Outside the Huddle and Blitz are counting down who it feels are the top 50 individual players in northeast Indiana heading into the 2020 season.
Today, we unveil five of the best in the area at positions No. 35-31.
No. 35: Aidan Wanner, South Adams – Junior, WR/DB
If you need any proof of just how versatile Wanner is on the football field, look no further than the first three weeks of last season.
With starting QB James Arnold still nursing an injury in Week 1, Wanner directed the offense, throwing for 184 yards and three touchdowns with a perfect completion percentage. In Week 2 he split duties at QB and wideout and amassed 150 yards of total offense. In Week 3 back at wide receiver full time, he caught four balls for 165 yards and three scores.
Factor in his defensive prowess (63 tackles, 4 INTs in 2019) and kicking abilities and it is easy to see why Wanner is considered one of the blossoming young players in the ACAC.
COACH’S QUOTE ON AIDAN WANNER
“Wanner is Mr. Everything for us. He stepped in last year when Arnold was hurt at QB and played incredible. He is one of our best offensive weapons at WR, he is the leader of our defense at safety and he is our kicker. My guess is that he will be South Adams football’s all-time scoring leader by the time his career is over.” – South Adams coach Grant Moser
No. 34: Eli Riley, Norwell – Senior, QB/S
When discussing the top quarterbacks in northeast Indiana, Riley’s name rarely comes up. But it should, evidenced by his 2019 campaign that saw him throw for over 1,000 yards and rush for 650 more to help Norwell finish 5-6 and put a big scare into Concordia in sectional play.
While Riley shines at quarterback, he looks most natural at safety, a leader on the field on the back end of a defense that could be sneaky good in 2020. He finished with 42 tackles and a pair of INTs a season ago.
COACH’S QUOTE ON ELI RILEY
“Eli is one of the top players in the NE8 and northeast Indiana. He’s a do-it-all guy and gives his all on every play. He’s an outstanding leader and we can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for Eli and our team.” – Norwell coach Josh Gerber
No. 33: Ebon Person, Wayne – Junior, S
Confident and personable can only get you so far, but Person has those attributes and talent on top of them.
As a sophomore for a winless Wayne squad in 2019, Person was one of the few bright spots at his strong safety position, accumulating 24 tackles and an INT. At 6-3, 200 pounds with a fine blend of speed and physicality, Person should emerge as one of the best defensive backs around this year.
Person oozes potential, with his versatility key. Person is unafraid to play 25 yards off the line of scrimmage in deep coverage or come up and be a finisher in the run game.
COACH’S QUOTE ON EBON PERSON
“We are going to use (Person’s) athleticism to put pressure on the QB as well as to drop into coverage. He has a unique blend of size and speed backed up by a relentless desire to improve. It will be a pleasure coaching him the next two years!” – Wayne coach Sherwood Haydock
No. 32: Justin Marcellus, East Noble – Senior, RB
Our final impression of Marcellus was injured on the sidelines in the 4A state championship game as East Noble fell to Evansville Memorial. He was shut down in the first half, amassing only 14 yards, but his season up to then was exceptional.
Marcellus was a perfect complement to QB Bailey Parker, rushing for 1,120 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. He also hauled in 11 passes and saw some spot action on defense.
With East Noble poised to be a threat in 4A again, Marcellus is a perfect offensive weapon, willing to work to get the extra yard on a run up the middle or get outside and turn the corner upfield. He will likely be asked to carry more of the offensive workload in 2020, especially early in the year as a new QB settles in.
COACH’S QUOTE ON JUSTIN MARCELLUS
“Justin was a huge surprise for us last year. This year I’m sure he will be a little bit bigger of a focus for defenses, but the experience that he gained last year rushing for 1,200 yards on a state finalist team is so valuable. He is a great weapon because he is a tough runner inside, but also can et out and catch the ball, but his biggest asset is that he is very smart. Justin understands our offense very well, is great in pass protection and will be a calming effect offensively with a new quarterback stepping in.” – East Noble coach Luke Amstutz
No. 31: Lane Burns, Eastside – Senior, Slot/S
While Burns’ athletic skills and compact build are a good combo to make him a solid football player, the mental aspect of the game is what puts the senior Blazer firmly on Blitz’s top 50.
Burns’ NECC-leading seven INTs a season ago came on a mix of athleticism and smarts, with the senior able to make great reads and break on passes.
His value to Eastside also translates to the offensive side of the ball, where he hauled in seven touchdowns and 499 yards as a slot receiver.
COACH’S QUOTE ON LANE BURNS
“Lane has by far the highest football IQ on our team. His mental abilities combined with his athleticism are very rare in high school football and we are certainly glad he is on our side. We feel like he is going to be a player who makes a significant impact on a football game.” – Eastside coach Todd Mason
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Bounce on Twitter at Blitz_OTH
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