Williamson County high schools are loaded with great football players this season, making the selection of our Preseason Defensive Players of the Year a tough task.
Our coverage area includes schools inside the Williamson County area– Brentwood Academy, Brentwood, BGA, Fairview, Franklin, Grace Christian Academy, Independence, Nolensville, Page, Ravenwood and Summit–as well as schools just outside the borders (Christ Presbyterian Academy, Ensworth, Father Ryan, Franklin Road Academy and Spring Hill) that have Williamson County residents on their rosters.
Now, here’s the list.
10. Tristan Mann
Fairview, linebacker, Sr., 6-0, 220
Preseason all-state pick had over 100 tackles in 2016. Will again play middle linebacker, where he uses strength and leverage to fight off blocks, get through traffic and get to the ball carrier. He’s more of an asset against the run, though he’s shown pass-rush ability.
9. Tanner Antonutti
Ensworth, Sr., defensive end, 6-5, 260
Not many players in the area are more versatile than Antonutti, a Tennessee offensive tackle commitment who is a three-star recruit and the No. 33 senior in Tennessee, according to Rivals. The senior has lined up at punter, tight end and offensive tackle, in addition to his defensive work. Though more of his highlights seemed to have come on offense, Antonutti has shown ability as both an edge rusher and against the run. Named to TNHighSchoolFootball.com’s 2017 Preseason Dream Team as a first-team player, albeit as an offensive lineman.
8. Tymon Mitchell
Franklin Road Academy, Jr., defensive line, 6-5, 290
Mitchell made plenty of plays in the opponents’ backfield in 2016, earning all-region honors as a sophomore. He’s quick off the ball and can play inside and outside, and often draws double teams. Rivals ranks him as the No. 28 player in Tennessee for the 2019 class, and named him a three-star recruit, as did 247 Sports. His offer list includes Louisville and Vanderbilt. Named to TNHighSchoolFootball.com’s 2017 Preseason Dream Team as a second-teamer, though that came an offensive lineman.
7. C.J. Grissim
Brentwood, linebacker, Sr., 5-11, 200
His district’s Defensive Player of the Year as a junior, few players in the area are as productive as Grissim, who had over 150 tackles, with seven coming for loss, in 2016. Named to TNHighSchoolFootball.com’s 2017 Preseason Dream Team as a first-teamer.
6. Kel Hawkins
Battle Ground Academy, Sr., cornerback, 5-11, 160
A versatile, smooth offensive and defensive player, Hawkins had 35 tackles and five interceptions in 2016. He has exceptional change-of-direction skills when the ball’s in his hands.
5. Jevon Robertson
Independence, Sr., safety, 5-9, 155
Earned all-region honors as a junior; had four interceptions and 109 total tackles. Named to TNHighSchoolFootball.com’s 2017 Preseason Dream Team as a first-team selection.
4. Daniel Taylor
Brentwood Academy, Sr., cornerback, 5-10, 170
A Navy commitment who is considered a three-star prospect by 247 Sports, Taylor is a versatile player who helps BA in all three phases of the game. Taylor picked off two passes as a junior, but he’s got skills beyond pass coverage. He’s a defender who has to be accounted for against the run, and has shown the ability to get off blocks and make tackles in the open field. He was named to TNHighSchoolFootball.com’s 2017 Preseason Dream Team as a first-team pick.
3. Kane Patterson
Christ Presbyterian Academy, Jr., linebacker, 6-1, 205
As a sophomore, Patterson had 108 tackles, with 18 for loss and seven sacks. He shows good instincts and sideline-to-sideline speed and the ability to burst into the backfield to disrupt plays, as well as a talent for bringing down players in the open field. The Rivals three-star prospect has reported offers from Louisville, LSU, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
2. Wesley Walker
Ensworth, Jr., cornerback, 6-1, 175
A tough, aggressive, physics player with excellent open-field tackling skills, Rivals ranks Walker as a three-star recruit and the 25th-best cornerback in the Class of 2019, while 247 Sports awarded Walker four stars. His offer list includes Tennessee, Vanderbilt, LSU and Notre Dame.
1. Jackson Sirmon
Brentwood Academy, Sr., linebacker, 6-3, 225
A complete football player with great instincts who is outstanding in coverage, can get after the quarterback and also fight through traffic to make plays in the run game. He has also served as the punt snapper. The son of former Tennessee Titans linebacker (and current Louisville defensive coordinator) Peter Sirmon, the younger Sirmon will head to the University of Washington to play linebacker there next season. Rated as a three-star recruit and the No. 20 player in Tennessee by Rivals, while 247 Sports ranks him 12th in the state and also a three-star.
Others to watch:
Jordan McCoy, Sr., Brentwood Academy, defensive line
Jariel Wilson, Jr., Centennial, safety
Harrison Smith, Sr., Brentwood Academy, punter
Domenic Ferrari, Sr., Christ Presbyterian Academy, defensive lineman
Jacquise Ogelsby, Jr., Spring Hill, defensive line
Javari Braden, Jr., Spring Hill, linebacker
Disclaimer: 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, despite what county they live in, for our Top 10 honors.