The best at being versatile

Posted: October 21, 2012

Our top-10 football tour continues with a review of the area's best multipurpose playmakers.

The list is based on a player's overall impact on a team, including contributions on offense and defense and as a special-teams performer. Many in this group have added value because of their kick-returning abilities.

Note that some two-way standouts, including Episcopal Academy senior Adam Strouss and St. Joseph's Prep sophomore John Reid, will not be listed here. They will be listed at the position in which they excel the most or are projected to play in college.

1. Eerin Young, Imhotep Charter, senior, 5-foot-10, 180 pounds. With his quickness and open-field moves, Young, a running back and wide receiver, is a threat to break it long on every touch. He has helped spark the Panthers to an 8-0 start.

Young, who started his career at Bishop McDevitt, is receiving interest from Ohio University and Massachusetts.

2. Sean Coleman, La Salle, Sr., 5-9, 170. For the Explorers, Coleman, who will focus on lacrosse at Harvard, has made countless big plays as a wide receiver, kick returner, and defensive back.

3. Shawn Pepper, Pennsbury, Sr., 6-2, 210. A stalwart as a wing-T halfback, part-time outside linebacker, and kick returner, Pepper has heard from programs in Division I-A (Temple, Connecticut) and I-AA (Delaware, Robert Morris).

4. Daquan Worley, Coatesville, Jr., 5-10, 185. Worley sparks the 6-2 Red Raiders as a ballcarrier, receiver, cornerback, and kick returner. His 99-yard return opened a 42-0 blanking of Unionville.

5. Thaddius Smith, Cardinal O'Hara, Jr., 5-10, 170. A Division I-A recruit, Smith carries the ball, catches passes from quarterback Dashawn Darden, and, at cornerback, defends the opponent's top wideout.

6. Kevin Leyden, Haverford High, Jr., 6-1, 175. As he showed in Friday's 42-36, come-from-behind triumph over Strath Haven, Leyden does a little bit of everything for the Fords. He has rushed for 739 yards and nine touchdowns.

7. Jim Haley, Bonner-Prendergast, Sr., 6-2, 190. While his future is in baseball, at Penn State, Haley has been a major catalyst for the Friars as a quarterback and strong safety.

8. Quinn Hager, Episcopal Academy, Sr., 6-3, 180. Hager serves the 7-0 Churchmen as a wide receiver, defensive back, placekicker, and punter.

9. Kyle Bigam, Pennridge, Sr., 5-9, 180. Bigam, a wingback and outside linebacker, has shined this season. His one-handed, 39-yard TD reception was the difference in Friday night's thrilling 28-21 victory over North Penn.

10. Justin Andrews, Neshaminy, Sr., 5-11, 145. The Redskins can call on Andrews as a receiver, running back, fill-in quarterback, kick returner, and safety. In baseball, he is a speedy outfielder.

Twenty-five others to watch, listed alphabetically: Dan Bier, Archbishop Carroll, Sr.; Shimeek Carter, Northeast, Sr.; Tate Carter, Spring-Ford, Jr.; Tim Christopher, Unionville, Sr.; Christian Crane, Council Rock South, Sr.; Alton Custus, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Sr.; Hyneef Dockery, Cheltenham, Sr.; Troy Gallen, Malvern Prep, Jr.; Steve Gozur, North Penn, Sr.; Jimmy Herron, La Salle, So.; Jamiel Hines, Samuel Fels, Sr.; Jeff Ledford, William Tennent, Sr.; Kurt Logan, Central Bucks West, Sr.; Bobby Mallon, Central Bucks South, Sr.; Cornelius Middleton, Simon Gratz, Sr.; Vince Moffett, St. Joseph's Prep, Jr.; Walt Pegues, Central, Jr.; Anthony Roakes, Archbishop Wood, Sr.; Spencer Rymiszewski, West Chester Henderson, Sr.; Damion Samuels, Frankford, Jr.; Ian Strain, Episcopal Academy, Sr.; Joe Taylor, Germantown Academy, Sr.; James Ward, Lansdale Catholic, Sr.; Kyle Wenger, Souderton, Sr.; Tymere Wilder, Bishop McDevitt, Sr.

East-West. The first three quarters of Downingtown East's 35-21 win Friday night over Downingtown West were played in front of a packed crowd at Kottmeyer Stadium. It was finished, after a 38-minute lightning delay, with very few in the seats. . . . East's Harrison Burch, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound senior offensive tackle, is hearing from Colgate, Monmouth, and Virginia Military Institute. . . . West's Elijah Wilkinson, a 6-3, 330-pound senior offensive tackle, is drawing interest from James Madison, Delaware, and Towson. Virginia Tech and Virginia were also sniffing.

East's Wade Mastrog, a senior linebacker, has an offer from Bryant University, a Division I-AA school in Smithfield, R.I. . . . Cougars coach Mike Matta, on the Whippets' spread option/wing-T offense: "If you're not really prepared, they'll snooker you." . . . East has won the last three meetings with West and leads the series, 5-4.


Contact Rick O'Brien at robrien@phillynews.com, or @ozoneinq on Twitter. Read his blog, "The O'Zone," at www.philly.com/ozone

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