FOUR & MORE: Best Inland Area LBs


1. Su’a Cravens, Vista Murrieta — The All-America has to play somewhere in this defense, and since he’s too smart to just play on the outside, one-on-one against a receiver, and too talented to use his 6-foot-1, 205-pound body as a missle as a safety, he’ll call plays and be a ball hawk at middle linebacker. Really, stick him anywhere and he’s going to make plays.

2. Bryce Smith, Vista Murrieta — The engine that makes the Broncos’ defense so tough, Smith (6-foot, 210 pounds) is a tackle monster and, if you will, sort of the Scottie Pippen to Su’a Cravens’ Michael Jordan. In the Southwestern League it pays to have a great defense, and Coach Coley Candaele has two of the Inland Area’s best defensive players in Cravens and Smith.

3. Daniel Castro, Riverside Arlington — The Lions have been, and continue to be one of the best defensive teams in the Riverside Unified School District thanks to players like Castro (6-foot-2, 215 pounds), a sack master coming off the edge for Coach Pat McCarthy.

4. Aaron Thomas, Riverside Poly — The emotional leader of a team in need of som inspiration, Thomas’ wildman comes out once he hits the gridiron. If the Bears are to make a push in the newly reformed Inland Valley League, they’ll do it with Thomas leading them out of the tunnel.

AND MORE: Lucas Jenkins, Big Bear — Unheralded but worthy of mention, Jenkins (6-foot-2, 192) is one of the hardest hitters in the Inland Area. In addition to his abilities as a run-stuffer, Coach Dave Griffiths will likely need Jenkins’ toughness to move the ball on offense as a fullback.

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