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Football

HS football position by position breakdown: Scouting the defensive linemen

Chris Harlan
| Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, 7:21 p.m.

Whether at end or tackle, these defensive linemen will cause trouble for offenses this fall.

Every high school team could use a pass-rushing end like Central Catholic’s Brian Dallas or a run-stuffing tackle like North Hills’ Lirion Murtezi. Their effort up front, drawing double teams and disrupting plays in the backfield, will boost an entire defense.

Dallas headlines this list of senior linemen, each earning all-conference honors a year ago. Three added their strength to defensive fronts that reached the WPIAL finals: Dallas in Class 6A, Tomi Woodson in 5A and Solvauhn Moreland in 3A.

1. Brian Dallas

Central Catholic

Sr., 6-4, 215

Dallas and David Green formed one of the WPIAL’s toughest pass-rushing tandems a season ago and both earned first-team all-conference honors in Class 6A. But with Green now at Pitt, Dallas becomes the focus of the Vikings’ defensive line. The defensive end holds FBS offers from Kent State and Toledo.

2. Jake Slinger

Upper St. Clair, sr., 6-1, 245

The defensive tackle was credited with 74 stops , including 11 tackles for a loss, and earned first-team all-conference honors in Class 5A last season. He’s also a standout wrestler for USC. He was the WPIAL Class AAA runner-up at 220 pounds and reached the state quarterfinals.

3. Lirion Murtezi

North Hills, sr., 6-3, 295

Murtezi is a prototypical nose tackle who’s hard to handle head on, but he’s more than muscle in the middle. He’s also shown the quickness to cause trouble in the backfield, earning him second-team all-conference honors in Class 5A last season.

4. Solvauhn Moreland

Aliquippa, sr., 6-3, 315

Moreland committed to Ball State in June. He also held FCS offers from Duquesne and Howard. He earned all-conference honors on both sides of the football last season in Class 3A as a first-team selection at defensive tackle and guard.

5. Tomi Woodson

Gateway, sr., 6-3, 240

Woodson had 103 tackles (47 solo) last season when Gateway won the WPIAL Class 5A title and finished as the state runner-up. He had seven tackles for a loss and three sacks. He earned all-conference honors at guard.

One to watch

J.B. Nelson

Mt. Lebanon, jr., 6-5, 285

Mt. Lebanon graduated a pair of talented linemen from last season’s lineup who are playing Division I football this fall: Corby Sorsdal (William & Mary) and Coleman Coco (Colgate). That clears room for Nelson , another big-bodied lineman with plenty of D1 potential.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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