The Bee's Fall All Stars: Football Defense

The Fresno BeeJanuary 23, 2014 

C.J. Cambria

Vitals: Junior, Liberty-Madera Ranchos

Position: Line

Qualified because: North Sequoia League Lineman of the Year as an offensive tackle and defensive nose guard, he impacted an offense that averaged 31.7 points and a defense that gave up 12.2 for a 12-1 team that won a second straight Central Section Division V title.

Nicco Dalena

Vitals: Senior, Memorial

Position: Line

Qualified because: Entered season more established as a baseball player, but emerged as a defensive end, making 70 tackles, including six sacks while earning All-County/Metro Athletic Conference honors for the 7-5 Panthers.

Isaiah Duran

Vitals: Senior, Clovis North

Position: Line

Qualified because: Dynamic, articulate athlete, Tri-River Athletic Conference Co-Lineman of the Year and a strong Bee Player of the Year candidate — again — he played offensive guard and defensive end as a three-year rock for teams that went 32-8 with two section titles and one runner-up finish.

Yasmon Haynes

Vitals: Senior, Edison

Position: Line

Qualified because: Offensive guard, defensive tackle and two-year Bee All-Star closed a dominating three-year career by being named CMAC Outstanding Lineman for a 9-2 team.

Josh Hinson

Vitals: Senior, Hoover

Position: Line

Qualified because: Best player few know outside the North Yosemite League, the athlete with a 4.0 GPA pulled the improbable by being named conference Lineman of the Year from an 0-10 team. Offensive guard, defensive end, linebacker, long snapper — he left nothing on the field.

Brayan Mendez

Vitals: Senior, Mission Oak

Position: Line

Qualified because: One of the all-time greats in East Yosemite League history — and at 5-10, 205 at his largest as a three-year tackle for teams that went 30-7 — he likely checks out of the game for good as the conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Michael Morales

Vitals: Senior, Sanger

Position: Line

Qualified because: From Edison to Bullard to El Diamante, which required a late miracle drive to deny Sanger a D-II championship ticket, the 8-4 Apaches were competitive against top-shelf competition, and three-time All-CMAC selection Morales was a starting point at defensive end, where he typically torpedoed read options.

Nick Nevills

Vitals: Senior, Clovis

Position: Line

Qualified because: TRAC Co-Lineman of the Year delivered 96 tackles, including 18 for losses and nine sacks — remarkable numbers considering offenses typically ran away from the defensive end. And the question that will never find an answer: Just how good could arguably the nation's elite wrestler have been had he concentrated exclusively on football?

Jake Newbrough

Vitals: Senior, El Diamante

Position: Line

Qualified because: West Yosemite League Lineman of the Year for D-II champion and 12-1 team draws this from Miners' 10-year, 85-game-winning coach Mark Rogers: "He's right there with the best I've had. He's an ornery son-of-a-gun."

Tashon Smallwood

Vitals: Senior, Central

Position: Line

Qualified because: USC couldn't hold him, Arizona State gets him instead, and to Saturdays it goes for the TRAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, repeat Bee All-Star and near miss Bee Outstanding Defensive Player, who delivered a demolition derby rivaled by few all-time in the section.

Kevin Vance

Vitals: Senior, Edison

Position: Line

Qualified because: No Edison lineman — and the Tigers fielded arguably their best interior lines in school history — contributed more time both ways than the offensive guard and defensive nose guard, who had 50 tackles, nine for losses and four sacks despite being routinely double-teamed.

Elijah Beukers

Vitals: Senior, Washington

Position: Linebacker

Qualified because: Want to talk Panthers Hall of Fame defensive ilk — a la Ron Cox — start here with a linebacker and 2013 North Sequoia League Defensive Player of the Year who started on a state-winning D-III bowl team as a sophomore and departs with 384 career tackles.

Talven Juarez

Vitals: Senior, Tulare Western

Position: Linebacker

Qualified because: Section turnaround-of-the-year begins here — from 0-10 to 7-4 and a couple of TDs from 10-1, no less — with the linebacker who made 114 tackles, including 21 for losses and finished second to Mission Oak's Brayan Mendez as EYL Defensive Player of the Year.

Jimmy Kesting

Vitals: Senior, Kingsburg

Position: Linebacker

Qualified because: Two-way All-Central Sequoia League pick excelled particularly on defense, where he made 195 tackles in two seasons for teams that went 19-5, including 7-1 in the conference. Also emerged this season as a fullback, scoring five times on runs of at least 50 yards.

Darius Liles

Vitals: Junior, El Diamante

Position: Linebacker

Qualified because: Coaching dream for Miners staff, which gets yet another year from an athlete with a 4.0 GPA, unceasing motor, "yes sir, no sir" demeanor and, oh, by the way, 2013 West Yosemite League Defensive Player of the Year on his résumé.

Josh Newman

Vitals: Senior, Bullard

Position: Linebacker

Qualified because: CMAC Defensive Player of the Year and three-year starter for teams that went 27-9, including 13-2 in the conference, culls this from his coach, Donnie Arax: "One of the toughest kids I've ever coached; kind of like a kid you'd find in a mining town in Pennsylvania. He's old-fashion tough."

Vance Sams

Vitals: Junior, Edison

Position: Linebacker

Qualified because: "Spiritual leading force" of the section's best defense, says Tigers coach Matt Johnson, provided 68 tackles, including eight for losses and four sacks, forced four fumbles, recovered one and intercepted a pass.

Devon Brewer

Vitals: Senior, Central

Position: Secondary

Qualified because: All-TRAC safety for 9-4 and co-conference titlist not only played in the recent national Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in Tampa, Fla., but made quite the impression. Next: Arizona.

Andre Chachere

Vitals: Senior, Clovis West

Position: Secondary

Qualified because: Two-time All-TRAC selection averaged 17.4 yards per reception, scored eight TDs and made 55 tackles, 24 pass breakups and four interceptions as an athlete prominent on section coaches' radar. San Jose State will scoop his educational tab as a DB.

Alan Crowley

Vitals: Senior, Clovis

Position: Secondary

Qualified because: Succeeded Cougars Bee All-Stars Jason Black and Donnell Vercher at safety by making 137 tackles, with 13 passes defended and four interceptions as the Co-TRAC Defensive Player of the Year. "I had multiple people tell me they paid admission just to watch him," Clovis coach Rich Hammond says.

Tyler Horton

Vitals: Junior, Edison

Position: Secondary

Qualified because: All-TRAC pick pilfered nine passes, returning two for TDs, and also returned two punts for scores while fashioning his résumé for coast-to-coast college interest next fall.

 

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