By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
There are many talented linemen across our coverage area that features more than 60 teams. Below are some of the top linemen to watch this season
NOTE: Some worthy players may appear on one of our other four football watchlists. A player can only appear on one list.
This watchlist can be found in print in the Fall O-Zone Preview Magazine available this week at all southwest Missouri Casey’s general stores.
Tanner Bays, Lincoln, Senior
He’s a high-school kid who won an all-ages strongman competition; that’s what kind of animal we’re dealing with here. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound, two-way lineman is a monster. He totaled 27 tackles for loss last season, seven of which were sacks. He also is a standout offensive lineman on one of the most-explosive offenses in the area. He’s a stud punter, squats 500 pounds and runs a 4.7 40.
Oscar Campa, Carthage, Senior
He’s possibly the most-productive two-way linemen in the Ozarks. Offensively, he paved the way for Carthage’s offense to rack up 303 rushing yards per game. Defensively, he totaled 58 tackles and 13 TFLs. He’s disruptive against the run and pass.
Darius Facen, Rolla, Senior
You have to love Facen for his versatility and athleticism in a big frame. He has the quicks to be a pulling guard, but also the base and strength to anchor in pass protection. There’s no telling where he may line up. The result is typically the same with whoever he is lined up across from ending up on their back.
Zetthew Meister, Webb City, Junior
Anytime you see an offensive lineman starting at Webb City as a sophomore, you know they’re special. Meister is cut from the same cloth as guys like Dalton Ford and Trystan Castillo. He earned All-COC honors last year, helping the Cardinals continue to be a dominant offensive unit. This year, he’ll be the marquee name on a loaded offensive line unit.
Spencer Neal, Lockwood, Junior
His physicality is what makes him special. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Neal has size with a motor that runs high. He finished his sophomore season with 49 tackles, 13 TFLs and a pair of forced fumbles. He’s been a two-way starter since his freshman year.
Trent Thompson, Webb City, Senior
There isn’t much finesse to his game at all. His bull rush is next-level and watching him shed blockers and make plays is a work of art. He’s a high-motor defensive end who finishes plays with a pop. Run at him, run away from him, it doesn’t really matter. He had 79 tackles and 14 TFLs as a junior, he also picked off a screen pass. Special player.
Ja’Veo Toliver, Parkview, Senior
He’s the most-highly touted defensive line prospect to come out of SPS in some years. As a junior, he racked up 75 tackles and five sacks, earning All-Ozark Conference honors. He’s a spread offense nightmare because his size and speed allow him to take quarterback and running back if you try to read him. His speed off the edge is rare. At 6-foot-5, 255 pounds – with his talent – he will be a Division-I player.
Eric Washington, West Plains, Senior
Yes, he’s undersized, but Washington had one of the most-impressive junior seasons in Missouri. His 10 sacks and 19 tackles for loss are a direct result of his excellent hands and explosive burst off the line of scrimmage. He has a motor that doesn’t quit and plays with pride and passion.
Others to Watch
Blake Bridges, Fair Grove, Senior
Chris Cichon, Houston, Junior
Caden Cook, Springfield Catholic, Senior
Morgan Davis, Lamar, Senior
Carson Gehring, Willard, Senior
Juan Juarez, Lamar, Senior
Wes Merriman, Monett, Senior
Tony Leal, Reeds Spring, Senior
Jordan Lewis, Lebanon, Senior
Cody Smith, Buffalo, Senior