaLawn Parrish said in a previous interview that Moore was the best football player on the Pumas. A bold statement, considering University of Maryland commit Titus Till gets most of the ink for Wise. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Moore holds offers from New Mexico, James Madison, Richmond, Delaware State, Liberty and Towson.
Nick Forbes, Thomas Johnson
Forbes has the potential to be the best player in Maryland. The senior is 6-foot-1, 225 pounds and committed to California. His combination of strength and speed is impressive. He runs a 4.6 40-yard dash, has a 34-inch vertical and can squat 445 pounds. A two-way starter since his sophomore season, Forbes has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the past two years. On defense, Forbes recorded 96 tackles and four sacks last season and 99 tackles and 10 sacks as a sophomore. The three-year starter held more than 15 offers at the time of his commitment.
Troy Gloster, Good Counsel
Good Counsel is quietly becoming the high school version of Linebacker U. One year after Jelani Jenkins brought every major college to Olney, Md., Gloster is receiving interest from colleges all over the country. Currently holding more than 10 offers from schools such as Iowa, Louisville, Stanford, Michigan State and Virginia, Gloster has his pick of destinations. As a junior, the 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker recorded 60 tackles and nine sacks last season.
Jordan Haden, Friendly
The Haden name has become synonymous with quality football in Maryland. Jordan's older brothers are Joe (Florida) and Josh (Boston College), both of whom were past all-state players. Jordan earned big school all-state honorable mention last year after recording 62 tackles and three interceptions. The 6-foot, 200-pound senior plays linebacker and safety for the Patriots, but will likely play safety for his future college -- Florida.
Jim Poggi, Gilman
Poggi earned Big School All-State honorable mention after recording 131 tackles and nine sacks last season. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior committed to Iowa on April 26 and is a major reason (along with teammate Anthony Ferguson) Gilman has high expectations this season. At the time of his commitment, Poggi held more than 10 offers.
Mike Coley, DeMatha
Coley was a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference second-team defensive back last season and is one of several Stags defensive backs receiving college interest (Lorenzo Waters and Jeff Knox are two others). The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior holds more than 10 offers, including Boston College, California, Kansas State, Maryland and Virginia Tech. As a junior last season, Coley recorded four interceptions.
Kyle Fuller, Mount St. Joseph
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Fuller is committed to Virginia Tech and held more than five offers at the time of his commitment. The senior is expected to anchor the Gaels defensive backfield, but could add the job of quarterback to his duties this season.
Josh Furman, Old Mill
As a junior last year, Furman recorded 87 tackles and eight sacks on defense and rushed for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns on offense. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior was a big school all-state second team selection last year and holds more than 20 offers. Oklahoma, Purdue Michigan, Illinois and Maryland have all made offers to Furman, who has been clocked running a 4.36 40-yard dash.
Frank Tamakloe, Good Counsel
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound safety may have split time in the Falcons' secondary last year, but in his time on the field, he showed colleges plenty of ability. The senior committed to Wisconsin on June 22 and held offers from Iowa, Louisville, NC State and Wake Forest, among others. Tamakloe, along with Louis Young, E.J. Scott and Garrett Schmidt, is expected to give Good Counsel an intimidating set of defensive backs this season.
Titus Till, Wise
Till recorded 65 tackles last season while helping the Pumas to their first-ever playoff berth and an appearance in the Class 4A state semifinals. Till was such an impressive athlete that Army made him an offer during his sophomore season, thinking he was a junior. Maryland made an offer during his junior season, and the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Till is committed to the Terrapins. Till was named to the big school all-state honorable mention team last year.
Louis Young, Good Counsel
The 6-foot, 190-pound Young is one of the most highly sought-after cornerbacks in the nation. The senior holds more than 20 offers and recently reopened his recruiting after having committed to Stanford during his junior year. Young got national exposure last year on ESPN2 against DeMatha when he caught a touchdown reception in the Falcons' win over the Stags. A receiver and defensive back, Young recorded 33 tackles and five interceptions on defense and had 400 receiving yards and a 22.2-yards-per-catch average on offense.
Alex Eckard, Linganore
Eckard scored a Maryland record 93 points last season, making 7 of 10 field goals and kicking 72 extra points. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior has been a four-year starter for the Lancers, making 25 extra points and six field goals as a freshman, followed by 43 extra points and three fields goals as a sophomore. A 4.0 student with a strong leg, Eckard is likely to get a spot on a college roster.
ESPNRise encourages comments from its users. Leave a comment below. Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com.
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