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    Trappin In The Trenches: Defensive Line Standouts

    By: Marc Henry @marchen44

    Trappin In The Trenches is a showcase that features position players who are on the offensive line, defensive line, play the outside linebacker position and who are hybrid edge rushers. On Friday Nights, the skill players may grab most of the headlines but the trenches are the foundation of any successful football team. Trappin In The Trenches brought out some of top talent from the DFW Metroplex and several standouts from around the state of Texas who traveled to Plano to get more exposure. Coaches from The 95 Brigade, along with Mike West and Zach Collins have put together this series of showcases that gives these athletes the opportunity to learn proper technique, get top notch coaching and they have the chance to compete against elite competition. The mission and goal of The Platform is to Expose The Unexposed by giving athletes exposure. National Scout Marc Henry was in attendance and will spotlight several defensive line standouts who set the came out with a vengeance during the showcase.

     

     

    Christian Watts | Class of 2024 | West Mesquite High School 

    Watts has an explosive first step, he uses his hands violently at impact and he has an extended reach that enables him to keep blockers from getting to his chest. Christian has a lean, athletic frame, he has good hip bend and runs the arch well. When watching his 2022 tape, his overall athletic ability flashes from the snap, he explodes off of the ball, he uses great leverage and he closes on the ball carrier looking to make a big play. Watts has a nose for the football,  he plays with a high motor and he has the speed to run down plays from the backside. The 6’2 220 pound  senior won multiple reps at the Trappin In The Trenches Showcase and is a player on the West Mesquite defense that should garner more attention from college programs in 2023.

     

     

    Jordan McQueen | Class of 2024 | Cypress Ranch High School

    McQueen embraces the violence of the trenches, he delivers a powerful, stiff punch at the point of attack, he has an elite burst with a violent first step and he is brutally strong in his initial surge towards the backfield. Jordan has a stout, compact build, plays with a low center of gravity using great leverage, he has a thick, powerful lower trunk that he uses to propel himself at the snap and he has superb short area quickness that enables him to change directions quickly. McQueen showed off his versatility, by lining up at all four defensive line positions during the pass protection 1v1s versus the offensive linemen and he attacked from multiple angles with a ferocious mentality. Jordan plays with a high motor, he has an array of moves in his toolbox and his hand placement was effective in the majority of his reps at the Trappin The Trenches Showcase. After reviewing his 2022 tape with Cypress Ranch, the 5’11 275 pound McQueen pushes the pocket causing disruption at the snap and within the Cy Ranch defensive scheme, he takes on double teams well and fights through traffic violently. Colleges looking for a defensive linemen who can cause havoc and attack offenses from all angles should look up McQueen.

     

     

     

     

    Neville Mbah | Class of 2024 | Rockwall High School

    Mbah has a quick first step at the snap, he has the ability to change directions quickly and he can change gears in a hurry. Neville can contort his body to bend while running the arch using a powerful get off, he uses his hands in close quarters well and he was able to win several reps in the 1v1s versus the offensive group at the Trappin In The Trenches Showcase. At 6’3 210 pounds, Mbah has a lean, athletic frame, he has the athleticism to put his hand in the dirt as an edge rusher or attack from the two stance as a hybrid linebacker. After reviewing his 2022 film with Rockwall, he flashes the speed to close on the ball carrier quickly and he is a sure tackler that chases down plays from behind closing down the distance to the ball carrier in a hurry. Neville has the make up to add adequate bulk to his frame and he could transition to a standup linebacker at the next level who has the traits to be a pass rusher as well.

     

     

    Zechariah Hanson | Class of 2024 | Life Waxahachie 

    Hanson is a handful in the trenches, he has an explosive first step off the ball, he stays low using excellent leverage, he has active, violent hands that he combines with an extended reach that enables him to deliver a stiff punch at engagement. Zechariah showed that he has an extra gear to burst past his opponents, his footwork is clean, his toolbox of moves is full and he uses excellent vision to attack the offensive linemen from all angles, which allows him to make a quick decisive move to finish and close on his attack at the ball carrier. Hanson lined up at all four positions and caused havoc up and down the offensive line throughout the Trappin In The Trenches Showcase. Zechariah won the Defensive Linemen MVP  after a dominant performance and left no doubt that he can Trap In The Trenches no matter who he lined up against. Hanson was a force for Life Waxahachie defensively in 2022 off the edge, on tape he shows the ability to shuck and shed his opponent well, he takes on blocks keeping his shoulders square, allowing himself to retain his leverage at first contact and he closes to the ball carrier like a hawk. At 6’2 240 pounds, Hanson has the frame to add bulk and remain physical in the trenches at the next level. Offers from Texas College, Howard Payne and East Central University,  have put him on the recruiting radar but you can expect Hanson to get more looks heading into his senior campaign.

     

     

    Riley Black | Class of 2026 | Rockwall Heath High School

    Black is a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end, who has a high motor, he attacks his opponent with controlled rage and he has the foot speed to run by the offense using a quick burst off of the line of scrimmage. Riley moves well in space, he has the athleticism to change directions quickly and he used those skills to his advantage to win several reps in the 1v1s versus the offensive line at the Trappin In The Trenches Showcase. Riley got deep into his toolbox in 1v1s, showing violent hands, shifty hips and he used a quick spin move to free himself up to close in on the ball carrier. Black showed the ability to bend well and flex his body in positions that make him a handful to deal with after engagement. As he continues to mature, Black will be a menace to opposing teams who line up against him on Friday Nights.

     

     

    J’veon Hawkins | Class of 2024 | Arlington Bowie High School

    Hawkins could have easily been on the Standout list on the list for the offensive side, he lined up at the center position, where he showed superb technique and played with great leverage, delivering a stiff punch at impact. But Hawkins was more effective on the defensive side, showing an explosive burst at the snap, he has the skill set to work multiple moves at the point of attack and his speed to get by his opponent helped him win multiple reps during the 1v1s session going against his offensive counterparts. Hawkins’s athleticism allows him to be effective no matter where he lines up and his short area quickness was on full display on both sides of the football during the Trappin In The Trenches Showcase. J’veon was a mainstay on the Bowie offensive line at center in 2022, he provides a powerful push upfront, his low center of gravity enables him to stay low and gain leverage on defenders early and he has a pile driver like leg drive, which allows him to finish off his opponents pancake style. The 6’0 240 pound senior turned heads in Plano and has the skill set to be an asset at the next level to a college program.

    Platform Honorable Mention Watch List

    Rion Childers | Class of 2025 | Copperas Cove

    Kaden Castillo | Class of 2025 | Greenhill School

     

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