This is the eighth edition of our Five To Watch series. We thank Mansfield University for coming aboard again as a sponsor on the network and our title sponsor for Five To Watch. There are 34 teams in the WVC and LFC so it’s impossible to recognize every single player in this list. The players we do list are some of the best at their position or have an interesting role coming up in 2019 for their team. For players who don’t make the list, we hope you strive to make our lists at the end of the season because that’s the ones that really count.
Next up, linebackers:
F.J. Braccini, Sr. – Wyoming Area @fj_braccini34
Braccini plays downhill and very good at reading the play. He attacks the ball at the line of scrimmage and plays bigger than his 5-9, 185 pound frame. He will be a big part of the defense that will try to push the Warriors to a district title. Braccini was an NPF WVC Small School First Team linebacker in 2018.
Garrett Decker, Jr. – Susquehanna
Decker is another one of those guys who doesn’t have the physical stature of a big, bruising linebacker. But he does what all good backers do and that is get to the ball. He led the Sabers in tackles as a freshman and sophomore and with that experience, should help Susquehanna withstand some graduation losses.
Jason Henderson, Jr. – Delaware Valley @JasonHe15613474
Henderson had our eye his freshman season and could be the best linebacker to come out of the LFC in years. He is all over the field against very good compeitition. Henderson has decent size, but plays much bigger and faster than he looks. He is the leader of a Warriors defense that should be much-improved this season. Henderson was an NPF All-District Linebacker, LFC Division I First Team linebacker and fullback in 2018.
Zack McDaniels, Sr. – Wyoming Valley West @ZackMcDaniels26
Wyoming Valley West had some hiccups in 2018, but their linebacker play was excellent and one reason was McDaniel. His quickness allows him to avoid blockers and get to the ball before the play develops. This will be his third year as a starter and is the leader of the Spartans in the locker room. McDaniels was an NPF WVC Big School Second Team linebacker last season.
Ryan Turlip, Sr. – Valley View @turo5378
Turlip will return for senior season as the heart of the Valley View defense. His ability to clog holes with size and strength will be one reason the Cougars overall defense might be even better this season. He led the team in tackles last season and was one of the better tacklers in the LFC. Turlip was an NPF LFC Division II Honorable Mention linebacker in 2018
Noah Taylor, Jr. – Wilkes-Barre
Taylor changes from Grenadier to running with the Wolfpack. Wilkes-Barre will be a mystery on some counts, but we do know Taylor will use his speed and quickness to help their defense. It will be interesting to see how WBA coach Ciro Cinti uses him. Taylor was an NPF WVC Small School Seond Team linebacker for G.A.R. last season.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Josh Brown, Sr. – Lackawanna Trail
Blane Cleaver, Jr. – Berwick
Ryan Eiden, Jr. – Lake-Lehman
Jadden Hayner, Sr. – Carbondale
Brendan Woods, Sr. – Wyoming Valley West