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. 30-26.
No. 30: Damarius Cowen, Northrop – Senior, RB
Want to talk breakaway speed? There may be no one with more of it than Cowen, an explosive running back that bursts through a hole as fast as anyone in the area.
Cowen is not overly big at close to 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, but his quickness helps him avoid big collisions.
The senior rushed for 692 yards and five TDs last season, including 127 yards and a score against Snider in Week 7.
Cowen should break out in a big way in 2020.
COACH’S QUOTE ON DAMARIUS COWEN
“Damarius will carry the majority of the lead for us at running back. He is a special talent with great explosiveness and acceleration in the hole. He is primed for a big year.” – Northrop coach Jason Doerffler
No. 29: Braxton Pruitt, West Noble – Junior, RB/DE
Brandon Pruitt received a lot of accolades last year for his senior campaign for the Chargers, but younger brother Braxton deserved acclaim as well.
As a sophomore in 2019, Braxton amassed 20 TFL and 13 sacks from his defensive end spot, as well as 61 tackles. Those numbers could increase this season as Braxton has grown three inches and 45 pounds since 2019, measuring up at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds entering the fall.
Braxton will also see an expanded role on offense, hoping to replace some of the production lost by the graduation of Brandon, Josh Gross and Raven Slone.
COACH’S QUOTE ON BRAXTON PRUITT
“Braxton’s role will increase tremendously this season. He will have an increased responsibility on offense carrying the ball and on defensive leadership. He has not yet developed that mean streak (like older brother Brandon), but is growth of the past year will make him a beast this year.” – West Noble coach Monte Mawhorter
No. 28: Maxwell Burney, South Side – Senior, DE/OL
Looking for a disruptive force in the SAC that doesn’t get near as much attention as he should? Exhibit A: Maxwell Burney.
Lining up on the edge of the South Side defense a year ago, the nimble but strong 6-1, 240 pounder was a finisher in the backfield a year ago, amassing 58 tackles, eight TFL and three sacks. Considering he faced consistent double teams and blocking running backs, those numbers are impressive.
Burney was named First Team All-SAC as a junior. Considering the other elite edge talent in the league he beat out for that honor, this playmaker deserves more respect.
COACH’S QUOTE ON MAXWELL BURNEY
“Maxwell Burney is one of the most explosive players I’ve coached in a long time. He controls the offensive line of scrimmage, getting penetration into th backfield. He recorded a number of sacks and tackles for loss last season. We expect him to lead our defense this year. – South Side coach Roosevelt Norfleet
No. 27: Louie Tippmann, Bishop Dwenger – Junior, RB
Among the wealth of options that Coach Jason Garrett and the Saints had entering 2019, there wasn’t much thought when it came to then-sophomore Louie Tippmann.
But after a 12-carry, 97-yard, one-touchdown effort against North Side in Week 2, all of that changed. Suddenly, Tippmann found himself in the running back rotation with the likes of Devon Tippmann and Tobe Eke, a rarity for a sophomore at Bishop Dwenger.
Louie delivered week after week last season, showing a grinding effort to get every last available yard, something Blitz has difficulty finding in kids nowadays. But he can also make a defender miss in space, which makes him a frustrating running back for opponents. He finished last season with 525 yards rushing and a trio of touchdowns, two numbers that will surely rise in 2020.
COACH’S QUOTE ON LOUIE TIPPMANN
“Louie was a bit of a surprise at the beginning of the year last season, but he quickly became one of our regulars in the backfield. He was kind of the spark plug type guy in practice at first, but he made the most of his opportunity. He is a kid who always finds a way to fall forward when he is going down, which is huge. He really is that traditional tailback in our offense that we can rely on. And for him to be as experienced as he is and still just a junior is big.” – Bishop Dwenger coach Jason Garrett
No. 26: Jakar Williams, New Haven – Junior, QB
Ask around the NE8 which single player has the potential to be tops in the league this year and you’ll get more than a few say Williams.
A year ago, Williams threw for over 1,500 yards and close to 20 touchdowns as a sophomore. His ability to escape the pocket and make plays with his legs makes him even more dangerous.
The skill set and the hype is there. Can Williams deliver? He completed just around 50 percent of his passes in 2019 and hit double digits in INTs. But Blitz believes that was mostly decision making and lack of consistency with his throws, both things that are expected out of a sophomore.
Williams is one to watch not just in 2020, but 2021 as well behind center for the Bulldogs.
COACH’S QUOTE ON JAKAR WILLIAMS
“Jakar is a great leader who leads by example. He has put a lot of extra time in during the off-season. He’s bigger, faster, stronger and more agile. We look for him to lead our offense this year. Look for him to gain more yards on the ground this year because of our experience up front.” – New Haven coach Jimmy Linn
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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