Top local defenders aim to keep offenses trembling this season - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Top local defenders aim to keep offenses trembling this season

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Posted: Monday, August 11, 2014 10:50 am | Updated: 4:52 pm, Mon Aug 18, 2014.

An offense is at its best when it is in sync and has a rhythmic pace.

Negative plays, punts and turnovers are the byproduct of something going awry within the offense.

And there are guys on the other side of the ball who are better at making it happen then others.

They are the ones that offense calls out before each play, double team and/or throw away from in attempt to keep that rhythmic pace intact.

Good luck trying to do that against these defensive players to watch from the coverage area (Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek) in 2014:

Cassius Peat

Sr., LB/DB, Corona del Sol

The latest of the Peat brothers has kept up the standard this family name has become known for as his 15-plus offers will attest. Peat, who is also getting recruited in basketball, played linebacker but because of his pass-rushing skills, he will probably have a hand on the ground at the next level. Regardless of where he lines up in 2014, he is going to be disruptive.

Caleb Peart

Sr., DE, Hamilton

One of the few leftovers from the Huskies defense that featured plenty of college talent a year ago, Peart is expected to be the featured player this year. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Vanderbilt commit is going to garner a lot of attention but expect him to shake loose for a few impactful plays per game (or drive).

Bruce Hester

Sr., DT, Mountain Pointe

The Pride defense is losing eight starters from last year’s dynamic unit. Hester is one of those coming back and he was a part-time starter depending on Natrell Curtis’ health. The 6-foot-2, 280-pounder has a bit of a mean streak and does a great job of clogging up the middle of the defense along with having nine tackles for a loss. He enters the season with one offer — South Dakota State — but that figures to change now that he is full-time starter.

Garrett Rand

Jr., DT, Hamilton

The other half of the Huskies’ one-two punch in the front seven is a powerful, hard-to-move 6-3, 275-pounder who uses his low center of gravity well. He has offers from the two in-state schools along with Big 10 programs Illinois and Nebraska. Offensive coordinators are going to have a heck of a time trying to contain Rand and Peart. Maybe stay away from the guy who can reportedly bench 500 pounds.

Andrew Rodriguez

Sr., LB, Marcos de Niza

The Padres always produce quality players on both sides of the ball and Rodriguez might be the Padres’ real deal this year. The 6-foot 210-pounder had 147 tackles, including 13 for a loss, while adding three sacks and caused four fumbles a year ago.

Austin Cronen

Sr., LB, Mountain Pointe

Cronen is another holdover from what many considered the best defense in Arizona in years. Not many would guess that it was Cronen who led the team in tackles (75) and was second in tackles for losses (15). Last year’s numbers might be difficult to match with the defensive line depleted by graduation, but Cronen will still find his way to the ball.

Chase Lucas

Jr., DB, Chandler

One of the 2016 top recruits got a lot of mileage out what he did on offense last year for the Wolves, but he can be pretty impactful on defense as well. He has great instincts and athleticism. It’s exactly what is needed to be a successful defensive back.

Austin Williams

Sr., DB, Basha

There weren’t too many bright spots on a defense that gave up 346 points a year ago, but Williams was one of him. He showed some glimpses as a sophomore when he held his own in six games before breaking out last year with 13 passes defended and one interception. He has offers from Montana and South Dakota St. but could be on the rise.

Xavier Davis

Sr., DE, Red Mountain

The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder hasn’t caught the eye of the college recruiters just but don’t be surprised if that changes by the end of the year. He had nine tackles for a loss in eight games and had 4.5 sacks to show he knows his way around a backfield.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
  • Sports writer
  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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