Peach County has fielded seven first-team all-state linebackers in coach Chad Campbell’s 27 seasons at the school, but none that he rates higher than Sergio Allen, a four-star recruit committed to Clemson.
Allen last season became the first Peach County player since defensive lineman Juaquin Feazell in 1993 to be named his classification's defensive player of the year. Allen had a career-high 122 tackles for the Class AAA runner-up.
Allen broke into the starting lineup as a freshman on a team that made the state semifinals. He has played in two state finals and for three region championship teams.
More on position previews
“After preseason as a freshman, we thought we had something special,” Campbell said. “He played outside and inside linebacker, but what he could really do was rush the passer. If you ask him today, he loves to play defensive end. He understands blocking schemes very well and knows where he should fit and has great vision.”
Allen typically comes up the middle, not off the edge. He's a 6-foot-1, 215-pound middle linebacker with 43 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in his career.
“What he has done this offseason is really gotten faster, and you can see a bigger burst in him,” Campbell said. “He doesn’t miss many tackles, so he is a good tackler in the box and in space.”
Below are 10 of the state’s best linebackers for 2019. GHSF Daily will publish its 10 best at each position over nine issues in preseason. The players' status as recruits is a factor, but the choices are made largely on production as high school players.
• Sergio Allen, Peach County: A veteran of 14 state playoff games and counting, Allen has 283 career tackles. He's a top-200 national recruit.
• Chaz Chambliss, Carrollton: Chambliss was already 6-foot-3, 230 pounds as a freshman starter in 2017. In two seasons, he has 44 tackles for losses and 22 sacks. Chambliss is an uncommitted four-star recruit.
• Tyson Meiguez, Creekside: Meiguez transferred from a small private school last season, and Creekside improved from 0-10 to 8-4. Playing on the edge, Meiguez had 118 tackles, 12 behind the line. A three-star recruit, Meiguez has committed to Georgia Tech.
• Isaiah Ratcliff, Cedar Grove: Ratcliff, an inside linebacker, had 110 tackles on a state championship team, and that was a down year as he struggled with injuries. He made all-state as a sophomore. Ratcliff (6-1, 205) is a three-star recruit with offers from every Power 5 conference.
• Wesley Steiner, Houston County: Steiner blew up as a recruit in the offseason and topped it off by receiving the highest rating for athleticism at The Opening nationals in Texas last month. He's now the consensus No. 4 inside LB prospect nationally and committed to Auburn. Steiner was primarily a running back as a sophomore and still dabbled on offense last season, when he had 42 tackles, seven for losses, on a 2-8 team.
• Kevin Swint, Carrollton: Swint, a first-team all-state performer in 2018, joins Chambliss to form the state's best linebacker duo. Swint (6-2, 240) is an inside linebacker. He has 50.5 tackles for losses and 25 sacks over the past two seasons. He's a top-250 national recruit committed to Clemson.
• Desmond Tisdol, Wilcox County: An inside linebacker, Tisdol was the co-defensive player of the year in Region 2-A and first-team all-state despite playing on a 5-6 team. He had 12.5 tackles for losses and scored four times on fumble returns. He also had 645 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Tisdol (6-0, 215) is an uncommitted four-star recruit.
• Phillip Webb, Lanier: A long, fierce pass rusher who had 10.5 sacks and 27 QB hurries as a junior, Webb was a first-team all-state player last season, when he helped Lanier reach the Class AAAAAA semifinals. Webb (6-4, 220) is the consensus No. 4 outside LB prospect nationally. His reported college favorites are LSU, Alabama and Auburn.
• Kameron Wilson, Mount Zion (Jonesboro): Wilson had 16.5 sacks for a 2-8 team that returns 17 starters and three Division I-committed recruits. Wilson is committed to Louisville.
• Kobe Wilson, Parkview: Wilson was the defensive player of the year in Region 7-AAAAAAA last season on an 11-1 team. He's Parkview's hardest-working player, his coaches say. Wilson had 81 solo tackles in 2018. He is a three-star recruit committed to Memphis.
Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.