Players to watch

Linebackers resume place in spotlight

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Hilliard Davidson's Markus Bailey, who has committed to Purdue, is part of a standout group of area linebackers. A year ago, Bailey recorded 91 tackles.

The way Hilliard Davidson High School football coach Brian White sees it, it shouldn’t be a surprise when the area’s deepest position ends up being linebacker.

“I think most schools are going to put their best player at that position,” he said.

This year is no exception considering the Wildcats’ Markus Bailey, Dublin Scioto’s Nick Conner and Marion-Franklin’s A.J. Tarvin are among those expected to lead their respective defenses from one of the linebacker positions.

Conner, considered a four-star recruit by Rivals and Scout, committed to Ohio State in June. He and Worthington Kilbourne long snapper Liam McCullough remain the only central Ohio players from the 2015 class to have committed to the Buckeyes.

Tarvin missed most of last season with an injury but should team up with senior Anthony Mckee to form a dominating defense.

Mckee, who projects as an outside linebacker in college, should see most of his time at safety for the Red Devils after transferring from Walnut Ridge in June.

“(Mckee) and A.J. are the top two players in the City (League),” Marion-Franklin coach Brian Haffele said.

Bailey is a Purdue recruit who had 91 tackles a year ago and is expected to play outside linebacker for Davidson.

Although the area’s linebacker corps also includes a returning first-team all-state performer in Division VI in Ready senior Alvin Knox, the talent isn’t limited to the 2015 class.

Delaware junior linebacker Ethan Tucky is considered a four-star recruit and has received three Division I offers.

Gahanna junior Jonathan Cooper has seen most of his previous action on the defensive line but is another four-star recruit who projects as either a lineman or linebacker in college. He was offered by Ohio State in July.


For the entire list of the area’s top players, by position, pick up a copy of the Menards Friday Night Live 2014 Central Ohio High School Football Preview Guide. In-depth previews of more than 70 area teams are inlucded in the guide, which is available beginning Thursday, Aug. 28 at area Menards. There are three locations in central Ohio:

1805 Morese Rd., Columbus, 43229

6800 E. Broad St., Columbus 43213

7241 Graphics Way, Lewis Center, 43035