Commentary

MDVarsity.com All-Decade Team

Originally Published: December 28, 2009
By Mike Loveday & Sheldon Shealer | ESPN RISE

2009 ends in just a few days, but before it does MDVarsity.com and ESPN RISE is taking a look back at some of the teams and players that made the past 10 years great.

We already took at look back at some of the Top Performances of the Decade and now we have compiled the 29 players we think are deserving of the title, Players of the Decade.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACKS

Billy Cosh
Mike Loveday/ESPNRISE.comBilly Cosh
Billy Cosh, Sr., Arundel, (2007-2009)
DETAILS: Cosh has a host of accolades over the past two seasons and he can add Offensive Player of the Year to the list. A repeat Consensus All-State selection, Cosh threw for 3,360 yards and 55 touchdowns this season. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Cosh was selected as the Washington Post Player of the Year and the Baltimore Sun's Co-Player of the year in 2009. The Kansas State commit finished his career with public school records for most passing yards in a career (7,433) and touchdowns (112).

Joe Haden, Friendly (2005-2006)

Joe Haden
AP Photo/Phil CoaleJoe Haden
DETAILS: The 2006 Offensive Player of the Year, Haden finished his high school career with the public school record for most passing yards in a season with 7,371 yards. Haden also tied the public school record for most career touchdowns with 80. As a senior, Haden led Friendly to a 37-18 victory over River Hill for the Class 3A state championship game. As a junior, Haden was a Washington Post All-Met Honorable Mention after throwing for 1,910 yards and 22 touchdowns. Haden was a national recruit and committed top play of Florida where he became the first true freshman to start at cornerback. To date, Haden has recorded more than 200 tackles and four interceptions. Considered the best defensive back in the country, Haden has been rumored to be leaving Florida after his junior year and enter the NFL Draft where he is expected to be a Top 10 selection.

RUNNING BACKS

Tavon Austin
Mike LovedayTavon Austin
Tavon Austin, Dunbar (2005-2008)
DETAILS: Austin was considered the most dynamic player in Maryland during his four-year varsity career. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Austin was named Offensive Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008 after rushing for more than 2,500 yards and 34 touchdowns in each of his junior and senior seasons. Austin finished his Dunbar career with a state record 7,460 rushing yards and 123 touchdowns. Not only is Austin the all-time leading rusher in Maryland, but he is the only player in history to have rushed for more than 6,000 yards. Austin was the Baltimore Sunıs three-time Offensive Player of the Year and led his Poets team to three straight Class 1A state championships. Austin committed to West Virginia after his senior season and saw significant playing time as a freshman.

Marcus Mason, Georgetown Prep (2000-2003)
DETAILS: Mason burst onto the national recruiting scene when he was just a sophomore at Georgetown Prep. The then 5-foot-9, 175-pound Mason rushed for 1,301 yards and 14 touchdowns for a Prep team that finished undefeated and helped the Little Hoyas to a No. 4 ranking in the Media State Poll. As a sophomore, Mason rushed for 2,119 yards and 26 touchdowns and by the time Mason completed his high school career he had grown into a 5-foot-10, 185-pound Illinois commitment who named the Washington Post Offensive Player of the Year. As a senior, Mason rushed for 1,535 yards and 29 touchdowns in seven games and became the state's all-time leading rusher with 5,790 yards. Mason spent two years at Illinois before transferring to Youngstown State in Ohio where he rushed for 2,739 yards on 478 carries and scoring 31 touchdowns in two years. Mason finished his senior season as the Penguins' single season rushing leader after rushing for 1,847 yards with 23 touchdowns. Mason is currently on the Washington Redskins roster.

Chris Todd & Ben Tate
US PresswireBen Tate (right)
Ben Tate, Stephen Decatur/Snow Hill (2003-2005)
DETAILS: Tate started his career at Stephen Decatur before transferring to Snow Hill for his final years of high school eligibilty. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound running back was a two-time Consensus All-State selection and was voted as the Offensive Player of the Year in 2005. Tate finished his career as Marylandıs all-time leading rusher, surpassing Mason and finishing with 5,920 yards. As a junior, Tate rushed for 2,879 yards which is still a state record for most yards in a single season. Tate committed to Auburn where he is completing his senior season. At Auburn, Tate is 14th on the Tigers all-time rushing list with 1,959 career yards.

LINEMEN

Joe Akers, Hereford (2002-2004)
DETAILS: Akers was a constant on the Bulls in the early 2000s, helping the team to three state final appearances during his four-year career, including back-to-back Class 2A titles in 2001 and 2002. Akers was the first three-time Consensus All-State players. He earned Baltimore Sun All-Met first-team honors during his final three seasons. Akers was a standout two-way player at Hereford, recording 11 sacks during his junior season. Considered the best lineman in Maryland after his senior season, Akers committed to play football at Connecticut. However, his college career was cut short due to a neck injury. He remained at UConn as a student coach and recently coached a season at Marshall.

Robbie Havenstein
Mike Loveday/ESPNRISE.comRobby Havenstein
Robby Havenstein, Linganore (2007-2009)
DETAILS: Havenstein was a three-year starter on a Linganore team that reached the Class 4A state title game in 2008 and then followed with a Class 3A state championship in 2009. Havenstein was the anchor on an offensive line that paved the way for four 1,000-yard rushers the past two seasons. A two-time Consensus All-State selection, the 6-foot-7, 325-pound Havenstein committed to play football at the University of Wisconsin.

Andrew Phillips, Georgetown Prep (2002-2005)
DETAILS: A four-year starter at Georgetown Prep, Phillips was a consensus All-State selection after his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, joining Akers as the only three-time consensus picks until Tavon Austin came along. Phillips started every game during his four-year career, helping the Little Hoyas to three Top 10 finishes. Phillips committed to Stanford where he his completing his senior season. As a junior Cardinal, Phillips played in all 12 games, starting 11 and helping the school to its second best all-time rushing total of 2,395 rushing yards.

Matthew Rice, Eleanor Roosevelt (1998-2000)
DETAILS: Rice earned Consensus All-State honors after his senior season in which he earned Prince Georgeıs Journal First Team and Washington Post Honorable Mention honors. Rice committed to Penn State where he was a three-year starter and was Second Team All-Big Ten selection. Rice spent part of one season in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and New York Giants.

Quinn Ojinnaka
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesQuinn Ojinnaka
Quinn Ojinnaka, DeMatha (2000-2001)
DETAILS: A 2001 Consensus All-State selection, Ojinnaka was voted as DeMathaıs Most Valuable Offensive Lineman. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Ojinnaka helped the Stags to an 11-0 record and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship in 2001. A natural pass blocker, Ojinnaka attended Syracuse where he made 23 starts and played in 44 games. A fifth-round selection by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2006 NFL Draft, Ojinnaka has made 10 career starts and played in 37 games.

RECEIVERS

Billy Gaines
Billy Gaines
Billy Gaines, Urbana (1999-2001)
DETAILS: A team leader during his time at Urbana, Gaines helped the Hawks to three straight state championships (two Class 2A titles and one Class 3A). Gaines was a two-time Consensus All-State selection and committed to play college football at Pittsburgh where he was teammates and friends with the NFLıs Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald. During his senior year in Ijamsville, Gaines made 41 receptions for 666 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a junior, he recorded more than 35 catches for 700 yards and eight touchdowns. A Frederick News Post first-team selection for three straight seasons, Gaines had 16 punt returns for touchdowns in his career and played on offense, defense and special teams. Gaines college career ended in tragedy when he died in an accident off campus in 2003.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, McDonogh
DETAILS: A 2004 Consensus All-State selection, Heyward-Bey averaged 22-yards per reception during his senior season, making 47 catches for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns. A two-year starter at McDonogh, Heyward-Bey, who was also a track standout, made 40 receptions for 802 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. A Baltimore-Sun All-Met second-team selection during his senior year, Heyward-Bey committed to play football for the University of Maryland. During his time at Maryland, Heyward-Bey made 139 receptions for 2,089 yards and 13 touchdowns. Heyward-Beyıs name made headlines during the early part of 2009 when he was the first receiver selected in the NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders with the No. 7 pick overall. Starting 11 games for the Raiders this season, Heyward-Bey has nine catches for 124 yards and one touchdown through Week 16.

David Jones, Springbrook (1999-2000)

DETAILS: Jones was selected to the 2000 Consensus All-State team after a senior year in which he recorded 29 catches for 472 yards and two touchdowns. When he finished his career, Jones was the top tight end prospect in Maryland and committed to play college football at Louisiana State University (LSU). The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Jones was on the LSU team's that won a national championship in 2001 and 2003. Jones finished his college career with 21 receptions for 293 yards and one touchdown.

ALL PURPOSE

Derrick Williams, Eleanor Roosevelt (2002-2004)

Derrick Williams
Jody Gomez/US PresswireDerrick Williams
DETAILS: Williams was one of the players that helped put Maryland high school football on the map. A two-time Consensus All-State selection, was considered the nationıs No. 1 recruit in 2005 and held more than 50 college scholarship offers. As a senior, Williams rushed for 1,049 yards, passed for 800 yards and recorded four interceptions as a defensive back. As a junior, Williams accumulated 2,900 total yards at quarterback and recorded three interceptions on defense. Williams committed to play at Penn State where he played four seasons, recording 161 receptions for 1,743 yards and nine touchdowns. A third-round selection of the NFLıs Detroit Lions in 2009, Williams has played in nine games as a rookie. Through Week 15, Williams has 763 yards as a kick returner and six catches for 52 yards at receiver.

PLACE KICKER

Josh Brown, Urbana (2000)
DETAILS: A 2000 Consensus All-State selection at Urbana, Brown held the season record for most field goals with 12. Brown was also the Hawks quarterback and led his team to a Class 2A state championship in 2000. Brown earned a scholarship to South Carolina where he went on the handle punts and place kicking duties. Brown finished his Gamecock career with 10 field goals and 32 extra points. During his college career, Brown averaged 39.7 yards per punt.

DEFENSE

LINEMEN

Victor Abiamiri, Gilman (2000-2002)

Victor Abiamiri
Brian Bahr/Getty ImagesVictor Abiamiri
DETAILS: When Abiamiri stepped on the field as a sophomore it was only a sign of things to come. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Abiamiri recorded 10 sacks in his first varsity year and never looked back. Head coach Biff Poggi compared Abiamiri to the NFL's Jevon Kearse after a junior season in which he recorded 51 tackles and 14 sacks. By the time his senior year was over, Abiamiri was voted as the Defensive Player of the Year and the Baltimore Sun Defensive Player of the Year. Abiamiri committed to play at Notre Dame with his high school teammate Ambrose Wooden where he started 17 games in his Irish career. Abiamiri was drafted by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft. As an Eagle, Abiamiri has played in 16 games, recording 29 tackles and two sacks.

Derrick Harvey, Eleanor Roosevelt (2001-2003)

Derrick Harvey
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesDerrick Harvey
DETAILS: Harvey's high school coach Rick Houchens pulled him off the basketball court and convinced him to play football. It worked for Harvey who as a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt recorded 142 tackles and 31 sacks for a Raiders team that recorded six straight shutouts. The Prince George's Gazette Defensive Player of the Year committed to play football at Florida where he went on to record 90 tackles and 20.5 sacks. Harvey was the eighth overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 6-foot-5, 281-pounder played in all 16 games, starting nine as a NFL rookie. Harvey finished his rookie season with 3.5 sacks.

Eric Lenz, Urbana (2001, 2003)
DETAILS: Lenz is the only player on the All-Decade team to be a two-time Consensus All-State player at two positions with one of them being kicker. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Lenz earned Consensus All-State as a kicker in 2001 after kicking 10 field goals with a long of 50 yards. Lenz did not make Consensus All-State as a sophomore, but earned the honors again as a senior at defensive end after recording 82 tackles and nine sacks. Lenz was voted as the Defensive Player of the Year in 2003 and over his two-year starter at defensive end recorded 161 tackles and 17 sacks. Lenz committed to play football at the University of Maryland. He later transferred to Penn State.

Jason Murphy
DETAIL: Murphy was one of the few defensive linemen who were seriously considered for state Defensive Player of the Year honors. Murphy's play on both sides of the line helped Edmondson to a 2000 state runner-up finish. He was the Baltimore Sun Defensive Player of the Year after a senior season where he racked up 17 sacks. The four-year varsity member had 60 career sacks. He played at Virginia Tech where he won All-ACC first-team honors in 2005. Murphy went undrafted in 2006, but has kicked around the NFL the past four seasons with the Titans and Chargers.

Jeremy Navarre, Joppatowne (2002-2004)
DETAILS: A dominant end/linebacker at Joppatowne, Navarre is a two-time Consensus All-State player and never recorded less then 147 tackles in three years at Joppatowne. In the Mariners' 2003 state championship victory, Navarre recorded 14 tackles. As a senior, Navarre recorded 148 tackles and 14 sacks. As a junior the Harford County Defensive Player of the Year recorded 152 tackles and 11 sacks. And during his sophomore year, Navarre recorded 147 tackles and 16 sacks. Navarre committed to play at Maryland where he played immediately  including starting 10 games as a freshman. For his Terrapin career, Navarre recorded 183 tackles and 11.5 sacks. The 6-foot-3, 279-pound Navarre signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in 2009 and has played in four games as a rookie.

LINEBACKERS

Shawne Merriman, Douglass-PG (2001)

Shawne Merriman
Robert Benson/US PresswireShawne Merriman
DETAILS: Shawne Merriman needs little introduction. The three-time NFL Pro Bowl player was just as dominating in high school at Douglass-PG. During his Consensus All-State year of 2002, when he was selected the state's Defensive Player of the Year, Merriman recorded 155 tackles, two fumble recoveries, two blocked punts and an interception. As a senior, Merriman earned Washington Post All-Met First Team and P.G. Defensive Player of the Year honors. During his junior season, Merriman recorded more than 140 tackles and helped Douglass advance to the Class 3A state semifinals. After high school Merriman went on to star at the University of Maryland and later was selected with the 12 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. In his five years as a Charger, Merriman has recorded 172 tackles and 43.5 sacks.

Brady Smith, Loyola (2003-2004)
DETAILS: A two-way star at Loyola, Smith played at linebacker and primarily quarterback and started for three seasons. Smith also saw time at full back and tight end in high school. The two-time Consensus All-State selection, Smith recorded 82 tackles and three interceptions as a senior, helping the Dons to a 10-1 record. As a junior, Smith earned the Baltimore Sun Defensive Player of the Year honors after recording 65 tackles, four sacks, and three interceptions. Smith committed to play at Boston College where he was a two-year starter. Smith transferred to Towson after his sophomore season and will suit up for the Tigers next season.

Erin Henderson, Aberdeen (2003)

Erin Henderson
AP Photo/Michael ConroyErin Henderson
DETAILS: A four-year starter at Aberdeen, Henderson led the team to its first ever state championship in 2003 while playing both linebacker and quarterback. As a senior, Henderson was named the Baltimore Sun Co-Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 1,580 yards and rushed for 883 yards. On defense, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Henderson recorded 138 tackles and two interceptions. In the 2003 state championship game, Henderson threw for three touchdowns, leading Aberdeen back from an 18-point deficit to win 33-25 in overtime. As a junior, Henderson threw for 1,005 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 350 yards on offense. On defense, Henderson averaged more than 13 tackles per game. Henderson committed to play at Maryland with his older brother E.J. Henderson. As a Terrapin, Henderson recorded 247 tackles and was a Butkus Award semifinalist as one of the top linebackers in the nation. Henderson was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in 2008. Henderson appeared in 10 games during his rookie season, recording 15 tackles.

Navorro Bowman, Suitland (2004)

Navorro Bowman
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesNavorro Bowman
DETAILS: Bowman was a 2004 Consensus All-State selection after a junior season in which he recorded 163 tackles on defense. Voted the Maryland Defensive Player of the Year, Bowman led Suitland to a Class 4A state championship victory over Damascus. On offense, Bowman rushed for 1,238 yards and 13 touchdowns and earned Washington Post All-Met First Team honors. A shoulder injury kept Bowman sidelined for most of his senior season. Bowman committed to play football for Penn State where as a junior in 2008 was named to the All-Big Ten first team after recording 106 tackles and four sacks.

Jelani Jenkins, Good Counsel (2007-2008)

Jelani Jenkins
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comJelani Jenkins
DETAILS: A two-time Consensus All-State player, Jenkins was voted as the Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. Considered the state's top linebacker prospect in 2008, Jenkins recorded 101 tackles and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year, Gazette Player of the Year and earned Washington Post All-Met first-team honors. On offense, Jenkins rushed for 644 yards and 22 touchdowns, helping Good Counsel to the WCAC championship game. As a junior, Jenkins recorded 60 tackles and four sacks and earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors. Jenkins committed to play football at Florida where he has played in two games as a freshman, recording two tackles.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Kenny Tate, DeMatha (2006-2007)

Kenny Tate
John Albright / Icon SMIKenny Tate
DETAILS: The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Tate is a two-time Consensus All-State selection, earning the honors at defensive back and all-purpose. The 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, Tate recorded 48 tackles and four interceptions during his senior season. On offense, Tate made 32 catches for 489 yards and six touchdowns. As a junior, Tate accumulated more than 300 yards at running back and receiver, scoring seven touchdowns. He added three more touchdowns on punt and kick returns that season. Committed to the University of Maryland, Tate went on to play as a backup safety for the Terrapins as a freshman. In his first collegiate year, Tate played in 13 games, recording 15 tackles.

Domonique Foxworth, Western Tech (2000)

[+] EnlargeDomonique Foxworth
AP Photo/Rob CarrDomonique Foxworth
DETAILS: The 6-foot, 170-pound Foxworth was selected to the 2000 Consensus All-State team after completing a senior season in which he recorded more than 2,000 all-purpose yards, including 1,369 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. The Baltimore Sun All-Metro first-team selection, Foxworth had 14 career interceptions and set school records rushing yards in a season and career touchdowns (43). Totaled 4,871 career all-purpose yards and committed to play football at the University of Maryland. As a Terrapin, Foxworth made 29 starts, recording 107 tackles and eight interceptions. Foxworth was selected in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and is currently playing with the Baltimore Ravens. In five NFL seasons, Foxworth has made 257 tackles and seven interceptions.

Larry McClain, Forestville (2000)
DETAILS: As a senior at Forestville, McClain was named the P.G. Journal's Offensive Player of the Year. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound McClain rushed for more than 2,000 yards but was a stellar defensive player. At the time, McClain finished his career with a state record 34 career interceptions. Recruited by several Division I-A colleges, McClain committed to play at Syracuse, but never played.

Tanard Jackson, Bullis (2002)
DETAILS: The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Jackson earned Consensus All-State honors after a senior season in which he recorded 78 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks on defense. Offensively, Jackson rushed for 1,090 yards and 11 touchdowns and added 483 yards receiving. Jackson committed to play college football at Syracuse where he recorded 160 tackles and 2.5 sacks in four years. Jackson was selected in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As a rookie free safety in 2007, Jackson started in all 16 games, recording 56 tackles and two interceptions. Jackson is in his third NFL season.

Christian Varner, Randallstown (2003)
DETAILS: A three-year starter at Randallstown, Varner earned Consensus All-State honors after his senior season in which he recorded seven interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. Varner set a school record for interceptions in one game when he had four picks against Perry Hall. On offense, Varner made 41 catches for 635 yards and six touchdowns and added 500 yards and three touchdowns passing. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Varner played college football at Maryland, playing as a true freshman in 2004. Over his Terrapin career, Varner recorded 165 tackles and four interceptions.