HS Football: 2017 Williamson County Defensive Players of the Year

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The TSSAA football playoffs are finished. With that, here are our final picks for Defensive Player of the Year within our Williamson County coverage area.

NOTE: We did factor in playoff performance. A player was given a full tackle for a solo stop and a half-tackle for an assist when we compiled tackle totals. Also, if we had a player in our offensive rankings, he wasn’t considered for defense, and vice-versa.

20. Tim Stayskal, linebacker, Nolensville 

Stayskal had a big year from the linebacker position in Nolensville’s first official season as a football program. He was selected first-team all-region for 2017. Stayskal has posted video highlights of his junior season on his Hudl page. 

19. Tristan Mann, linebacker, Fairview

Mann capped a productive career at Fairview in leading a defense that gave up 16.8 points per game. He had 84 total tackles, seven stops for loss and one sack in 2017. Fairview finished its season 9-4. Here are some video highlights of Mann throughout his career. 

18. Jariel Wilson, safety, Centennial

Centennial limped to a disappointing 4-7 season. However, Jariel Wilson excelled again in the midst of it, anyway. Wilson had 41 tackles, a pair of fumble recoveries and a forced fumble on defense. He ran for 1,068 yards and 17 touchdowns while catching two passes for 26 more yards as a running back. Here’s a link to video highlights throughout Wilson’s career. 

17. Cole Carteaux, Ravenwood

Ravenwood perhaps had the most surprising season–in a good way–of any team in the county. Much of that was keyed by a defense that gave up 20.2 points a game. Carteaux had a big hand in that, with 58 total tackles, a stop for loss and four interceptions. Here are video highlights from his senior season. 

16. Garnett Hollis, cornerback, Battle Ground Academy

Garnett Hollis provided BGA with a shut-down corner, even though he’s just a sophomore. Hollis had 34 tackles, two stops for loss and two interceptions. He’s already starting to draw major college attention, including an offer from Vanderbilt. Here’s video highlights of his sophomore year.

15. Luke Bowers, linebacker, Page

Bowers was the most productive player on a Page defense that gave up 17.1 points per game. The junior had 76 tackles, 12 for loss (two sacks), two fumble recoveries, an interception, a forced fumble and a blocked kick in 2017. Here are video highlights of Bowers from this season.

14. Mack Anderton, linebacker, Brentwood

Brentwood’s defense was one of the area’s best, giving up just 14.5 points per game. Anderton made more huge plays for the Bruins than anyone on that side of the ball. He had five fumble recoveries and three interceptions, adding 45 tackles and four stops for loss. Here’s a link to his Hudl page. 

13. Jordan McCoy, defensive line, Brentwood Academy

McCoy doubled as the Eagles’ center, which limited his defensive snaps somewhat. However, he had a productive year on defense, anyway. McCoy had 13 stops for loss, 3.5 sacks, 30.5 total tackles, an interception and a break-up. That came on a defense that allowed just 10.0 points a night. Here’s a link to McCoy’s Hudl page, which features video highlights throughout his career.

12. Michael Hunt, defensive line, Brentwood Academy

Hunt excelled as a pass-rushing specialist for BA. He collected 11.5 sacks as part of his 18 tackles for loss and his 43.5 total tackle. Hunt added a forced fumble, a blocked kick and a pair of pass break-ups. The Eagles went 12-0 and beat Montgomery Bell Academy for the state title. Here’s a link to Hunt’s Hudl page containing video highlights. 

11. Airin Spell, defensive line, Brentwood Academy

Spell (wearing No. 58 in the above photo) was a disruptive force for the Eagles. He had 39.5 total stops, 13.5 stops for loss and 5.5 sacks, despite being double-teamed often. He also recovered a fumble and broke up a pass. Spell played for a defense that yielded 10.0 points per game during a 12-0 season. Spell has posted video highlights of his senior season on his Hudl page. 

10. Tanner Antonutti, defensive line, Ensworth

Antonutti, an offensive line commitment for Tennessee, excelled on defensive for Ensworth in 2017. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Rivals three-star prospect had 29.5 total tackles, 12.5 for loss (7.5 sacks) and broke up a pair of passes, too. Ensworth allowed 17.3 points per game in its 7-4 season. Here’s a link to video highlights from his 2017 season. 

9. Kenyon Garlington, cornerback, Brentwood Academy

Garlington was the best defensive back on the best defense in our coverage area. His biggest day may have been in the state title game against Montgomery Bell Academy. He had an interception and also a touchdown-saving pass break-up midway through the fourth quarter in the state title game against Montgomery Bell Academy. The senior had 28.5 total tackles, 1.5 stops for loss, three interceptions, five pass break-ups and a fumble recovery for the 12-0 Eagles. You may see video highlights of his senior season here. 

8. Jaylon King, safety, Ensworth

King, playing safety, led an Ensworth defense that gave up just 17.3 points per game. He amassed 33.5 tackles, four interceptions, five break-ups, forced a fumble and recovered one. King doubled as a utility player on offense, throwing for 119 yards, rushing 47 times for 395 and catching 29 balls for 492 total yards. The senior scored four touchdowns in 2017 and will head to Georgia Tech as a defensive back. Here are video highlights of his senior campaign. 

7. C.J. Grissim, linebacker, Brentwood

Grissim ended a remarkably productive high school career as the leader of a Brentwood defense that gave up 14.5 points per game. He registered 73.5 total tackles, four stops for loss (two sacks) and had an interception and a forced fumble. Here’s a link to the Hudl page featuring highlights of his career. 

6.  Luke Knox, linebacker, Brentwood Academy

Knox teamed with Jackson Sirmon to form the best tandem of linebackers in the area. He ended 2017 with 47.5 tackles, 18 stops for loss, 10.5 sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a pass break-up. Knox has updated his Hudl page and posted highlights of his senior season. 

5. Tymon Mitchell, defensive lineman, Franklin Road Academy

Mitchell is a major college prospect with an offer list that includes South Carolina and Vanderbilt, and played like it as a junior. The three-star Rivals prospect led FRA with 58 total tackles and added 11 stops for loss and three sacks. Here are video highlights of his junior season. 

4. Chico Bennett, linebacker, Battle Ground Academy

BGA’s Chico Bennett had three sacks on Saturday.

Bennett transferred from Virginia for his junior season and set the world on fire at BGA in his first year in Tennessee. Bennett amassed 17 sacks and 22.5 stops for loss, both figures believed to be the best in our coverage area. He added a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery, and finished with 57.5 total tackles. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder should start receiving major college attention as he continues his rise out of anonymity. Here are some video highlights of his junior season.

3. Kane Patterson, linebacker, Christ Presbyterian Academy

Patterson likely would have been our Player of the Year if we combined offensive and defensive players into one ranking. On defense, Patterson had 66 tackles, 12 stops for loss (3.5 sacks) and an interception. He rushed 110 times for 1,003 yards and added six receptions for 67 more, and scored 23 total touchdowns. Patterson is ranked a three-star prospect by Rivals and has offers that include LSU, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. Patterson, a junior, projects as a college linebacker. He’s posted video highlights of his junior season to his Hudl page. 

2. Anthony McCarthy, linebacker, Ravenwood

McCarthy transferred into Ravenwood with no fanfare and played so well that he wound up No. 3 in our rankings. He led Ravenwood to a surprising 10-3 record and a Region 6-6A title. McCarthy’s 120.5 total tackles led our coverage area. His 20 tackles for loss were among the best there also. McCarthy added an interception, two forced fumbles and three recoveries, and he added two touchdowns and a safety. Here are some video highlights of his junior season. 

1. Jackson Sirmon, linebacker, Brentwood Academy

Sirmon was our preseason pick for Defensive Player of the Year. It stands to reason that the best player on the best defense (10.0 points per game) on the No. 6 team in America would end the season there. Sirmon picked up 71.5 tackles, 14 for loss (1.5 sacks), an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2017. The son of former NFL linebacker Peter Sirmon, Jackson also called the Eagles’ defense on the field. He’ll head to Washington to play linebacker in 2018. Here are video highlights of his senior season. 

In compiling this list, we considered players from our entire coverage area, which includes the following schools: Brentwood Academy, Battle Ground Academy, Brentwood High School, Centennial High School, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Ensworth, Fairview High School, Father Ryan High School, Franklin High School, Franklin Road Academy, Grace Christian Academy, Independence High School, Nolensville High School, Page High School, Ravenwood High School, Spring Hill High School, Summit High School. Although not all of these schools are within the boundaries of Williamson County, we know many of our parents have children at those schools and are interested in their sports programs; therefore, we consider all football players at these schools.