HS football position by position breakdown: Scouting the linebackers

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Friday, August 18, 2017 | 8:15 PM


Layton Jordan’s position is a multiple-choice test.

The McKeesport senior is an outside linebacker on defense and a wingback for the Tigers’ option offense. The team’s roster lists him as a wide receiver and free safety.

And he also punts.

Most college coaches envision him as a hybrid linebacker, but “he’s being recruited as a tailback, a receiver, a safety, a linebacker,” said McKeesport coach Matt Miller, noting Jordan recently was timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash. “He’s got those freakish qualities where he can do numerous things on a football field.”

A year ago, Jordan rushed for 670 yards and six touchdowns on 87 carries with two teams absorbing much of his damage. He had 278 yards and three touchdowns vs. Latrobe, and 178 yards and two touchdowns against Kiski Area.

“Believe it or not, there was a Big Ten school that talked about him at tailback,” Miller said.

Versatility isn’t rare among linebackers this season, a position that attracts some of the best athletes.

Consider, Washington senior Isaiah Schoonmaker rushed for two touchdowns in one victory and had two touchdown catches as a wide receiver in another.

Franklin Regional senior Bryce Lauer has earned first-team all-conference honors on both sides of the football.

1. Isaiah Schoonmaker

Washington

Senior, 6-2, 200

The Miami (Ohio) commit is a disruptive force at outside linebacker. He had 64 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss and four interceptions as a junior. A 55-yard INT return for a TD in the playoffs showed his quickness. He was first-team all-conference for defense in Class 2A. His other offers were from Bowling Green, Kent State and Ohio.

2. Layton Jordan

McKeesport

Senior, 6-3, 210

Akron, Bowling Green, Temple and Toledo have offered scholarships to Jordan, who is among the WPIAL’s best two-way talents. He played a key role as McKeesport reached the WPIAL Class 5A final last season, earning second-team all-conference honors at running back. But his size and speed also make him well-suited for outside linebacker, where he’ll cause offenses trouble this fall.

3. Bryce Lauer

Franklin Regional

Senior, 6-3, 250

Lauer was credited with 139 total tackles last season along with four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He was an all-conference linebacker in Class 5A. Robert Morris and St. Francis (Pa.) were the first to offer him D-I scholarships. As a sophomore, Lauer was an all-conference center.

4. Gabe Miller

Seneca Valley

Senior, 6-1, 220

Miller earned first-team all-conference linebacker honors as a junior in arguably the toughest conference in the WPIAL. The inside linebacker had a team-high 64 tackles and four sacks last season when Seneca Valley reached the WPIAL Class 6A final. He has nine sacks in two years. Duquesne awarded him his first D-I offer.

5. Anthony Dellovade

West Allegheny

Senior, 6-2, 205

Dellovade was a stopper in the middle for the WPIAL Class 5A champions. He had 119 total tackles, two sacks and earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior. He lists D-I offers from Duquesne and Youngstown State, where brother Armand is a sophomore linebacker.

One to watch: Todd Hill

Steel Valley

Junior, 5-10, 220

As a sophomore, his state-champion defense allowed just 121 points and won all 15 games under the mercy rule. Hill returned two interceptions for touchdowns (26 and 49 yards) in a win over Vincentian Academy. The first-team all-conference linebacker announced an offer from Robert Morris in December.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com.

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