Post-Tribune All-Area Football: Defense
November 17, 2011 11:10PM
Billy Van Cleef. Crown Point High School. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 30, 2012 9:22PM
Defensive Lineman — Billy Van Cleef, Crown Point senior
Stats: 88 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 4 tackles for loss (TFL)
Raves: While he had 14 TFL and seven sacks last year, Chip Pettit said he had a better season as a senior. Also ranked No. 9 out of 562 students in his class.
Defensive Lineman — Andrew Schooler, Valparaiso senior
Stats: 57 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks
Raves: Three-year starter at defensive tackle and a two-time All-DAC first-team selection. One of the best run-stuffers in the region.
Defensive Lineman — Cameron Tanner, Crown Point senior
Stats: 100 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 12 TFL, 1 INT
Raves: Van Cleef’s partner in crime, Tanner was one of the most dominant interior lineman in the region, anchoring the Bulldogs’ stout defensive front.
Linebacker — Jake Grossnickle, Valparaiso senior
Stats: 125 tackles, 4 TFL, 7 pass breakups, 1 INT
Raves: The three-year starter at inside linebacker was voted the DAC defensive MVP. Is being recruited by Ball State, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.
Linebacker — Ricky Johnston, Andrean senior
Stats: 101 tackles, 14 TFL, 4 forced fumbles, 1 INT, 1 sack
Raves: Phil Mason called him the best linebacker in the region, and anyone who tried to run against Andrean this season is unlikely to disagree.
Linebacker — Faron Osborne, Morton senior
Stats: 139 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 FR, 3 blocked kicks, 2 INT
Raves: Against the run, against the pass, even against kicks, few players made their presence felt quite as often and quite as impressively as Osborne.
Linebacker — Gelen Robinson, Lake Central sophomore
Stats: 75 tackles, 26 TFL, 9 sacks, 28 QB hurries, 3 FR, 3 punt blocks, 2 TD
Raves: The most disruptive defensive force in the region, Robinson found his way into the opposing backfield on seemingly every snap of the ball.
Linebacker — Tyler Szczecina, Lake Central senior
Stats: 112 tackles, 20 TFL, 4 INT, 4 TD
Raves: Tied a national record with four pick-sixes — and he did it in an unforgettable three-week span.
Defensive Back — Alfred Dickey, Morton senior
Stats: 81 tackles, 5 INT, 3 FR, 1 KR TD, 1 PR TD
Raves: Simply put, the best defensive back in the region. As one opposing coach put it, “Whenever they needed a big play, Dickey came up with it.”
Defensive back — Kourtney Berry, Merrillville senior
Stats: 84 tackles, 5 PBU, 2 FR, 1 FF, 1 INT
Raves: An all-state linebacker as a junior, he switched to safety and didn’t miss a beat. Also had 39 receptions and was a terrific blocker as a tight end.
Defensive back — Logan McRae, Crown Point senior
Stats: 111 tackles, 4 INT, 7 pass breakups
Raves: The top playmaker in a stellar secondary that allowed an astounding
91 passing yards per game.
Punter — Mark Strbjak, Munster senior
Stats: 39 punts, 1,609 yards, 41.3 average, 9 punts inside the 20
Raves: The three-time All-Northwest Crossroads Conference punter’s eye-popping average broke a 36-year-old Munster record.
Defensive Lineman — Thomas Brown, Calumet senior
Stats: 48 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 5 blocked PATs
Raves: Four-year letterwinner has an offer from Eastern Michigan, and has interest from Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State and North Carolina State.
Defensive Lineman — Paul Carey, Merrillville senior
Stats: 90 tackles, 24 QB hurries, 7 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR
Raves: Dynamic defensive end added offensive tackle to his resume for the last five weeks of the season. In on an extraordinary number of tackles for a DE.
Defensive Lineman — Ramiro Cazares, Gavit junior
Stats: 57 tackles, 19 sacks, 5 FF, 3 FR
Raves: Despite being just 5-8, 175 pounds, Cazares set a school record with 19 sacks. Also a wrestler, he’s an honor roll student, too.
Linebacker — Martayveus Carter, East Chicago sophomore
Stats: 136 tackles (95 solo), 23 TFL, 4 sacks; 69 rushes, 933 yds, 13 TD; 16 rec., 413 yds, 5 TD; 34.0 punting average
Raves: This stat machine is just getting started, and likely will be a high DI recruit.
Linebacker — Lukas Nossem, Munster senior
Stats: 93 tackles (60 solo), 150 career solo tackles
Raves: A four-year starter at linebacker, Nossem also is an academic all-state performer with a 4.2 grade-point average.
Linebacker — Darryl Peppers, Merrillville senior
Stats: 97 tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT; 193 rushes, 1,120 yds, 13 TD
Raves: One of three Pirates to play both ways, Peppers was a physical force on both sides of the ball, cracking the shell of a helmet once, according to Zac Wells.
Linebacker — Ike Spearman, Lake Central senior
Stats: 79 tackles, 17 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 FF, 2 FR, 2 TD
Raves: The Ole Miss recruit rounded out one of the most remarkable linebacking corps the region has ever seen. So versatile, he often switched to strong safety.
Linebacker — Mitchell Stevenson, Wheeler senior
Stats: 170 tackles, 4 FR, 3 INT, 1 sack, 1 TD; 26 rec., 466 yards, 7 TD
Raves: As Dan Klimczak put it, “a defensive monster.” Stevenson broke the school record for tackles and had his best games vs. the likes of Andrean and Rensselaer.
Defensive back — Will Isabell, Merrillville senior
Stats: 67 tackles, 5 INT, 5 TFL, 12 pass breakups, 3 FF, 1 FR, 1 blocked kick
Raves: Equally effective against the run or the pass, Isabell was hailed by many coaches as one of the most physical corners in the region.
Defensive back — Torre Hopson, West Side junior
Stats: 46 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 FF; 28 rushes, 173 yds, 1 TD
Raves: Everyone who played against him raved about him. Jason Johnson says he can be one of the top defensive players to come through West Side.
Defensive back — Michael Minix, North Judson junior
Stats: 56 tackles, 6 INT
Raves: The safety had six picks in his first four games, and rarely saw the ball again the rest of the season as opponents wouldn’t dare throw his way.
Punter — Ryan Nix, Valparaiso senior
Stats: 38 punts, 1,360 yards, 35.8 average, 8 punts inside 20
Raves: Versatile senior was 34-of-34 on PATs, 4-of-7 on FGs, booted 18 touchbacks and made 27 receptions for 579 yards as a first-year starter.