Viva Loudoun college intern Joe Bushrod a graduate of Loudoun County High School and current student at Old Dominion University, has been scouting the returning Loudoun football players and will offer his top 5 at each position.
Previously Joe covered the:
- Top 5 quarterbacks
- Top 5 offensive guards/centers
- Top 5 offensive tackles
- Top 5 defensive ends
- Top 5 tight ends
- Top 5 running backs
- Top 5 defensive backs
Today he continues with his top 5 linebackers and the No. 1 returning player at this position is Chad Smith of Dominion.
1. Chad Smith (JR) Dominion MLB 6’4 210
Chad Smith is the most versatile player on this list. Smith is a player that has started since a freshman at Dominion. He began his career as a safety and since then has moved around playing all over the field at middle linebacker, outside linebacker, punt protector, safety, wide receiver, fullback and tight end. This rising junior will be lurking in the middle of the Titan defense for the most part, but be sure to keep an eye on him as this playmaker lines up all over the defense. For a 6’4 middle linebacker, Smith has tremendous footwork and ball skills when defending the passing game. In the run game he is a natural at weaving through blockers and cutting of the ball carrier by taking proper angle.
Overall he is one of the fastest, strongest, and smartest players for the Titans. As the Titans trained last week, I got to watch first hand how Smith leads in every drill and helps motivate his teammates. The Titans are pushing for a turn of the tables as they look to create a new winning culture at Dominion. Leaning on the broad shoulders of Smith for another two years may be the main reason they reach that success. So with another two years left to play expect coaches to come knocking, as Smith has already received offers from Old Dominion University and UNC-Charlotte.
2. Chris Larco (SR) Briar Woods MLB 6’ 190
Chris Larco is a senior leader for Briar Woods and a signal caller for the front seven of the defense. Larco is a very smart player and is always in the area of the play. In some cases you will even see him inching closer to the line pre-snap because he has a nose for where the ball is going. Part of this can be credited to film study, although it takes natural instincts combined with studying to generate a knack for the opponents tendencies. Larco will be looking to improving on his 2nd team All-Dulles District linebacker honosr last year as well as staking claim to another state championship for the Falcons
3. Melvin Holland Jr. (SR) Briar Woods OLB 6’3 190
Just at first glance you can look at Melvin Holland Jr. and see a physique that screams athleticism. At 6’3 this long striding wide receiver also packs some punch at the outside linebacker position. It is rare to see a player at the X receiver position that can flip sides of the ball, take on and eliminate a blocking back, and use his length to bring down the ball carrier. From the opening kickoff you get to be a witness to his superior athleticism as Holland Jr. is always the first man downfield on kickoff coverage, ready to make a hit. With his clear cut wide receiver ability, it assists him with route recognition and where to drop into coverage underneath the route to make a play on the ball. Regardless of his talent as an outside linebacker, it seems to me that Melvin Holland Jr. will one day be a possession receiver at the collegiate level. One area I see that will only make him more explosive is maintaining the proper footwork and keeping a low center of gravity throughout each and every play.
4. Luke Krzywicki (SR) Broad Run OLB 5’8 180
One of the most important parts of playing outside linebacker or defensive end is maintaining your lane and keeping the play inside of you. Part of this is staying at home on the backside to avoid a bootleg, a reverse, or even an option around the end. Luke Krzywicki does a wonderful job of keeping his center of gravity low and reading before you can get a good key on his as a blocker. At only 5’8 this is an extremely helpful trait to have in his game as he often shuffles quickly past linemen to the ballcarrier. I commend Krzywicki for how disciplined he is as a linebacker, he uses the fundamentals of positioning and keeping his shoulders square to the line better than anyone in this area.
5. Zach Wilson (SR) Stone Bridge OLB 6’2 200
Zach Wilson is a player that may not have received a lot of attention due to the likes of Jonathan Allen (Alabama freshman this year) last year. Regardless of Allen, Wilson played great for the Bulldogs last year and has really developed into one of the more sure tacklers in the area as he moves on toward his final season at Stone Bridge. This is the type of player that does not take a play off. You can depend on him to meet each blocker head on and play through the contact. Some players let contact change their game, he uses it to propel his game forward. No matter what happened the last play Zach Wilson is a dependable linebacker that going to keep bringing it harder each snap and that is why he deserves to be on this list.
*Daniel Adigun (Jr.)- Heritage 5’9 205
*Stephen Baker (Jr.)- John Champe 5’11 175
*AJ Bourscheid (Sr.) – Loudoun County 6’ 175
*Andrew Bushrod (Jr.) – John Champe 5’10 185
*Mike Christ (Sr.)- Dominion 6’3 230
*Jason Chubbuck (Jr.)- Tuscarora 5’11 185
*Brandon Grayson (Sr.)- Loudoun Valley 5’9 185
*Matt Whalen (Jr.)- Woodgrove 6’2 215