This is the 12th edition of our Five To Watch series. We thank Attorney Michael Ossont of The Mattioli Law Firm for returning as our title sponsor for Five To Watch. There are 33 teams in the WVC and LFC so it’s impossible to recognize every single player who might be deserving. The players we do list are some of the best at their position or have an interesting role coming up in 2023 for their team. Players will be recognized at only one position, even if they are capable two-way players. For players who don’t make the list, we hope you strive to make our lists at the end of the season because they are the ones that really count.
Here are the defensive linemen:
Nariq Burks, Sr. – Williamsport
Height: 5-10 Weight 205
Burks was the Millionaires best defensive player last season and showed versatility as the coaching staff lined him up all over the field. His best position is on the outside whether it at defensive end or a stand-up linebacker. Burks had seven sacks last year and is a sure tackler who will make big plays when needed. He also will contribute on offense at running back. Burks was named a WVC Division I First Team defensive end in 2022.
Steven Halloran, Sr. – Valley View
Height: 6-2 Weight 245
Halloran was a force up front for the Cougars who had one of the best defenses in District 2. He was third on the team in tackles with 71 including 9 tackles for loss. Halloran was very good at holding the edge against the run and caused issues with his pass rush which produced four sacks. He could also see some time on the offensive line this season. Halloran was named an LFC Division I Second Team defensive lineman last season.
Javon James, Sr. – Scranton
Height: 6-1 Weight 285
James was one of the best two-way lineman in the LFC last season and is getting looks from Division 1 colleges. He has great size and bulk, but also is very quick for that body frame. James excels at stopping the run, but also can produce a quality pass rush with his speed. He also was the best offensive lineman last season for the Knights. James was the LFC Division I Lineman of the Year in 2022 and was named a First Team offensive lineman and a Second Team defensive lineman.
Cooper Patterson, So. – Lackawanna Trail
Height: 6-1 Weight 215
Patterson was so impactful as a freshman that opposing coaches were game-planning to stop him. The Lion has lots of room to grow but already is one of the better defensive lineman in the LFC. Patterson possesses great quickness and although undersized, he has a nose for the football. He was also one of Trail’s best offensive lineman in 2022. Patterson was named an LFC Division III First Team defensive lineman and offensive lineman last season.
Max Shnipes, Sr. – Scranton Prep
Height: 6-2 Weight 250
When opposing running backs hit the line of scrimmage against Scranton Prep, they usually ran into Shnipes and that was like running into a brick wall. The senior has all the physical aspects of a run-stopper and expectations are he will be even more effective in the pass rush this season, moving outside at times. He also was one of the better blocking fullbacks in the area last season. Shnipes was named an LFC Division I Second Team defensive lineman and Honorable Mention fullback in 2022.
Carter Faubel, Jr. – Delaware Valley
Height: 6-1 Weight 250
Faubel had a breakthrough season last year and has a chance to become one of the most dominant defensive players in the LFC. He had 33 tackles his sophomore season and was the player clogging up the middle for the Warriors run defense. He also is an important part of talented offensive line. Faubel was named an LFC Division I Second Team offensive lineman and Honorable Mention defensive lineman last season.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Robert Anderson, Sr. – Hazleton Area
Chris Conte, Sr. – Dunmore – Highlights | Twitter
Jaidyn Johnson, Sr. – Nanticoke – Highlights | Twitter
Robbie Nolan, Sr – Valley View – Highlights | Twitter
Anthony Van Auken, Jr. – Wyoming Area – Highlights