Aaron Young rushed for nearly 1,700 yards and scored 35 touchdowns last season to spark Coatesville to a 13-2 record, the Ches-Mont League National Division title, a PIAA District 1 Class 6A crown and a berth in the state semifinals.
The 5-foot-9, 195-pound tailback is primed to add to those impressive statistics and be the catalyst in the squad’s drive for its first state championship.
Young, also a dangerous kick returner, is one of the leading offensive players in Southeastern Pennsylvania. He has narrowed his college choices to Arkansas, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State and Rutgers.
Conwell-Egan’s Patrick Garwo, a Boston College recruit, Episcopal Academy’s DeeWil Barlee (Villanova), and Penn Charter’s Edward Saydee (Temple) are also elite ballcarriers.
Other running backs to watch are St. Joseph’s Prep’s Kolbe Burrell, Marple Newtown’s Marlon Weathers, West Catholic’s Jacir Savoy, Downingtown East’s Garvey Jonassaint and Malvern Prep’s Quincy Watson.
A strong group of quarterbacks is headed by Coatesville’s Ricky Ortega, Downingtown West’s Will Howard, Boys’ Latin’s Malik Johnson, Penn Wood’s Desman Johnson Jr., Haverford High’s Jake Ruane, Malvern Prep’s Drew Gunther and Pennridge’s Zak Kantor.
St. Joe’s Prep’s Kyle McCord is an up-and-coming QB. The 6-3, 195-pound sophomore, a first-year starter, already has offers from the likes of Arizona, Baylor, Boston College, Michigan and Penn State.
Coatesville’s Dapree Bryant is arguably the area’s most dangerous wide receiver. The swift junior made 61 catches for 1,340 yards and 22 scores last season.
Other receivers to keep an eye on are Imhotep Charter’s Yusuf Terry (Baylor) and Karam Cummings, Penn Wood’s Kennedy Poles, Simon Gratz’s Jordan Mariney, West Chester East’s Michael Gray, and Neshaminy’s Cory Joyce.
Father Judge’s Katob Joseph, Springside Chestnut Hill’s Pat Elliott, St. Joseph’s Prep’s Johnny Freeman and Marvin Harrison, and Neumann-Goretti’s Tre’Sean Bouie are also pass-catching threats.
The skill-position players rely heavily on the gritty efforts of the guys in the trenches.
Malvern Prep’s Jake Hornibrook (Stanford), Archbishop Wood’s Connor Bishop (Army), Germantown Academy’s Elijah Wroten (Duke), Episcopal’s Jack Purcell (Penn) and Pennridge’s Zach Turburton (Bucknell) are rock-solid linemen.
Other stalwarts up front are Coatesville’s Ricky Santiago (Towson), St. Joe’s Prep’s Casey Stephenson, Avon Grove’s Connor Long, Pennsbury’s Brian Malinowski, Imhotep’s Marlon Westcott and La Salle’s Ronnie Ross.
Council Rock South’s Nick Gallo (Virginia Tech) and Central Bucks West’s Luke Benson (Syracuse) are Division-I bound tight ends.
Bensalem’s Dawson Fontaine (Morgan State), Spring-Ford’s Taylor Smith, Cheltenham’s Justin Grady and Penn Charter’s Ryan Bradby are among the area’s best placekickers.