From the Road: Defensive standouts

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Rivals.com recruiting analysts were out again this past weekend, taking in games or scrimmages involving some of the nation's top prospects.
Here are some rundowns on the top Class of 2009 defensive prospects and underclassmen on both sides of the ball they saw in person, listed alphabetically.
PROSPECT EVALS: Defensive Prospects | Underclassmen
ATH GERALD HODGES (6-3/211), Paulsboro (N.J.) High
PERFORMANCE: Hodges had eight tackles, with three for a loss, during a 33-0 victory over Haddon Heights (N.J.) High in Paulsboro's opener. On offense, he mainly saw action at running back and wide receiver after playing quarterback as a junior.
STRENGTHS: Hodges is an extremely aggressive player who plays well close to the line of scrimmage and is excellent in run support. He is also physically impressive and has the frame to still add on substantial size. He likely will be a linebacker at the next level.
WEAKNESSES: Considering the game was a blowout from the start, Hodges seemed to lack motivation after a certain point and lost focus at times. – MIKE FARRELL
DT TAY IRVIN (6-0/310), LaGrange (Ga.) Troup Co.
PERFORMANCE: Really wreaked havoc in the backfield, recording three tackles for a loss, two sacks and several quarterback pressures in a 14-7 loss to Dunwoody (Ga.) High.
STRENGTHS: Powerful and has a low center of gravity, making it impossible to push him off the line of scrimmage. His body type is perfect for short-yardage situations.
WEAKNESSES: Ideally needs to lose about 15-20 pounds; this should help with his conditioning and allow him to take more snaps during the course of the game at the next level. – BARRY EVERY
DE DUAN PEREZ-MEANS (6-3/220), Richmond (Va.) Hermitage
COMMITTED TO: Virginia Tech
PERFORMANCE: Perez-Means had three tackles with one for a loss in Hermitage's 20-13 loss to Richmond (Va.) Meadowbrook. He played wide receiver on offense and had one catch for 30 yards.
STRENGTHS: Perez-Means has a nice first step and showed an excellent motor despite being dominated when lined up against Morgan Moses. When he was against other linemen, he got penetration, ran a few runners down and read the play well. He has good hands on offense and played through a knee injury in the second half.
WEAKNESSES: Perez-Means needs to get stronger and develop more pass-rushing moves. He tried to go outside on Moses most of the game and it didn't work. It's unfair to critique him too much, though, as he was going against the top offensive lineman in the country. – M.F.
DE SAM MONTGOMERY (6-4/230), Greenwood (S.C.) High
CONSIDERING: He claims to be wide open.
PERFORMANCE: Played linebacker for the first time and recorded seven solo tackles and one sack in a 28-10 loss to Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman.
STRENGTHS: Has excellent lateral movement; can catch most plays run away from him and he never gives up on a play. Montgomery possesses a lean muscular body type that can easily add 20 more pounds.
WEAKNESSES: He struggled at the point of attack when plays were run straight at him. In his defense, he was playing a new position. Montgomery will be best-suited playing with his hand on the ground at the next level. – B.E.
DT DILLON QUINN (6-6/295), Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity Pawling
COMMITTED TO: Boston College
PERFORMANCE: Quinn had three tackles, with one for a loss, and a quarterback hurry in Trinity Pawling's scrimmage against Cheshire (Conn.) Cheshire Academy. He also played guard. Score was not kept.
STRENGTHS: Quinn is physical, and his size and strength allow him to take on double-teams and still get into the offensive backfield. As an offensive lineman, he's good at getting his arms extended and he loves to play aggressively.
WEAKNESSES: Quinn still is learning the game and is raw; he needs to find the ball a bit quicker on defense and flatten down the line of scrimmage to support the run when he's at defensive end. – M.F.
LB SHAYNE SKOV (6-3/235), Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity Pawling
PERFORMANCE: Skov had four tackles, with three for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble in Trinity Pawling's scrimmage against Cheshire (Conn.) Cheshire Academy. On offense, he caught two touchdown passes (20 yards and 38 yards) playing wide receiver. Score was not kept.
STRENGTHS: Skov is a physical linebacker and loves to hit. When he hits someone, you can hear it. He's also athletic and showed it on offense: He made some nice catches, then made people miss afterward. But his future is at linebacker, and he makes everyone pay for coming across the middle. He is fluid in coverage.
WEAKNESSES: This is Skov's first season at linebacker (he played safety as a junior), so he needs to read the play better and stay in position. He's successful at making the big hit, but at the next level, he'll need to wrap up opponents more. – M.F.
S D.J. SWEARINGER (5-11/191), Greenwood (S.C.) High
PERFORMANCE: Was in on a multitude of tackles but left the game with cramps after three quarters in a 28-10 loss to Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman.
STRENGTHS: Built like a small linebacker and he hits like one. Really has an affinity for playing the run and knocking the pile backward.
WEAKNESSES: Seems a bit stiff and struggles in space on one-on-one tackles. His body type and mentality are better-suited for strong safety. – B.E.
ATH DESMOND COBLE (5-11/175), Richmond (Va.) Meadowbrook
PERFORMANCE: Coble was 14-of-22 for 233 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 32 seconds left, in Meadowbrook's 20-13 win over Richmond (Va.) Hermitage. He also ran for 70 yards on 15 carries and played some free safety, intercepting a pass to seal the win.
STRENGTHS: Coble is an outstanding athlete and a leader. He's a big play waiting to happen. He made something out of nothing on many of his scrambles, and he throws a nice ball on the run. His game-winning touchdown pass was a thing of beauty. On defense, he has excellent ball skills and isn't afraid to be physical.
WEAKNESSES: Coble's mechanics at quarterback need work and he's more of an athlete than a signal-caller. On defense, he needs to add some strength and weight to support the run. – M.F.
DT NICK CURL (6-3/270), Paulsboro (N.J.) High
PERFORMANCE: Curl mainly saw action as a defensive tackle during Paulsboro's 33-0 victory over Haddon Heights (N.J.) High. He finished the game with five tackles.
STRENGTHS: Curl has a nice frame and good feet, and he possesses impressive lower-body strength for a player of his age. His pad level is good for a younger player.
WEAKNESSES: In contrast to his lower body, Curl needs to build up the strength in his upper body. He also needs to learn how to use his hands better. – M.F.
LB CURTIS GRANT (6-2/205), Richmond (Va.) Hermitage
PERFORMANCE: Grant had seven tackles, including one for a loss, in Hermitage's 20-13 loss to Richmond (Va.) Meadowbrook.
STRENGTHS: Grant is a man-child with his size and long arms at such a young age. He's a vicious hitter and loves making opponents pay when they come across the middle. He knocked a wide receiver silly early, putting him out for the game. He also shoots the gap well.
WEAKNESSES: Grant is still raw and gets enveloped by blockers at times. His physical nature also takes a toll on him, as he played much of the second half while limping; still, he showed his toughness playing through it. – M.F.
LB ZACH GREENWALD (6-1/220), Paulsboro (N.J.) High
PERFORMANCE: Lining up at middle linebacker, Greenwald finished with 12 tackles, including three for a loss, during a 33-0 victory over Haddon Heights (N.J.) High. He also punted.
STRENGTHS: Greenwald is the motivational leader of the defense and calls all the play from his middle linebacker position. He is a strong player with good feet and is extremely aggressive.
WEAKNESSES: Greenwald is good at attacking the ball, but he needs to work on his sideline-to-sideline speed. – M.F.
LB DARYL HOWELL (6-0/230) Richmond (Va.) Hermitage
PERFORMANCE: Howell had five tackles playing inside linebacker for Hermitage in its 20-13 loss to Richmond (Va.) Meadowbrook.
STRENGTHS: Howell is physical, and is excellent in run support, as he has the size and strength to take on bigger blockers. He is good at scraping off blocks and still making a play when the run comes at him, and he's a big hitter. He shows no fear when taking on blocks.
WEAKNESSES: Howell needs to work on his side-to-side quickness, and he needs to get faster to run plays down to the sideline. – M.F.
CB TRAVIS HURD (5-8/180), Cheshire (Conn.) Cheshire Academy
PERFORMANCE: Hurd had numerous tackles in Cheshire's scrimmage against Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity Pawling. Score was not kept.
STRENGTHS: Hurd is a big hitter and adept at making tackles in the open field. He is fearless despite his lack of size and punishes opponents, especially when defending against the run.
WEAKNESSES: Hurd's size is his biggest issue at the next level. If he can add a couple of inches, he'll get some looks. – M.F.
RB JOSH JOHNSON (5-9/177), Haddon Heights (N.J.) High
PERFORMANCE: Johnson rushed for 113 yards on 23 carries on Haddon Heights' 33-0 loss to Paulsboro (N.J.) High. He also played cornerback and had quite a few impressive tackles.
STRENGTHS: Despite his size, Johnson is a hard-nosed runner who is difficult to bring down. He also hits the hole hard and without hesitation. On defense, he was a surprisingly hard hitter from his cornerback position.
WEAKNESSES: Johnson seems to lack breakaway speed, and although it was only one game, he did lose two fumbles. – M.F.
RB DARRIAN MILLER (5-10/180), Blue Springs (Mo.) High
PERFORMANCE: Miller carried the ball 31 times for 176 yards and three touchdowns, including a 2-yard score in overtime that helped break Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst's 15-game winning streak.
STRENGTHS: A tough runner who showed good balance, good vision and the ability to run both inside and outside.
WEAKNESSES: Is listed as 5-10, but might be more like 5-8 or 5-9, and will have to always be physically tougher than other guys because of his lack of size. – JEREMY CRABTREE
WR CHARONE PEAKE (6-3/185), Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman
CONSIDERING: Already has interest from South Carolina and Clemson.
PERFORMANCE: Had two catches for 50 yards and one run of 15 yards in 28-10 victory over Greenwood (S.C.) High.
STRENGTHS: Demonstrated excellent hands and concentration on a long pass over the middle as he was upended in mid-air by D.J. Swearinger. Also brings to the table excellent basketball skills and a body type similar to that of Georgia freshman WR A.J. Green.
WEAKNESSES: Peake needs to get more balls thrown his way, Dorman really keeps the ball on the ground. Will need to add strength and at least 15 pounds over the next few years. – B.E.
CB CARDARIOUS SANDERS (6-1/187), LaGrange (Ga.) Troup
CONSIDERING: Georgia Tech and Auburn are recruiting the hardest.
PERFORMANCE: Did an excellent job locking down the receivers on his side of the field, had at least two pass breakups and also did a nice job fielding punts and kickoffs in a 14-7 loss to Dunwoody (Ga.) High.
STRENGTHS: Has tremendous height for a corner and the hips to go with the position. He also uses his long arms to knock the receiver off their route at the line of scrimmage.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to do less dancing as a return man and just take off vertically. Also may need to work just a tad on his overall speed. – B.E.
C JAKE SCHAAP (6-3/285), Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity Pawling
PERFORMANCE: Schaap played center in Trinity Pawling's scrimmage against Cheshire (Conn.) Cheshire Academy. Score was not kept.
STRENGTHS: Schaap has good size for a center and plays a physical brand of football. He's technically sound and is good when it comes to the center-quarterback exchange.
WEAKNESSES: Schaap needs to add more mobility and be a bit better in space and at the second level. – M.F.
WR KEESTON TERRY (6-3/180), Blue Springs (Mo.) High
CONSIDERING: Terry already has a Missouri offer but is undecided on other schools
PERFORMANCE: Terry was all over the field at receiver, safety, running back and kickoff returner before getting injured late in the first half in a victory over Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst.
STRENGTHS: A versatile player who can do it all. A ball-hawking defensive back, he always was near the football. But where he was most effective was on offense, displaying great hands and an explosive first step after the catch.
WEAKNESSES: Wasn't able to fight through the pain and couldn't play in the second half and in overtime when the game was on the line.– J.C.