Sentiment around the world of football claims that defense wins championships, and while that is an over-used phrase in the sport, it doesn’t make it any less true.
The Recruiting Class of 2016 reflects this old time saying as Clarion Football obtained 12 defensive recruits to help anchor what was an improved defense last season for the Golden Eagles.
Although there are many departing seniors on the defensive side, the new faces can and will shape the Clarion unit in their own ways with many of the recruits boasting a variety of skills.
Starting up front in the trenches is always a good place to begin.
This group being the defensive ends and nose guards who without recognition from most football fans are the one of the most integral part of any defense.
Leaving last year’s unit will be three big names that the Golden Eagles will certainly miss next season.
The first being Kwame Bell, who was a constant force from the edge over the last few seasons with Clarion.
There could also be arguments that he was Clarion’s best defensive player contributing three sacks, eight tackles for loss, and 45 tackles, while being double teamed by opposing lines for most of the season.
Other key losses for the line are Andrew Fragale and Brandon Short, who both played major roles for Clarion on the defensive line.
Here are the defensive recruits for the fall of 2016.
Clarion head coach Chris Weibel will attempt to fill these voids with returning starter Tyrone Archie and lone recruit in the group, Dante Paul.
Paul is a standout defensive end from Berlin, Pa and possesses the elements needing to be effective at the college level.
His downhill play and ability to work through double teams that go along with his quick and violent hands off the snap should make him a good fit for Clarion.
Moving up a level on the defensive side brings us to the linebackers, which are the heart and soul of any great defense.
The Golden Eagles will have four new names in this area of the defense, which will be needed with two seniors leaving voids behind.
Gritty veteran and leader Rocco Yauger, who was second on the team in tackles with 62, will be a big gap to fill for Coach Weibel.
One recruit who should fill in well is top recruit Kevin Allen out of Virginia.
Allen was the Patriot Conference Player of the Year and was also All-State.
When reviewing Allen on video, it is immediately clear how strong he is on the field, which reflects an off the field work ethic.
Another great quality of a linebacker is the ability to consistently make tackles, and Allen is exceptional at this, especially when in pursuit of a ball carrier outside the tackle box.
Other linebackers the Golden Eagles picked up on signing day were ShyQuan Barnes, Brendon Carlson and Adam Staudt.
Carlson will bring in his speed to the outside rush as an outsider backer; he has also shown through video to play well in the flats and in the middle when dropping into coverage.
To round out the defensive recruits, Clarion signed a whopping seven defensive backs.
Of the defensive backs, there were four free safeties, one strong safety and a pair of corners.
The free safeties include Ryan Adams, Brad Gable, Jared Massengill and Wade Stieren.
The lone strong safety, Sam Fareri from South Park, Pa, is excellent in run support and has shown to be a turnover machine down the field.
The two corners, Tyrone Cromwell and Chris Gildea will be welcome additions to the pass defense of Clarion.