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Arizona’s top high school football players: Meet the state’s best linebackers

Who are the top linebackers in Arizona this season?

We’re taking a position-by-position look at some of the top players in Arizona high school football. This list focuses on the linebackers. 

There are hundreds of standout football players in Arizona and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive! Let us know about any other linebackers you think should be added.

Note: All statistics and information through Oct. 4 


Beckham Barney, jr., Mountain View

Barney is leading Class 6A in tackles this season with 77, averaging 12.8 per game. He also has four career interceptions. 

Nathan Beard, sr., Valley Vista

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Beard is an athletic linebacker who can tackle in space and get after the passer. Also a standout in wrestling and track, Beard had 67 total tackles and seven sacks as a junior and is on pace to surpass both marks this season.

Jack Bleier, sr., Basha

Bleier played defensive end as a junior and recorded 101 total tackles (20.5 for loss), 10 sacks and 34 quarterback hurries. He moved to inside linebacker for his senior season and is averaging 10 tackles per game.

Joseph Clark IV, sr., Saguaro

Clark IV is a pure athlete who plays a variety of positions on both sides of the ball for Saguaro, including linebacker. The three-star prospect committed to Northern Arizona in June.

Jaylyn Colter, so., Mountain Pointe

Colter is one of the most coveted sophomore recruits in Arizona. He transferred from Chaparral to Mountain Pointe following his freshman season and tallied 13 tackles and three sacks in his first game for the Pride. Colter’s offers include Arizona State and Oregon.

Zayden Cundiff, so., Florence

Another sophomore standout, Cundiff is averaging 12.5 tackles per game for Florence. He has 75 total tackles, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries this season.

Jaylen Dawson, sr., Desert Edge

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Dawson is a rock in the middle of Desert Edge’s defense at middle linebacker. The three-star senior’s offers include Air Force, Army and UNLV. Dawson is averaging eight tackles per game this year. 

Porter Delnoce, jr., Casteel

Delnoce was a varsity starter as a sophomore who recorded 71 total tackles and a pair of sacks. He is already at 55 tackles this season (averaging 9.2 per game) with five sacks and six quarterback hurries.

Champ Gennicks, sr., Red Mountain

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Gennicks is a three-sport athlete who also competes in wrestling and track. Gennicks notched 134 total tackles last season and has 66 as a senior, averaging 11 per game.

James Giggey, sr., Bradshaw Mountain

An imposing figure at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Giggey committed to Arizona State over the summer. He is a versatile defender who plays linebacker for Bradshaw Mountain and is averaging 12.6 tackles per game as a senior.

Markus Gonzales, sr., Marana

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Gonzales is the man in the middle of Marana’s defense. He had 73 total tackles and 3.5 sacks as a junior with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Raymond Jones, sr., Cactus

Jones recorded 103 total tackles as a junior before undergoing open heart surgery to fix a defect that was causing subaortic hemorrhage. He is fully recovered from the procedure and is averaging 9.4 tackles per game for Cactus.

Jonathan Kamara, sr., Desert Edge

Kamara looks the part of a Division I linebacker at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. The three-star Kansas commit is a versatile player who sees time at strong safety and linebacker for Desert Edge.

Andrew Kulhan, sr., Scottsdale Prep

Kulhan has been a tackling machine the past two seasons for Class 2A Scottsdale Prep. The middle linebacker had 100 total tackles as a junior and is already at 101 this season. He is leading the state in tackles and tackles per game (14).

Brody Michael, jr., American Leadership Academy Queen Creek

Michael is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who is averaging 10 tackles per game as a junior. Twelve of his 60 total tackles have gone for loss.

Dominic Mitchell, jr., Brophy College Prep

Mitchell can play nearly anywhere in the back seven of Brophy College Prep’s defense, but the junior really excels as a playmaking linebacker. The three-star recruit is averaging 6.2 tackles per game this season.

Carter Pruitt, sr., Arcadia

Pruitt, a three-year starter for Arcadia, has six career interceptions. He is also averaging eight tackles per game and has been a factor on offense with 14 catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns.

Naji Sherrod, sr., Hamilton

The 6-foot-2, 217-pound Hamilton is an aggressive senior who makes plays all over the field for Hamilton. He is averaging 7.4 tackles per game this season and holds offers from Bowling Green and Northern Arizona.

Keaton Stam, sr., Liberty

At 6-foot-2 and 228 pounds, Stam plays with physicality in the middle of Liberty’s defense. He had 104 total tackles and four sacks a season ago and is averaging 6.2 tackles per game this year. 

Zane Tallman, sr., Liberty

Playing alongside Keaton Stam, Tallman is a tackling machine as a senior linebacker/safety hybrid. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound athlete is leading the team at 7.8 tackles per game.

Boston Tilton, jr., Higley 

Tilton has excellent speed for a 6-foot-1, 235-pound middle linebacker. The junior is averaging nearly 10 tackles per game this season with seven sacks. 

-- Bob Lundeberg | @sblivesports