Outside the Huddle and Blitz are counting down who they feel are the top 50 individual players in northeast Indiana heading into the 2021 season.
Today, we continue unveiling the best players in the area with positions No. 15-12.
No. 15: WR/DB Rylan Crawford, senior, Leo
Listed as a wide receiver and defensive back truly sells Crawford short, because the kid can play almost anywhere on the football field.
Leo utilizes Crawford in a variety of ways and Coach Jared Sauder does not hesitate to move the Illinois State commit around – from putting him at tight end on offense to bringing him up close to the line of scrimmage on defense.
At 6-foot-3, Crawford’s length and wing span make him an excellent receiver. He hauled in 20 catches for 356 yards and five TDs a season ago for the run-heavy Lions. Many of his receptions came on crucial third downs and opportunities in the red zone. Considering he was WR1 by a clear margin for Leo, the fact that he was still able to get separation from defensive backs was impressive.
On defense, his five INTs showcased just how much of a ball hawk Crawford is. Expect opposing offenses this season to game plan away from Crawford in the pass game.
COACH’S QUOTE ON RYLAN CRAWFORD
“Rylan is a tremendous athlete and one of the most versatile football players that we have ever had in our program. He has played multiple positions for us on both sides of the ball and is a big playmaker in special teams as well. Rylan is one of our captains and is a team-first guy who will do what is asked of him to help the team win.” – Leo coach Jared Sauder
No. 14: OL/DL Brody Bolyn, junior, Norwell
A mix of tactical expertise and brute strength, the 6-3, 255-pound Bolyn is one of the top linemen in the area. A First Team All-NE8 selection last season, Bolyn was also one of the few sophomores to be voted IFCA All-State.
Bolyn is a bruiser, plain and simple. On offense, he finishes every block no matter the situation. His length allows him to get leverage quickly, while his lower-body strength allows him to drive defenders away from the play, sometimes pummeling them until they end up on their butt.
On defense, Bolyn’s quick feet and hands allow him to get off blocks and get into the backfield and create havoc. He is at his best when he is able to pursue and finish off quarterbacks flushed out of the pocket.
COACH’S QUOTE ON BRODY BOLYN
“Brody is a great kid with a great work ethic. He is a very strong, physical player with a motor that doesn’t quit. Brody is a kid that loves to play football and it shows on the field.” – Norwell coach Josh Gerber
No. 13: LB Domanick Moon, senior, Snider
Despite leading Snider in tackles a season ago and committing to Purdue last December, it still feels as if Moon hasn’t yet broken out as one of the top overall talents in the region.
Consider Outside the Huddle on the hype train for Moon for 2021. The Panthers are set to have arguably the best defensive unit in the SAC, and Moon will be the leader. The 6-2, 225-pound linebacker has worked to grow quicker and stronger in the offseason. His hands are gargantuan, allowing him to corral balls out of the air and also help to throw off blocking attempts.
With Snider set to bounce back from an average 2020, Moon has made it a priority to elevate his game from a season ago and be the beast in the middle of the Panther defense.
COACH’S QUOTE ON DOMANICK MOON
“Dom is a veteran high school football player that brings lots of experience and leadership to our team. He is dominant on defense and should provide a big advantage in each game plan. Very excited to watch him and our defense this year.” – Snider coach Kurt Tippmann
No. 12: OL Chris Hood, senior, East Noble
Ever seen Chris Hood on the football field? It is impossible to miss the 6-8, 320-pound behemoth who committed to Ball State over the summer.
Early in his high school career, Hood was a big body who took up space up front but really didn’t have the skills to match his size. But over the last year-plus, Hood has grown into his physique and has begun truly dominating defenders.
Entering 2021, Hood will be looked upon to lead an offensive front that will be protecting a new quarterback and opening holes for some dynamic running backs. Hood’s footwork has improved immensely and he is no longer a lineman you can simply run around to get to the QB.
COACH’S QUOTE ON CHRIS HOOD
“When I think back, Chris has been in our program since he was a little kid. To see his growth and development, especially the last three years, has been amazing. His journey to becoming a Division I commit, an all-state player and a three-year starter has been so fun to watch and we expect HUGE things from the big fella in 2021 as the leader of our offensive line.” – East Noble coach Luke Amstutz