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Top defensive players of the decade

Here's our list of candidates for the best defensive football player of the 2000s. Remember, we only considered a player's high school career.

Rank them on the jump -- and if you feel especially passionate about one player, state your case in the comments or email us. We'll publish the best reader takes on the blog as long as you include your full name and city and state in the comment/email.

Here's the list. Below, we included a few details on the teams to jog your memory.

DL Marvin Austin, Ballou, 2004-2006

After being named All-Met as a junior at Coolidge, transferred to Ballou and led the Knights to their first DCIAA title after making 85 tackles and 17 sacks. Plays for North Carolina and is expected to be an NFL first-round draft pick this spring.

DL Adam Fassnacht, Robinson, 2000-2002

The rare multi-sport athlete was an even rarer three-sport All-Met (also in wrestling and lacrosse), and was a two-time first-teamer in football. He piled up more than 140 tackles in each of his final two seasons. Played lacrosse for Virginia.

DL Derrick Harvey, Eleanor Roosevelt, 2002-2003

Never played organized football until junior year, then exploded onto the scene. As a senior, had 150 tackles and 35 sacks. Played for Florida and was a first-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

DL Eric Lenz, Urbana, 2001-2003

Rarely left the field as he also excelled at tight end and as a kicker. As a senior, had 82 tackles and nine sacks and returned two interceptions for touchdowns, with 13 of his 29 catches also going for touchdowns and blocked three field goals and five punts. Also kicked a go-ahead 55-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of a playoff game as a sophomore.

LB Ahmad Brooks, Hylton, 1998-2001

Before combines and the Internet changed recruiting, the son of former Redskin Perry Brooks was the nation’s most sought-after player. After leading Hylton to a Virginia AAA Division 6 title as a junior, Brooks made 207 tackles as a senior, including 144 solo and 34 for losses.

LB Akeem Hebron, Good Counsel, 2003-2005

Two-time All-Met had 131 tackles and 13 sacks his senior year as the Falcons became DeMatha’s top threat in the WCAC. Plays for Georgia.

LB Wesley Jefferson, Gwynn Park, 2000-2002

Regarded as one of the nation’s top linebackers, as a senior had 144 tackles, 10 sacks and seven forced fumbles. Played for Maryland.

LB Jelani Jenkins, Good Counsel, 2006-2008

Two-time All-Met was one of the nation’s most-sought after recruits. As a senior, totaled 101 tackles and led the Falcons to an undefeated regular season. Played this past season as a freshman at Florida.

LB Shawne Merriman, Douglass, 1999-2001

As a senior, made 155 tackles, blocked two punts, recovered two fumbles and was the Upper Marlboro school’s first All-Met football player in 25 years. Played for Maryland and now stars for the San Diego Chargers.

DB Derrick Williams, Eleanor Roosevelt, 2001-2004

Do-it-all player was considered the nation’s top recruit before picking Penn State. A two-time All-Met was rarely tested at cornerback but had four interceptions as a senior. Also rushed for 1,049 yards and passed for 800 yards and caught 11 passes for 203 yards.

By Josh Barr and Alan Goldenbach  |  December 9, 2009; 2:03 AM ET
Categories:  Decade's Best , Football  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ballou's big debut
Next: Top offensive players of the decade


This post does not belong in this area but it's one of the few Football related articles I can post on...I think it's disgraceful that Linganore was not ranked by the Washington Post this year. They should be ranked either number 1 or at the very least number 2.....They're ranked number 21 in the nation in USA Today's top 25, being 2 spots behind Good Counsel. Good Counsel was in a higher division but they did loose this year. Both Urbana and Linganore where ranked last year. But due to "economic reasons", only Urbana was ranked this year and they're only a few miles from Linganore. Linganore had the toughest road to the Championship this year. They've beaten 3 of the post's top 20 teams. Well, demolished them would be more accurate. They played Huntingtown in the championship when Huntingtown was ranked 4th!!!....And in an article leading up to the game the Washington Post recognized Linganore as being "HEAVY FAVORITES"! How can a team be a heavy favorite and NOT BE RANKED?!!??! C'mon people, let the Washington Post know that they cannot insult our intelligence purely because they refused to spend the few hundred extra bucks a year to cover Linganore.

Posted by: jacob21703 | December 9, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Navorro Bowman (Suitland hs/Penn State U.) should be on that list in my opinion.

Started 4 years for perennial top ten Suitland HS at Linebacker while leading a punishing defense that gave up few points. (played both ways as a 1,000 plus yard rusher).

First team all-met, and POY candidate in 2004-5.

Led team to 2004 MD 4A South title, and 2004 State Championship win over Damascus in league w/ yearly matchups against talent such as All-Met Derrick Williams of E. Roose, and CH Flowers backfield.

All-American Candidate at Penn State University (Linebacker U.).

Projected as a first round draft pick upon early entry into the NFL Draft in Spring 2009.

Considered one of the best linebackers in college football today, and a sure shot NFL linebacker.

Posted by: CoachOrr | December 11, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I submitted a post on this yesterday -- where is it? Guess the Post doesn't want anyone to read and see HOW BIASED THE SPORTS STAFF AT THE POST IS for leaving Suitland's Navorro Bowman (2003-06) off of this list...

Posted by: ntlekt | December 13, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

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