Delco Football’s Offseason Top 25

To kill time, I spent the last week or so coming up with a Top 25 Offseason list. Please keep in mind, this list is subjective. These are projections, based on what I saw with my own eyes, talking to people in the football community, and keeping in contact with college recruiters. It’s just a list, so don’t freak out. Feel free to discuss, though.

1. Thaddius Smith, ATH, Cardinal O’Hara:  A multi-dimensional standout in the mold of

Thadd Smith pictured doing what he does best - outrunning defenders.

Cardinal O’Hara’s Thadd Smith is pictured doing what he does best – outrunning defenders.

former O’Hara teammate Damiere Shaw (Temple), Smith will have a target on his back next season. He’s coming off a so-so junior season, but he is being recruited heavily, and you can expect him to be one of the premier two-way threats in the area next fall. Quick, explosive and elusive, Smith possess great hands and on-field awareness. He has offers from Boston College, Temple and Rutgers.

2. Jerry Lanier, RB, Academy Park: He was hands-down the best, pure running back in the county in 2012. Lanier hits the hole and is strong from the waist downl. It’s hard to believe Lanier had to earn his starting spot on varsity last summer and learn the RB position on the go. His ability to accelerate and find that “second

There's no question that Academy Park's Jerry Lanier is the best returning RB for 2013.

There’s no question that Academy Park’s Jerry Lanier is the best returning RB for 2013.

gear”is what separates Lanier from others. He is patient in terms of waiting for his lanes to open and has a real sense for the position. In 2012, Lanier led the county in rushing with 1,566 yards (6.3 ypc) and 16 touchdowns. He can top those numbers next season.

3. Evan Butts, DL, Episcopal Academy: Size, speed, athleticism … a total package. Looks like a D-1 player. Butts could be the top returning TE in the county, too. Butts is a defensive terror and often overlooked because Episcopal was so stacked last fall. He’s an All-Delco for a reason. I think he could be one of the most dominating defensive players in Southeastern Pa. next fall.

4. Kevin Leyden, HB, Haverford High: Leyden had a monstrous junior season. A touchdown threat every time he touched the ball, Leyden has a rare combination of size and quickness and the “it” factor that makes a great high school player. He has the potential to rush for 1,800 and 20 next season. I’ve been told that Leyden in the most dangerous player in the Central League. I agree. Leyden is a three-sport standout in football, hockey and lacrosse. Simply put, he’s good at everything he does.

5. Nick Apostolu, OL, Springfield: Apostolu is a mountainous O-lineman with good feet and

Springfield's Nick Apostolu is arguably the top offensive lineman returning next season.

Springfield’s Nick Apostolu is arguably the top offensive lineman returning next season.

hands to go with tremendous size and strength. With more refinements, I see him as the top returning player at his position. He was listed at 6-5, 290 as a junior. That says enough.

6. Sonny Armstrong, LB/FB, Interboro:  I love him as a linebacker, but Armstrong has untapped potential out of the backfield. He’s a bull. A typical tough, blue-collared Interboro grinder, Armstrong is the heart and soul of that team. Not the quickest nor the most athletic, but he’s a special football talent and is as strong as an ox. He’ll play football at the next level, for sure. I don’t think we’ve seen Armstrong reach his max potential at the H.S. level.

7. Dashawn Darden, QB, Cardinal O’Hara: A human-highlight reel. Darden makes the most of his size (5-10, allegedly) and is not a prototype QB, even for the H.S. level. He has two full years of starting under his belt. I think he’s the best returning QB when you factor in the whole package. A lot to like about Darden’s game. I would like to see him develop more into a pocket passer, but thrives when throwing on the run.

8. Juwan Chandler, ATH, Sun Valley: He earned second team All-Delco honors as a sophomore and All-Ches-Mont League honors, but I get the sense not many football fans know a lot about Chandler. That’ll change next season. As a sophomore he had a phenomenal season for the vastly improved Vanguards. With Chandler back in the fold, Sun Valley is on the rise, and could win seven games next season.

9. Mark Everton, WR, Interboro: The sophomore led Delco in receiving with 763 yards on 40 catches (which ranked second). If the Bucs have someone who can get him the ball, expect another huge 2013 for Everton, who showed there is no catch he couldn’t make. He also has that “clutch” factor. The kid was tall for his age, which is scary. He should fill out even more.

10. Cyrus Barlee, RB/DB, Upper Darby: Some might think No. 10 is a little too high on the list, but the kid showed he can play for a UD team that was maddeningly inconsistent and flat-out awful at times in 2012. Injuries kept him away from the offensive side of the ball late in the year, but Barlee was dangerous when he had a chance to run. He also thrived as a shutdown cornerback who was rarely contested as the season progressed. UD has a knack for developing very good athletes who excel at those skill positions. Barlee is another example.

11. Lamont Veal, RB, Cardinal O’Hara

12.Chris Galloway, WR/DB, Radnor

13. Matt Gould, OL/DL, Interboro

14. Jeff Devaughn, WR/DB/KR/PR, Academy Park

15. Nolan Cummings, LB, Cardinal O’Hara

16. Kev Campell, OL/DL, Cardinal O’Hara

17. Adam Krauter, LB,Springfield

18.John Minicozzi,OL, Episcopal Academy

19. Jai Thornton, DB/RB/WR, Haverford High

20. Lou Harrison, LB, Ridley

21. Terrell Smith, DB, Episcopal Academy

22.Collin Wright ,QB, Ridley

23. Jake Irving, RB, Garnet Valley

24. Chris Rossiter, WR/DB, Upper Darby

25.Philip Poquie, RB, Haverford School

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About mattsmith

Matt Smith is an award-winning local sports writer for the Delaware County Times. A Delco native, Matt's covered local, pro and college sports at the Delco Times since 2006. In 2013, he won a Pennsylvania Keystone Press Award for Best Sports Coverage. He was runner up for a similar award in 2009 and also nominated 2011. Follow him on Twitter @DTMattSmith

41 thoughts on “Delco Football’s Offseason Top 25

  1. Good list Matt……He did not play in the area (which is why you most likely excluded him) last year but O’Hara also has JT Blyden on the team. He has a few D1 offers too. He will be getting the bulk of the carries next year at O’Hara and look for him to be the work horse next year. Veal has great speed and can take it to the house on any given carry. Thad has a nose for the end zone and is amazing in the slot…They truly have a three-headed monster threat on offense. Darden has all the tools and weapons this year, I look for him to break a few county records next year. Needless to say I am a big O’Hara fan…..Nice to see a few other on your list too .I also liked what I saw from DiGalbo (Bonner) last year. Kid plays hard and only a sophomore.

      • Confused, you seem to be just that…Blyden barring injury will most likely carry the load in the backfield for the Lions. Just another private school taking transfers. Cardinal O’Hara via Camden Catholic via Avon Grove.

    • Kevin’s a real talent, but he’s held back in Clancy’s offense (not his fault). It’s hard to project just how productive he will be.

    • Honestly, Jabree, I thought you were a senior. That’s totally my bad.
      I’ll have another list or two as we get closer to the new season.

      • Matt I’m glad thats cleared up lol, I was thinking wow no respect for my little brother Jabree?????? it’s cool he will earn a lot of respect as soon as the season start, I like for him to fly underneath the radar, becuase I know what he’s capabile of doing. Its in the genes lol google me matt Jamar Savoy I did ok in high school on the football field lol.

      • Jamar, no problem. Sorry for the confusion. It happens now and again when I have to follow around hundreds of athletes throughout the county. I’ve seen him a lot… I expect he’ll be the next bone-crushing Ridley defender in 2013.

  2. Kraiza and the kid above should be on there. Had a chance to catch both of them in action, great size and athletic lineman as well. O’Hara has some big kids on the line this year with those two and Campbell. Obviously it’s easier to grade skill players than line play so it’s tough to judge who truly is at the top. Curious to see where they all end up and if O’Hara finally puts it all together.

    • Kraiza was a second team All-Delco, but from what I’ve been told by football people I trust, Campbell has a bit more upside going forward. I expect them both to be monsters.

    • Another truely deserving candidate could have been John Belano. He was a real beast on the D-line, had alot of big plays

      • Bellano came on at end of season and was huge!! Just checked saw sonny my mistake…Owens and Quinones will be a tandem on the line…

  3. what about Frank Verna??? seriously any list that projects the top 25 past or present should include Verna ….

  4. Word going around is that the Trainor kid from Ohara wrestled this past year(his 1st year of wrestling) @220lbs and pinned everybody in the Catholic league except the kid from Lasalle,finished 2nd in the Catholic league received all catholic honors,finished 4th in District 12(all the philly schools public & private) and qualified for Northeast pa. regionals(where they grow wrestlers like weeds) all that from a 1st year wrestler is extremly rare accomplishment. I can imagine how far he would have gone had he more experience. I predict he’s gonna be unstoppable this year in Football,him and Kraiza. That’s stuff you guys should be writing about.
    Kudos to him

  5. How about Ricky Sterling at Springfield.Freshman playing on varsity.Scored 1000yards on St Francis Assisi varsity.Had scholarship at Episcopal and opted to stay in his community .Give a look.

  6. take note, blyden, kraiza, trainor, and smith are going to dominate. Ohara is going to be No.1 in delco by a longshot, no one will touch them. Blyden is built like a truck.

    • I made this list before I knew Blyden had officially transferred.

      Kid’s impressive. I’m not surprised Algeo finally got his man, so to speak. They recruited him heavily last summer.

  7. Pingback: Season Outlook: Academy Park is hungry for more | Delco Football

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