football Edit

Nick's Pick Six: Defensive names to know this season and beyond

As the halfway mark of the football’s regular season approaches, there are a number of players that analyst Nick Krueger is intrigued by in the state of Texas. Many of the top prospects in the state are already accounted for, but here is a quick look at three linebackers and three defensive ends whose recruitment has yet to start in earnest, but shouldn’t be overlooked by FBS programs.


Josh Carr actually has a pair of FBS offers in Louisiana-Monroe and Tulane, but is otherwise a pretty widely unknown commodity. He plays alongside Rivals250 defensive tackle Keondre Coburn, who has garnered most of the recruiting attention on his team, but as a weakside pass-rusher, Carr has the look of a player that can provide some good value off the edge. Texas has a notable recent history of producing hybrid defensive end-linebacker players with length and speed, and Carr is another example of a player in that mold that can bring some versatility on third downs to some program next season.

Paul Akere is another player in the same vein as Carr, but when seen in person this season, seemed more effective and a little more willing to stick his nose in the thick of things when defending the run. Like Carr, Akere might be equally as effective at this point as a stand-up rusher rather than coming off the line with his hand in the turf, but his length and athleticism make him an intriguing prospect that has gone largely unrecruited. In the spring, Akere played with Hebron’s 7-on-7 team as a linebacker. Despite playing for a team that should have the eyes of several FBS programs on it with other players recruited by FBS teams, Akere hasn’t been able to pull significant interest himself, but has the look of a player that should have something going for him based on his physical traits alone.

Don’t worry about trying to pronounce his name. All you need to know is that this guy lives in opponents’ backfields. He plays for a team and in a district for Austin-Vandegrift that isn’t going to garner a lot of attention relative to some other state power programs, but Oso Ifesinachukwu is a potential game-changer defensively. What likely furthers the lack of attention he’s received on the recruiting front is his lack of interest in a social media presence. Oso was seen in person during the state playoffs last season, but has picked right back up where he left off this year, with 57 total tackles and 7 sacks in just four games played.

DeSoto has no shortage of linebacker talent, but Tyler Jackson was easily the most visible player of the group on the camp circuit this past offseason. Jackson has snagged a few FCS offers, but has yet to come away with his first from an FBS program. As a player that supplies an endless amount of energy, is a willing defender in pass-coverage and is always working back to the ball, he’s already had a couple of standout performances, highlighted by an 18 tackle, 2 sack performance in the Eagles’ Week 2 win against Denton-Guyer this season. This week in a big matchup against Cedar Hill, Jackson racked up another 12 total tackles and a sack.

Isaiah Ibeto is your traditional downhill middle linebacker and packs a wallop when he delivers his hits to ball-carriers. While it’s puzzling that some of the other names on this list go overlooked despite other FBS-level talent on their teams, Ibeto might suffer from too much FBS talent around him. Every member of Houston-Lamar’s secondary is a ranked player and four-star defensive end Joshua Landry draws eyes to the line, but Ibeto is the guy that is finishing off most of the plays for the Texans.

Bonus Pick: Also in Houston, Heights inside linebacker Josh Reed is another player that checks many of the same boxes as Ibeto and has yet to come away with more than an offer from Abilene Christian coming into this season. He’s had some flirtation with some Group of Five schools, but as a big body that can run-and-hit with the best of them, he should have received some more attention than he’s received by now.

Regardless of what may or may not happen for the other players on this list, Kendrick Blackshire is certain to be a heavily recruited player over the next few years. Blackshire is a freshman playing at 6-3, 230-pounds. Right now, he’s an inside linebacker for Mesquite Horn, but with that size and athleticism, his potential as a defender could go in a number of directions. He’s already grabbed a couple of offers from LSU and Kansas, but many more are sure to follow.