You vote, you decide…who had Ohio’s best individual defensive performance in 2013? Below are the nominees for the Ohio National Guard JJHuddle Ohio High School Defensive Football Player of the Year. The choices are impressive…and it’s up to you who wins.
Ohio National Guard JJHuddle Defensive Player of the Year
Last year the Ohio National Guard sponsored statewide year-end Team and Player of the Year awards. This season there’s a new wrinkle. In addition to the ONG Team of the Year Award, JJHuddle and the National Guard will now present TWO individual Ohio Player of the Year honors: one for Offense and one for Defense. Here are the details…
Voting for the Ohio National Guard JJHuddle Ohio HS Football Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year will begin Tuesday (Dec. 10) and end Tuesday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve).
Voting will be conducted in special JJHuddle forums and will cease at noon on Tuesday, December 24. Winners will be announced then.
The winner will receive a Commemorative Banner from the Ohio National Guard and JJHuddle.
Alonzo Saxton, sr., DB, Columbus Hartley (VOTE)
Duke commit is the AP D-V Ohio Defensive Player of the Year and for good reason. He had nine interceptions and a fumble recovery. Saxton added 51 tackles and scored eight TDs on offense en route to leading Hartley to the D-V state final.
Dante Booker, sr., LB, Akron SVSM (VOTE)
Tabbed Ohio’s 27th Mr. Football by the AP, Booker is headed to Ohio State next fall. His credentials are impressive. En route to helping SVSM win its sixth state title and second straight in D-III, Booker finished the season with 126 tackles, 24 TFL, eight sacks, two interceptions (one for a TD), three fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown) and two forced fumbles.
Marshon Lattimore, sr., DB, Glenville (VOTE)
AP D-II Ohio co-Defensive Player of the Year considered one of the country’s top prospects. Lattimore has over 20 scholarship offers including Michigan State. Michigan, Penn State, Tennessee and UCLA. His short list includes Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon and USC. “He’s an elite guy. In high school they don’t come along often like that,” Glenville head coach Ginn said. “He’s a hell of a athlete, a good kid and a good student. Athletically he’s in the top 5 that I’ve ever seen in my life. You don’t find them like that too often. He’s a special guy. One of a kind.” Lattimore is among six finalists for the U.S. Army National High School Player of the Year award.
Alex Backenstoe, sr., DL, Hilliard Davidson (VOTE)
Named OCC-Central Division Player of the Year and AP D-I Defensive Player of the Year after notching 23 TFL and 14 sacks for a Wildcats team that made the D-I Regional Finals. All-OCC, AP All-Central District, All-Everything…
Hayden Hatten, sr., LB, New Albany (VOTE)
What didn’t he do? Named First Team All-OCC, AP All-Central District D-II, All-Ohio D-II and to ThisWeeks’ Super 25 team. The AP D-II State Defensive Player of the Year had 149 tackles (including 68 solo), 26 TFL and 12 sacks. He also had six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Sam Hubbard, sr., DB, Moeller (VOTE)
Ohio State commit earned First Team GCL South and AP D-I All-Ohio honors. Registered 109 tackles, five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a force fumble. Was especially effective in the postseason with 45 tackles in the Crusaders last four games.
Matthew Finkler, jr., LB, Kirtland (VOTE)
D-VI AP Ohio Defensive Player of the Year anchored a unit that allowed just 134 points in 15 games. In the D-VI state final, Finkler had a game-high 12.5 tackles, including two TFL and two sacks. On the season he scored four defensive TDs. As a TE Finkler added 30 receptions for 624 yards and seven TDs.
Vayante Copeland, sr., DB, Thurgood Marshall (VOTE)
Michigan State commit was tabbed the D-III AP co-Ohio Defensive Player of the Year along with Mr. Football Dante Booker (Akron SVSM). Ends career as four-year starter with 20-plus interceptions and 4,000 rushing yards.
Jacob Koons, sr., LB, Trimble (VOTE)
Two-time TVC Defensive Player of the Year and D-VII AP co-Defensive Player of the Year ended the season with 210 tackles, including 46 TFL.
Noah Furbush, sr., DE, Kenton (VOTE)
Michigan commit was named AP’s D-IV Ohio Defensive Player of the Year. Was also the Western Buckeye League DL of the Year and the D-IV Northwest District DPOY. Furbush had 102 tackles, 26 TFL, 12 sacks and three fumble recoveries.
Tegray Scales, sr., LB, Colerain (VOTE)
Named Greater Miami Conference, Southwest District D-I and Ohio AP D-I Defensive Player of the Year.
Dylan Weigel, sr., LB, Pickerington North (VOTE)
Program’s all-time leading tackler (389 career stops) and the team’s top tackler the last three years, had 140 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 18.5 TFL this season. A two-year caption, Weigel led units that allowed 11.1 and 13.6 points per game the last two seasons. The Panthers also made two of the program’s three total postseason appearances the last two years (lost to the eventual state champion Moeller in state semis last year and Davidson this season). Weigel was named First Team All-OCC and D-I All-Central District.
Jacob Kunkler, jr., LB, Marion Local (VOTE)
Named Midwest Athletic Conference, D-VII Northwest District and D-VII AP Ohio Defensive Player of the Year.