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Tampa Bay Times' all-Tampa Bay defensive football teams

Wiregrass Ranch defensive back Jordan Miner (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)
Wiregrass Ranch defensive back Jordan Miner (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)
Published Dec. 22, 2017

Defense

North Suncoast Defensive Player of the Year

CB Jordan Miner, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch

Why we picked him: The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior was all over the field. As the top player in the secondary, opponents tried to stay away from Miner. He still managed to get four interceptions. Perhaps the biggest one came in an early-season win over Zephyrhills. The Bulldogs trailed by two points and were at the Bulls' 1-yard line in the final minute. Zephyrhills quarterback Charles Harrison III attempted a pass, but Miner intercepted it to secure the 31-29 win.

Wiregrass Ranch finished 9-3 and won the school's first playoff game. Not only did Miner lock down receivers, he was dangerous on offense and special teams. He averaged more than 19 yards per punt return and more than 26 yards per kickoff return. He scored six rushing touchdowns, caught 17 passes and had three receiving touchdowns. He even threw a touchdown pass.

"He makes plays at memorable moments," Wiregrass Ranch coach Mark Kantor said. "He has swagger about him, the aura of him believing in himself to know that he is going to make a play at this point and time."

Did you know? Not only was he a standout football player, he also is on the basketball team. He's been on the varsity since his freshman year. Despite knowing he will play football in college, Miner is still playing basketball in his senior year. He is averaging 5.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a guard.

"I know he's going to be in for great things," basketball coach Jeremy Calzone said. "He's got great character. He can do everything he wants on the football field but for me his character is what makes him great. I'm so proud to know him because of his character."

What's next: On Wednesday, Miner signed his letter of intent with Penn State. He joins Plant TE Judge Culpepper as two Tampa Bay players going to Penn State. He is now the second college football player in his family. His older brother, Jaye, played at Florida Atlantic.

Hillsborough County Defensive Player of the Year

LB James Miller, Sr., Armwood

Why we picked him: Armwood's defense was a constellation of stars with highly touted prospects on every unit. The defensive line had big-name prospects. So, too, did the linebacking corps. But the player that was a catalyst, the one that turned this group into the ferocious group it became this season was Miller.

"Without hesitation James was out guy," defensive coordinator Kyle Worden said.

Miller made plays that came with an explanation point, delivering vicious hits. He finished with 164 tackles, 11 sacks, nine forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, five blocked punts and two blocked field goals.

Most of those tackles came from behind the line of scrimmage. He had 44 tackles for loss and finished his two-year career as a starter with a school-record 64.

The ability to deliver the big play was instrumental in Armwood allowing just 98 points and posting four shutouts this season. It also helped the Hawks reach the Class 6A state championship game.

"Just to get to that championship game was memorable," Miller said. "I prepared for that game just like any other but there was such a wave running through me and I felt like a played a good game, too."

Did you know? Miller likes to cook and said he has tried about 12 different meals. Nothing gourmet yet. "I'd like to try something like that, though," he said.

What's next: Miller still is narrowing his list of college choices. He plans to take visits next month and will likely make his college choice on national signing day.

Pinellas County Defensive Player of the Year

LB Logan Doublin, Sr., Largo

Why we picked him: As a freshman, Logan Doublin became a starter under first-year coach Marcus Paschal. The Packers made the playoffs in 2014, continuing a string of postseason appearances.

After that, Largo struggled, failing to make the playoffs each of the past two seasons.

Doublin vowed to change that.

The leader on one of the area's best defenses, Doublin helped turn things around with his performance. He finished the season with 156 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.

As the tackles piled up, so, too, did the wins. The Packers finished 8-3, winning the Class 6A, District 9 title and a playoff game for the first time in Doublin's high school career.

Largo clinched the district title with a win against Clearwater. After the game, Doublin carried a blue-and-gold hammer, a tool Paschal brought to the game as symbol for pounding away at previous frustrations to get to the top.

"The most memorable moment was beating Clearwater for the district title," Doublin said. "It's a big rivalry and we had lost to them the past two seasons."

Did you know? Doublin has a pair of tattoos on each arm. The one on his left arm is a three-leaf clover because he is Irish. The one on his right arm is an English rose because his mom is from Britain.

What's next: Doublin signed with Appalachian State on Friday. He said he reports May 28 for the first summer session. Doublin said he will playing weak-side linebacker in college.

First team

DL Malcolm Lamar, Sr., Armwood: Four-star recruit fought through double, even triple teams to finish with 48 tackles, five sacks and an interception.

DL Judge Culpepper, Sr., Plant: Penn State signee anchored one of the area's best defensive lines and finished with 77 tackles and eight sacks.

DL Jonathan King, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech: Oregon commit wreaked havoc in opposing backfields, finishing with 60 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

LB Micah McFadden, Sr., Plant: Indiana signee led the state in tackles with 211 and also had seven sacks and two fumble recoveries for the Class 7A state semifinalist.

LB Ricardo Watson, Jr., Armwood: Run stopper was turned loose this season and had 79 tackles, nine sacks and an interception on one of the best units in the area.

LB Matt Tauber, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic: Palm Harbor University transfer was second in the state in tackles (169) and helped the Marauders reach the Class 3A state semifinals.

LB Caleb Sutherland, Sr., Armwood: Toledo signee was a captain on a ferocious defense that allowed just 98 points and had four shutouts in 15 games.

DB Darren Turner, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech: Adept at stopping the run or the pass, the versatile playmaker finished with 45 tackles and five interceptions.

DB Jhonny Quest, Sr., Armwood: The first-year starter who has a high IQ on and off the field (6.3 weighted GPA) finished with 76 tackles.

DB Romain Mungin, Jr., Plant: The numbers were solid — 91 tackles and three interceptions — but it was big plays such as a blocked field goal against Lakeland in the playoffs that stood out.

DB Amari Burney, Sr., Calvary Christian: Florida signee provided air-tight coverage and was just as strong on offense (558 receiving) for the Class 3A region finalists.

UTIL Fitzroy Gardner, Sr., Armwood: Speed rusher flew past opposing offensive tackles to record a team-leading 16 sacks and 100 tackles.

P Carlos Rodriguez, Sr., Indian Rocks Christian: Possessing a strong and accurate leg, Rodriguez averaged 46.8 yards per kick and placed 10 inside the 20.

PR Kym-mani King, Jr., Mitchell: Shutdown corner was just as stellar in the kicking game, returning two kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns.

Second team

DL Antonio Hendry, Sr., Chamberlain

DL DJ Bullard, Sr., Largo

DL Bryce Love, Sr., Plant

LB Deandre Fitz-Henley, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic

LB Austen Wittish, Sr., Wesley Chapel

LB Nick Ferrini, Jr., Mitchell

LB Nick Terrana, Sr., Jesuit

DB De'Kwan Hughes, So., Armwood

DB Anthony Johnson, Sr., St. Petersburg

DB Jalen Jones, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic

DB Adam Rogers, Sr., Mitchell

UTIL Brandon Brooks, Sr., Plant

P Antwan Wilson, Sr., Lakewood

PR Dane Belton, Jr., Jesuit

Third team

DL Connor Jewel, Sr., Gaither

DL Anthony Nelson, Sr., Jesuit

DL Canyon Albergo, Sr., Mitchell

LB Dorien Gooch., Sr., Tampa Catholic

LB Riley Currey, Sr., Anclote

LB Dylan Ridolph, So., Wiregrass Ranch

LB Jahaad Malphus, Sr., Hillsborough

DB Emmanuel Forkuoh, Sr., Chamberlain

DB Marterrence Holloway, Sr., Hillsborough

DB Cameron Tisdale, Sr., Largo

DB Bryce Smith, Sr., River Ridge

UTIL Armani Adams, Sr., Lakewood

P Andrew Ilcken, Jr., Wharton

PR Tyrese Spain, Sr., Hillsborough

Honorable mention

Admiral Farragut: Sam Baker, Khalan Tolson; Anclote: Tim Dallaire, Manny Higgins, Deontrae Stacey, Noah Winans; Armwood: Warren Thompson; Berkeley Prep: Cody Benjamin; Blake: Patrick Keenan; Boca Ciega: Larry Brown, Dsoni Ross; Calvary Christian: D'andre Ferguson; Central: Isaiah Brown; Clearwater: Brandon Gary, Michael Smith, Jarius Williams; Clearwater Central Catholic: Rory Hicks, Austin Lett, Preston McDonald, Kennedy Roberts; Countryside: Ethan Gemma, Peyton Xayasone; East Lake: Joe Allastar, Josh Bowers, Jake Castle; Hernando: Ygenio Booker, Izzy Fields, Hayden Griffith, Collin Roberts, Bronson Tafelski; Indian Rocks Christian: Alejandro Bryant; Jesuit: Kendrick Torain; Lakewood: Khalid Davis, Dezhon Edwards, Adrian White, David Woods; Land O'Lakes: Kyle Leivas; Largo: Isaiah Bellamy, Solomon Brown, Jaquan Hiers, Calvin Lockett, Jaquaze Sorrells; Mitchell: Michael Lofton, Jakob Mattos, Stephaun Peters, Luis Rivera; Nature Coast: Grantt Beckford, Dajour Morgan, Zachary Powell; Newsome: Spencer Shrader; Northside Christian: Corey Yawn; Palm Harbor University: Brendan Thomas; Pasco: Darrion Robinson; Pinellas Park: Derek Bryant, Logan Cook, Rodney Sivils, Santiago Tovar; Plant: Evan Passath, Walter Wilbon III; River Ridge: Thomas Carrano, DJ Mann, Tyler Poirier; Springstead: Adrian Cabrera, Isaiah Delgado, Cory Fulkerson; St. Petersburg: Bryce Green, Jahlon Holland; Superior Collegiate: Keyvone Lee; Sunlake: Adam Jarvis, Grant Presson; Tampa Catholic: Ahmarean Brown, Messiah Turner; Tarpon Springs: J'von France, Tsyrus Gordon; Tampa Bay Tech: Isaiah Roseville; Weeki Wachee: Young Shaun; Wesley Chapel: Dexter Leverett, Malik Melvin; Wiregrass Ranch: Adrian Thomas; Zephyrhills: Tre'pavis Mobley, Cartrell Strong, Elijah Thomas, Sterlin Williams, Daniel Chacon; Zephyrhills Christian: Javion Hanner, Alonzo Sampson, Jalen Spencer

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