Outside the Huddle and Blitz are counting down who they feel are the top 50 players in northeast Indiana heading into the 2022 season.
Today, we continue unveiling the best players in the area with positions No. 15-12.
No. 15: OL Brandon Stuckey, senior, Snider
A beast up front, Stuckey is a punishing offensive lineman that owns his territory.
No lineman in the area is as hard hitting on initial contact than Stuckey. He looks to win with authority from the jump every single time. At 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, Stuckey is quite nimble for his size, able to get out in front of a play and take out defenders.
Stuckey is extremely versatile. He can float between guard and center on offense, fulfilling both jobs last year for the Panthers as circumstances dictate. He has a high motor and a high football IQ, making him a tremendous asset for Snider wherever it slots him in up front.
COACH’S QUOTE ON BRANDON STUCKEY
“Brandon is a three-year starter for us and brings the most returning experience to our offensive line. He has the ability to move his feet very well and has improved on his physical side of play. He has the ability to block anyone on the opposing side of the line.” – Snider coach Kurt Tippmann
No. 14: RB/DB Jon Colbert, senior, Norwell
One of a multitude of multi-sport athletes on the Norwell football team, Colbert returns after rushing for 1,044 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
A tough runner with deceptive speed, Colbert looks the part of an unassuming player that can burn you if you don’t show him respect.
Defensively, Colbert is one of Norwell’s best all-around athletes. He is a sure tackler in the open field and plays the ball well in the air from the secondary.
A First Team All-NE8 selection a season ago, Colbert is talented enough to be on that squad for his performance on either side of the ball.
COACH’S QUOTE ON JON COLBERT
“Jon is a quiet kid by nature. He lets his play speak for itself. Jon may not be well known outside of our program, but he’s going to have a major role for us this season.” – Norwell coach Jon Colbert
No. 13: DB/WR Michael Dye, senior, North Side
One of the best corners in the entire region in man-to-man coverage, Dye has super-quick hips and acceleration that allows him to stay with receivers on the outside.
Dye typically gets the assignment of an opponent’s top wideout, making his job of utmost importance each Friday night. He delivers with his timely plays downfield and his ability to go stride for stride with the most athletic offensive talent in the SAC.
Extremely dangerous in the return game, Dye is one of the more valuable Legends in the Class of 2023. An All-SAC Second Team selection in 2021, the senior will surely find himself on the top squad this year with another solid campaign.
COACH’S QUOTE ON MICHAEL DYE
“Mikey Dye is a bonafide lock down corner. We will put him on every team best receiver. Mikey never back down. He will be wearing #5 this year, which is a prestigious number in our program. With over 20 games experience at corner, we are excited to see him ball out his senior. May see him on offense as well in some special packages.” – North Side coach Ben Johnson
No. 12: LB Rylan Whitacre, senior, Heritage
In terms of pursuit and finishing plays, there are not many players locally at the level of Whitacre.
The senior is not going to wow too many people with his speed, but his lateral movement, acceleration and nose for the football are exceptional. He finished with over 100 tackles, nine TFL and a trio of sacks in 2021. Perhaps the most impressive stat was his four caused fumbles, evidence of how hard he finishes at the point of attack.
As the Patriots look to take another step forward in the ACAC this season, Whitacre is a cornerstone of the defense that is as good of a leader by example as he is a performer on the field.
COACH’S QUOTE ON RYLAN WHITACRE
“Rylan is a tireless worker and as tough as they come. He has been a team captain for two seasons now and does a great job leading out team. Not to mention he is a 4.0 student! Rylan is the kind of student-athlete that every coach loves to have on his team!” – Heritage coach Casey Kolkman