They're the tops in the trenches

Posted: October 28, 2012

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Our position-by-position rankings continue with a review of the best offensive linemen in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Because of the high number of players involved, we turned this subjective list into a top 15. It is based largely on strength, technique, footwork, ability to dominate regularly, and potential to succeed at the next level.

Please note that some two-way linemen, including Radnor's Mike Staples and Imhotep Charter's Tyrone Barge, will get their due when we move to the other side of the ball.

1. Mike McGlinchey, Penn Charter, senior, 6-foot-9, 275 pounds, tackle. With the size, toughness, and nasty streak required at the Division I-A level, McGlinchey, who doubles as a defensive end, is headed to Notre Dame.

For the Quakers this season, he also has served as a tight end and, believe it or not, a thrower. His one passing attempt fell incomplete.

2. Jaryd "Burger" Jones-Smith, West Catholic, Sr., 6-7, 320, tackle. This late bloomer, who has bench-pressed 275 pounds and squatted 325, has scholarship offers from Virginia, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina State.

3. George Griffin, Archbishop Wood, Sr., 6-4, 280, tackle. A dominant drive-blocker with athleticism, Griffin should wind up playing in Division I.

4. Patrick Hoffman, La Salle, Sr., 6-4, 255, guard/tackle. Running behind the sturdy Navy recruit, also a force at defensive end, the Explorers are averaging 34 points.

5. Eric Gallo, Council Rock South, Jr., 6-2, 280, guard. Gallo, also a major force as a defensive tackle, has drawn interest from N.C. State and Maryland, among others.

6. Elijah Wilkinson, Downingtown West, Sr., 6-3, 330, tackle. Wilkinson, hearing from the likes of Delaware and James Madison, clears running room for Mitch Meleski and Tino Bunhu.

7. Madison O'Connor, Pottsgrove, Sr., 6-6, 340, tackle. The Division I-A recruit has made his mark opening holes for quarterback Tory Hudgins and tailback Mark Dukes.

8. Matt Donoghue, Garnet Valley, Sr., 6-5, 285, guard. Athletic and strong, he has scholarship offers from Bucknell, Coastal Carolina, Lafayette, and William and Mary.

9. Fran Walsh, Archbishop Wood, Sr., 6-1, 245, center. While a bit undersized, the Vikings captain is smart, strong, and fast. He can bench-press 320 pounds and squat 465.

10. Nick Apostolu, Springfield (Delco), Sr., 6-5, 300, guard. Apostolu, also solid at defensive tackle, has been a driving force in the Cougars' triple-option attack.

11. Harrison Burch, Downingtown West, Sr., 6-3, 275, tackle. A fixture on the right side of East's line, he is hearing from Colgate, Monmouth, and Virginia Military Institute.

12. David Tracz, St. Joseph's Prep, Sr., 6-3, 230, tackle. The No. 1-ranked Hawks often run behind the hard-charging Tracz, stationed on the left side.

13. Joe Potkovac, North Penn, Sr., 6-3, 250, center. A powerful blocker for Kyle Mayfield and company, he was slowed early in the season by a foot injury.

14. Vince LoStracco, Father Judge, Sr., 6-4, 280, tackle. The Crusaders' injury-plagued and loss-stained season has overshadowed LoStracco's play.

15. Chris O'Connor, Archbishop Wood, Sr., 6-6, 285, guard. The improving O'Connor, flanked up front by Griffin, has a scholarship offer from Lafayette.

Twenty others to watch, listed alphabetically: Joe Barrett, Malvern Prep, Sr., 6-2, 225, guard; Carmen Cervella, Cardinal O'Hara, Sr., 6-1, 285, tackle; Lorenz "Bubbles" Compton, Frankford, Sr., 6-0, 175, center; Jack Florio, Episcopal Academy, Sr., 6-2, 270, tackle; Mike Gilmore, Spring-Ford, Sr., 6-3, 245, tackle; Fran Grey, St. Joseph's Prep, Sr., 6-1, 260, center; Dan Herbster, Garnet Valley, Sr., 6-3, 280, guard; Tyler Kio, Pennridge, Sr., 5-11, 210, guard; Shane Kraynik, Pennridge, Jr., 6-5, 230, tackle; Ryan Lunney, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Sr., 6-3, 245, tackle; Jack Meehan, Pennsbury, Sr., 6-0, 270, center; Connor Newlin, Souderton, Sr., 6-1, 238, guard; Deion Oliver, Archbishop Wood, Jr., 6-5, 275, guard; Tyler Paradysz, Central Bucks South, Sr., 6-1, 220, tackle; Steve Polousis, Ridley, Sr., 6-2, 200, guard; Trevor Price, North Penn, Sr., 5-11, 235, tackle; Khalil Roberts, Wissahickon, Sr., 6-2, 325, tackle; Aaron Ruff, Imhotep Charter, Jr., 6-5, 285, tackle; Ian Waterbury, Neshaminy, Sr., 6-2, 250, tackle; Rick Young, Souderton, Jr., 6-2, 295, tackle.


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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