Skip to main content

Vote: Who should be the South Florida defensive player of the first half of 2023?

Here 25 candidates for your voting consideration
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Offense may get most of the attention, but defense wins championships.

South Florida schools are aware of what it takes to win titles, which is a big reason why the area annually produces so many state champions.

Even schools with high-powered offenses are strong on defense. It’s a common thread from last year’s local state winners – Chaminade-Madonna (Class 1M), Miami Central (Class 2M), St. Thomas Aquinas (Class 3M) and Columbus (Class 4M).

South Florida is loaded again with top defensive players, and SBLive Sports Florida is recognizing them each week in our weekly polls.

Now that we’re approaching the midway point of the football season, SBLive Sports Florida is widening its net and asking the fans to decide who is deserving of South Florida Midseason Defensive Player honors.

As a reminder, you can also still vote in our top offensive player, which was posted on Sept. 28. Vote as often as you like. Voting on both polls concludes on October 20th.

The top defensive candidates for the first half are:

RJ Alphonse, DE, Goleman: The sophomore has been a difference maker up front with nine solo tackles in his first three games.

Darryl Bell, DB, Goleman: One of the most versatile players in South Florida, Bell is a team leader, and also a standout on offense.

Gabriel Birnbaum, DE, Monarch: Committed to Florida Atlantic, Birnbaum has been one of the steadiest performers in Broward County with his eight sacks.

Kedrick Burley, DL, St. Thomas Aquinas: Burley has seven sacks and 10 hurries in his first five games.

Germaine Carter, DL, Miami Norland: The senior, who has committed to Florida International University, is part of a terrific Vikings’ defense. Carter has four sacks.

Trevon Chisholm, DE, Monarch: Averaging about seven tackles a game, Chisholm paces his team in that category, and he has eight sacks, and 19 hurries.

Hector Chavez, LB, Columbus: A junior, Chavez paces the Explorers in tackles, averaging about seven per game, including a sack and interception.

Zachary Crothers, DE, Chaminade-Madonna: A senior who has committed to Pittsburgh, Crothers averages five tackles a game, to go along with five sacks, and an interception returned for a touchdown.

Curtis Janvier, DB, Chaminade-Madonna: Committed to Florida Atlantic, Janvier had a pick-six against American Heritage and logged two interceptions against Miami Central. That shows his big play ability.

Brendan Leal, LB, Western: A leader on a talented Western defense, Leal also on occasion is used at running back in short yardage situations.

Xavier Lucas, DB, American Heritage: A Wisconsin commit, Lucas often draws his opponent’s top receiver. The senior has one interception.

Ezekiel Marcelin, LB, Miami Central: The four-star linebacker is being heavily recruited. He has plenty of time to make his decision, since he’s a junior. Already he has four sacks, and a fumble recovery.

Lawayne McCoy: DB/WR, Miami Central: The Florida State commit could easily be in both the top offensive player poll as well. The senior is one of the best all-around players in the area.

Willis McGahee IV, LB, Columbus: The son of former Miami Hurricanes and NFL running back, McGahee is a four-star performer and Nebraska commit. The senior has four sacks and five hurries through his first five games.

Samuel Mitchell IV, DE, Pembroke Pines Charter: Mitchell recently won a SBLive Sports Florida defensive player of the week poll. For the season, the junior has seven sacks and 12 hurries.

Eduardo Nunez, LB, Homestead: The senior leads the Broncos in tackles, averaging 9.5 per game, with six for losses. Bowling Green has showed a lot of interest in the senior.

Ivan Pagan, LB, Cardinal Gibbons: On a physical Chiefs’ defense, Pagan averages seven tackles a game, which is tops on the team.

Kal-el Pascal, DB, Dr. Krop: Through the first four games, Pascal averaged 11 tackles per game. The senior is being recruited by Georgia Tech and Maryland.

Zaquan Patterson, ATH, Chaminade-Madonna: Patterson is the definition of an “athlete” because he’s all over the field, averaging seven tackles a game, with a sack and interception. The four-star is committed to the University of Miami.

Trevor Sommers, DL, St. Thomas Aquinas: The junior is an impactful pass rusher with seven sacks and 10 hurries in the first half.

Evan Tempro, LB, Westminster Academy: The senior is a captain and paces his team in tackles with seven per game, and has 3 ½ sacks.

Omar Thornton, LB, American Heritage Plantation: The senior leads the Patriots in tackles, averaging about seven a game to go with a couple of sacks and an interception.

Caleb Turner-Allen, DE, Dr. Krop: Turner-Allen is having a huge first half with 12.5 sacks.

Amari Wallace, DB, Miami Central: A four-star junior who has offers from major colleges is making his impact on the field. He had a big pick against Chaminade-Madonna.

Dwayne Wimbley Jr., DE, Westminster Academy: A junior who also is a receiver (averaging 138 yards per game), is a top pass rusher with five sacks.