Ryan Wydra @schoops1
One of the most important aspects of the game is to play strong defense. If you can limit the amount of points the other team can score, the chances of winning the game are very good. Strong linebackers can have a huge impact on the field They can limit the amount of rushing yards that the other team is able to achieve. This will also stop the other team from controlling the clock, giving their offense more possessions. If you find a linebacker that’s good in pass coverage, that is a plus too. Today we will look at five linebackers who are on pace to do big things in 2015!
MIKE RUANE – RUMSON FAIR HAVEN
Rarely do you see a prospect come on the field and make the kind of impact that Ruane did in 2014. Mike quickly became one of the most accomplished players within a group of very strong defenders. The linebacker had one of the best seasons’ in the Shore as a Sophomore. Ruane started every game, finishing with over 100 tackles, He helped lead Rumson Fair Haven to their second consecutive Central Jersey Group II Championship. Mike Ruane has been putting the time in throughout the offseason, putting on 30 pounds of muscle. The young linebacker is all set to be even more of a force. Ruane is a solid all around linebacker that can stop the run and excel in pass coverage. Ruane’s talents are not only rooted in the fundamentals of the game. He also has strong leadership skills and the ability to motivate his teammates in all situations. This will be important down the stretch as the team works through an always tough Class A Central schedule. With 8 starters returning on the defensive side of the ball, Rumson Fair Haven will once again be a major contender in the Shore.
JOE MIELE – SOUTHERN REGIONAL
Anyone who has followed the Southern Regional football program knows how much of an emphasis the coaching staff puts on playing standout defense. Fundamentals and tackling have always been a huge part of Chuck Donohue’s focus. It’s no wonder that they have had so many successful linebackers come through this system. Joe Miele is another one of those outstanding players. Miele is coming off an amazing 2014 season, cracking the starting lineup at the varsity level as a Freshman. Joe Miele was as shutdown of a defender as you could get during the 2014 campaign. Miele led the Southern defense in tackles with 80 in only his freshman year. The young linebacker is very instinctive and just knows how to always be around the ball. Southern Regional Fans have to be excited about how much he will grow and develop over the next three years. Miele may just be the linebacker with the most potential since Glenn Carson came through the program.
The Middletown North Lions ended their 2014 season with a 6-4 mark. While the season had it’s share of ups and downs, the younger players really hit their stride in 2014. Nick Kish was one of those players on the defensive side of the ball. Kish turned in an excellent sophomore season, finishing with 100 tackles and 2 sacks at the outside linebacker position. Kish is tall enough to create an intimidating presence at 6’1″, and fast enough to get around defensive ends to make plays. Kish can also be effective when he has to drop back in pass coverage. Middletown North was able to take advantage of his athleticism. The linebacker has gotten much stronger and faster throughout the offseason. He has spent a lot of time working on his technique. The entire Middletown North defense will be one year faster and stronger. The team is ready to prove that they can be a contender in Class A North.
Dylan Rogers really has a way of stealing the show on the field. He has been able to do that with his natural ability to be a playmaker. Rogers was the most intimidating player on the field for the Eagles during last years’ Central Jersey Group IV Championship Game. The linebacker simply dominated in a major way, finishing the game with an unbelievable 23 tackles. This was one of the most outstanding performances’ in Shore Confence history. Rogers was also very consistent throughout the season, making plays when needed. This year Dylan will look to build on the momentum from last year. Rogers is a huge linebacker at 6’2″ and 215lbs. He has the strength to shoot right through the gap and shutdown running backs on the spot. Offensive Coordinators will scheme to stay away from his area of the field. With this defense, Middletown South has a real shot to be the No 1 team in the Shore this year. Dylan Rogers will be a huge part of that.
JADEN KOSH – TOMS RIVER SOUTH
After losing several starters on both sides of the ball, Toms River South will count on Jaden Kosh to provide strong leadership this season. Kosh is a three year starter who brings a lot of experience to the table. He is coming off a very productive season at the linebacker position. He will be able to teach a lot of the young guys how to win. Kosh is a big and strong linebacker at 6’1″. He is also very instinctive and can read and react to what the offense is doing. Opposing teams’ will have a very hard time making plays when he is on the field. Kosh will use his leadership skills to motivate everyone in the huddle to do their job. When you have this kind of player on the defense, teammates will tend to feed off the energy. This is what Toms River South will need to make a serious run in Class A South. If the defense of the Indians can limit the amount of big plays on the field, they will be in every game this season. Look for Jaden Kosh to be an All Shore candidate in 2015!
Stay tuned to NJSR as we continue to break down the best players in the State. Follow @schoops1, @shoresportsnj, and @jimrosa519 for the latest updates.