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. 25-21.
No. 20: Sam Hudson, Concordia Lutheran – Senior, DB
A terror in the middle of the Cadets defense a season ago, Hudson has been moved to the secondary to take advantage of his speed and athleticism.
A formidable, hard-nosed attitude on defense helps Hudson command attention and finish plays from sideline to sideline, something that tends to go underrated when analyzing defenders. In 2019, Hudson finished with 81 tackles, 13.5 TFL, six sacks and an interception.
Hudson has the ability to carry the rock offensively, but he will focus primarily on defense, where he should emerge as one of the better defensive backs around.
COACH’S QUOTE ON SAM HUDSON
“Sam is one of our best athletes. He’s moving to our secondary this year because of his ability to chase down the opposition. He’s physical when he needs to be and plays very hard all the time. He’s one of the pieces we have that makes us think our defense could be pretty good this season.” – Concordia Lutheran coach Tim Mannigel
No. 19: Brandon Davis, Concordia Lutheran – Senior, QB
After showcasing potential in his first two seasons at the prep level, Davis came into his own in 2019 – throwing for 2,399 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Cadets. He added another 148 yards and five scores on the ground.
What separates Davis from others is his arm strength and agility. He can launch a ball downfield with relative ease, although sometimes he overthrows his receivers, evidenced by his 53 percent completion percentage last year.
He also threw a whopping 20 INTs, a number that will surely decline this year thanks to better decision making.
Anytime a quarterback throws for nearly 2,400 yards at the prep level, it captures your attention. He threw for over 200 yards in eight different games last season. With weapons around him and another year to mature, Davis could be even better in 2020.
COACH’S QUOTE ON BRANDON DAVIS
“Brandon has really matured into a quarterback that we think can take our offense a long way. He has a strong arm and is very elusive. He has a much better command of the offense this year. Brandon shoulders a lot of responsibility and handles that well. We are excited to see what he can do this season!” – Concordia Lutheran coach Tim Mannigel
No. 18: Greg Bolt, Columbia City – Junior, QB
Some will feel Bolt is underrated in this spot (we see you, Coach Fox), but all this does is give Bolt more determination to perform.
As a sophomore in 2019, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Bolt threw for 1,768 yards and 21 TDs. He also rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown. He is tall, strong and steady in the pocket, always keeping his eyes downfield.
While the stats are impressive, Bolt’s most impressive attribute is his maturity and leadership. He is the best offensive player on the field but holds himself and his teammates accountable. He has been leading the offense behind center since he was a freshman and acts like it in both his demeanor and his leadership.
COACH’S QUOTE ON GREG BOLT
“(Greg) is everything you want as a leader. Someone who works hard, holds his teammates accountable and takes responsibility for his work.” – Columbia City coach Brett Fox
No. 17: Dre Wright, New Haven – Senior, LB/RB
When talking about area linebackers with a true “feel” for the game, there may be no one better than Wright. His instincts to discern between run and pass and react accordingly is truly next level. The fact that he has the physicals tools to turn on a dime, accelerate and close on a defender makes him even more impressive.
Wright finished with 54 tackles, 18 TFL and four sacks a season ago. However, stats do not tell the story as much as film, where it becomes apparent just how good Wright is at LB.
For good measure, Wright also saw significant action at running back, rushing for 386 yards and a pair of TDs.
COACH’S QUOTE ON DRE WRIGHT
“Dre is the most instinctive linebacker I’ve ever coached. His ability to find the ball is amazing. He gets sideline-to-sideline faster than anyone. Along with this, he’s a great leader and student-athlete.” – New Haven coach Jimmy Linn
No. 16: Drew Stutzman, South Adams – Senior, WR/CB
If “Stu” played in the SAC or even NE8, he would be talked up as one of the most talented players in the area.
But despite being at 1A South Adams, Stutzman has made his mark, making mincemeat of ACAC defenses for the last few seasons.
Last season, Stutzman AVERAGED 23.9 yards per reception while hauling in 32 balls. Half of his catches went for scores, with seven multi-TD games and 16 total receiving scores.
The problem with defending Stutzman is that there is no definitive matchup for him on defense. A linebacker is too slow, while a defensive back is likely too small.
Stutzman finished with 766 yards receiving in 2019. He should easily surpass the 1,000-yard mark this season.
COACH’S QUOTE ON DREW STUTZMAN
“Stu is a 5A-6A WR playing at a 1A school. He has the hands, the speed and the size to make him a nightmare matchup for cornerbacks. You have to have help over the top on him at all times or he will make you regret it.” – South Adams coach Grant Moser
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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