Appreciation of the Trenches: A Look at the Top Lineman in Maryland

Not enough appreciation goes to the guys in the trenches on a football team. These players are integral to every teams success. Players who may not always make the flashy plays on the field, but play a pivotal role in a given game. This piece will look to showcase a few very talented linemen from […]

Not enough appreciation goes to the guys in the trenches on a football team. These players are integral to every teams success. Players who may not always make the flashy plays on the field, but play a pivotal role in a given game. This piece will look to showcase a few very talented linemen from the class of 2020 in the state of Maryland.

Dematha High School: Coziah Izzard- Strong Side Defensive End

  • This Class of 2020 Defensive End is currently ranked by Rivals.com as the 12th best recruit on their Top 35 Maryland prospects list. Izzard is approximately 6’3” 280lbs giving him quality size and length at the defensive end position. In terms of his game on the field Izzard is effective and consistently physical play. He shows very good quickness off the snap allowing him to be a disrupter on the line. As he shoots gaps and burst around the edge to create negative plays in the backfield. He utilizes his long arms to ride blockers and be able to flow to where the ball carrier is headed to make plays in the run game. As a pass rusher he is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback. Tackling very well and with good form and finishes hits with great physicality. He has even shown over his last two seasons the versatility to play both on the interior and edge of the defensive line. Izzard can still add to his pass rushing moves to become more of a force, but this will come with further reps. He also is very disciplined as a lineman in his game. As he does a good job staying gap sound and reading the flow of a play to locate the ball. This while avoiding being fooled much on ball fakes in order to effectively attack ball carriers on misdirection plays. Overall Izzard considered a 4-star recruit has a very bright future and is prepared to have a strong coming season. Plus, with his June verbal commitment to Penn State he is on his way to making plays at the College level soon.

St. Frances High School: Demon Clowney- WeakSide Defensive End

  • This Class of 2020 Defensive End is currently ranked the 5th best recruit on Rivals.com Top 35 Maryland Class of 2020 list. At approximately 6’5” 215lbs Clowney is a tall defensive end with great length and reach. Clowney shows very good pass rushing skills utilizing multiple moves to free himself of opposing linemen. He can bulrush, use a spin move, or a swim move to create pressures and collapse the pocket. Having a bevy of options like this as a young pass rusher makes him a big-time disrupter on defense. Add in his great quickness and speed which he utilizes to shoot gaps and chase-down plays from the backside, and he can wreck a game individually. It also helps he is a good tackler, who rarely fails to secure a ball carrier he gets his hands on. Clowney as a 4-star recruit shows several parts of his game to be very advanced as a young player. This combination of youth, skill, and work ethic are the main reasons for his success. Now with him verbally committed to LSU, along with his 14 other offers Clowney is on his way to the next level. Especially to a University that does well producing defensive studs, which he certainly has a chance to be.

National Christian Academy High School: Aaryn Parks- Offensive Tackle

  • As the 6th ranked prospect on Rivals.com Class of 2020 Maryland recruits list, Parks is considered one of the best offensive linemen in Maryland. He is approximately 6’ 5” 294lbs, certainly standing out physically and with his play between the lines. Parks strengths include his hand placement, as he is consistent in keeping his hands stay inside the shoulder pads on his blocks. This also allows him to use his long arms to create great leverage in his blocking making hard to push back. While avoiding scenarios where he could end up grabbing and illegally holding defenders. He absorbs the initial move of a rushing defender very well, rarely ever being backed onto his heels. The physicality Parks plays with is noticeable throughout his film. As he makes sure to finish his blocking assignment, by driving his opponent to the turf. This ‘play through the whistle’ mentality he has makes sure he never halts up while play is going on. At his size he shows athleticism to get out in space and make blocks. Showing quality feet and dexterity to maneuver to makes blocks down the field. Parks versatility to play both right and left tackle at an effective level cannot be overlooked either. Plus, when you give up some of the fewest pressure of any lineman in state you are doing something right. Parks in terms of offers currently sits at 18. He formally was committed to Penn State up unit June 12th. Now he is undecided again, meaning many programs are chomping at the bit to get this talented young man into their program. Wherever he goes he will quickly become the anchor for that offensive line right away.

Dematha High School: Golden Achumba- Offensive Guard/Nose Guard

  • Ranked 13th on Rivals.com Maryland Class of 2020 Top Recruits list Achumba is a young interior lineman that has quickly shown much promise. With his measurables approximately 6’4” 320lbs he has the size and girth that fits perfectly on the interior of the offensive line. Last season Achumba was a force on the interior with 18 pancakes for Dematha over the course of the year. He has good strength and power when executing his blocks. Making sure he delivers the first blow before his opponent can in his matchup. He shows good ability to pull effectively of running plays showing range to get to a block in space. His footwork is solid but can always improve. Plus, he uses his hands well to create leverage and keep defenders at a distance. He also played Nose Guard, displaying the versatility to play either side of the line of scrimmage. He uses his strength to create penetration and make plays in the backfield. Showing good pursuit in chasing down plays. He displays good quickness to shoot gaps. Even having utilizing patience to hold his ground and occupy multiple blockers when necessary. All this equates to a young man who has received 28 offers already and is verbally committed to Penn State as of April 2nd. Whichever side of the line he plays on he will be a large physical force on the interior at the next level.

St. Frances High School: Dominic Bailey- Defensive Tackle/Offensive Linemen

  • Ranking 14th on Rivals.com Maryland Class of 2020 top Recruits lists Bailey has shown much promise as a disruptive defensive tackle. At approximately 6’3” 290lbs Bailey has the measurables that make him a solidly built, yet quick and agile interior linemen. As a defensive tackle Bailey excels at utilizing his quickness off the snap to explode into the backfield and create negative plays. This quickness allows him to stymie running plays, while generating instant pressure from the interior of the defense. He uses his strength to effectively bulrush opposing linemen back into their quarterback causing disarray. His versatility shows in his ability to play on the offensive line as well. Using his power to move defenders and pave running lanes for his backs. He can get out in space and blocking effectively further up the field. His foot speed and agility for a player his size is impressive at these positions to. Bailey shows to be a little better on film as a defensive lineman than offensive linemen, though has the talent to handle either spot. With Bailey having verbally committed to Tennessee in February while having 17 other offers. Bailey will end up going to a quality division one program to further his promising career. Overall this young man is a big presence that will make any coach happy to have him on their interior.

In the end Maryland has produced very talented linemen prospects out of the Class of 2020. These five young men and several others in the state I believe can all go on and succeed at the next level. It is refreshing to see Maryland producing big, physical, and quality linemen. Making people more appreciate the importance of the big guys in the trenches.

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