Triton's Baylor adapting to linebacker

Isaiah Baylor excelled as a defensive end, but he's happy to move to inside linebacker.
Isaiah Baylor excelled as a defensive end, but he's happy to move to inside linebacker. (PHIL ANASTASIA / Staff)
Posted: September 12, 2013

Isaiah Baylor was one of South Jersey's best defensive ends as a sophomore and junior.

He won't be one of South Jersey's best defensive ends as a senior.

The Triton standout has switched to inside linebacker. It's the position he's likely to play in college, and the spot from which he believes he can make the most impact in his final season with the Mustangs.

"I'd rather be in the middle of the field," Baylor said. "As a defensive end, you can be a little limited in that you are only coming from one side. As an inside linebacker, I can go both ways, cover the whole field."

The 6-foot, 215-pound Baylor has made a smooth transition to his new position, Triton coach Pete Goetz said.

Baylor is a senior leader of a team that will look to bounce back from a 3-7 season in 2012, starting with Saturday's West Jersey Football League National Division game at Pennsauken.

"He's the type of kid to build your program around," Goetz said. "He's first in the weight room, watches film with his dad, always striving to get better.

"He'll do anything to get better for himself and the team."

Baylor has drawn recruiting interest from programs such as Delaware, Villanova, Delaware State, and New Hampshire. He has yet to receive any offers, but Goetz believes that's because college coaches want to see him at linebacker.

"He was hard to block last year at defensive end, and from what I've seen, he's transitioning well to linebacker," Pennsauken coach Clint Tabb said. "The biggest thing with him is his motor. He brings it every play, so you can't take a play off with him."

Baylor had 68 tackles and 10 sacks as a sophomore in 2011 for a Triton team that went 8-3, with all three losses to South Jersey champions. He had 82 tackles and 12 sacks last season and was a second-team all-South Jersey selection.

Baylor said he played linebacker in youth football, although he has been a defensive lineman for most of his high school career. He even played some nose tackle as a freshman.

Baylor also will line up at fullback in the Mustangs' offense. He's a bruising blocker who ran for 420 yards and five touchdowns last season.

"I like fullback, but I prefer linebacker," Baylor said. "I prefer to hit people."

Goetz calls Baylor a "true leader" for a team that will rely heavily on juniors such as linebacker Kevin Bucceroni, two-way end James Bartleson, quarterback James McGlinchey, and all-purpose player Brandon Pagan.

Baylor, two-way lineman Nick Schepacarter, and running back Faheem Boyd, a transfer from Paul VI, are among the key seniors for the Mustangs.

"We're young, but I think we're going to be OK," Baylor said. "There are no me's on this team. We're all in this together."


Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @PhilAnastasia. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.inquirer.com/

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