SportsDayHS will be breaking down and analyzing Dallas-area teams before the start of the 2022 season. Today we examine the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year along with the all-area defensive team.
Defensive Player of the Year
Anthony Hill, Denton Ryan, DL
Sr., 6-2, 225
He’s the No. 1 player on The Dallas Morning News’ top 100 recruits list for the Class of 2023. He’s the top-ranked linebacker in the country. He’s going to anchor a state-title hopeful’s defense this season.
Anthony Hill, a five-star Texas A&M pledge, is an easy choice for Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
A 5A Division I state champion as a sophomore and an all-state honoree as a junior, Hill had 131 tackles (18 for loss) with 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions last season. A two-way player, he also rushed for seven touchdowns — including a 59-yarder versus College Station in the 5A Division I regional final.
Anthony James, Wylie East
Sr., 6-5, 265
The four-star Washington pledge is the No. 1 defensive line recruit in the Dallas area for the Class of 2023, and was an All-District 7-5A Division I second-team honoree as a junior. 247Sports.com’s Chris Singletary wrote that James “is a guy with a lot of potential and positive traits.” He’s one of three star defensive lineman who’ll play in District 9-6A this fall, joining Garland Naaman Forest’s Markis Deal and Garland Lakeview’s Trey Wilson.
Enow Etta, Colleyville Covenant
Sr., 6-4, 260
Etta passes the eye test and the numbers test. The Michigan pledge made 17 sacks in 2020 and 22.5 in 2021, and with an 81-inch wingspan (per 247), he has 10 pass breakups to his name since his sophomore season, too. A four-star recruit, Etta projects to be one of the top defensive players in all of TAPPS this fall. He’s ranked as the 17th-best defensive line recruit in the country, according to 247.
Colin Simmons, Duncanville
Jr., 6-3, 225
The five-star junior is the nation’s top edge rusher recruit and already holds 42 scholarship offers, including from from Alabama, LSU and USC. Simmons was named a MaxPreps Sophomore All-American in 2021 after he had 68 tackles and 12 sacks for a Duncanville team that advanced to the 6A Division I state championship game. He’ll follow in the footsteps of Omari Abor, a five-star edge rusher now at Ohio State, who was last year’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Tre Williams, Parish Episcopal
Sr., 6-1. 216
A cornerstone of Episcopal’s defense as it aims for a fourth straight TAPPS state championship, Williams had 11 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss as a junior. He broke up 6 passes and forced a pair of fumbles, too. Williams, a three-star recruit, holds offers from Michigan, Stanford, Washington and others. He’s one of two star defensive lineman at Epsicopal, the other being four-star junior Caleb Mitchell Irving.
Payton Pierce, Lovejoy
Jr., 6-1, 225
Pierce established himself as one of the state’s — and the nation’s — premier inside linebacker prospects as a sophomore. The four-star recruit had 121 tackles (21 for loss), 6 sacks, 6 pass breakups and 6 forced fumbles for the 5A Division II regional semifinalist. Pierce, who played his freshman season at Allen, holds offers from Oklahoma, Baylor, Notre Dame and 26 others. Off the football field, Pierce won a 5A state wrestling championship this past winter.
S’Maje Burrell, North Crowley
Sr., 6-0, 215
A four-star Texas pledge, Burrell stuffed the stat sheet as a junior at North Crowley with 104 tackles (13 for loss), 5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries and an interception. He was named the District 3-6A Co-Defensive MVP as a junior, and also competes in track and field. He’ll give first-year coach Ray Gates a defensive cornerstone to build around as North Crowley looks to make the playoffs for a third straight season.
Malik Muhammad, South Oak Cliff
Sr., 5-11, 175
The four-star Texas pledge anchored South Oak Cliff’s defense as it won the 5A Division II state championship last December. Muhammad, the nation’s sixth-ranked cornerback recruit, made 68 tackles and recorded 3 interceptions as South Oak Cliff held opponents to just 82.87 passing yards per game — the second fewest among Dallas-area 5A teams. As South Oak Cliff aims for a repeat, look for Muhammad and the rest of the team’s star-studded defense to lead the way.
Javien Toviano, Arlington Martin
Sr., 6-0. 185
All eyes will be on Toviano — the area’s top uncommitted recruit in the Class of 2023 — this fall. A five-star prospect and the No. 2 player on The News’ top 100 recruit list, Toviano holds 34 scholarship offers. While he excels at the cornerback position, Toviano also rushed for eight touchdowns and scored on a kickoff return last fall. Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan and LSU are among those in the race to land the prized recruit.
Calvin Simpson-Hunt, Waxahahchie
Sr., 6-0, 175
A four-star cornerback recruit, Simpson-Hunt’s stock rose fast this past spring. By June, he had decommitted from Texas Tech and committed to national power Ohio State. The 14th-best cornerback recruit in the nation, per 247, Simpson-Hunt clocked a time of 10.67 in the 100 meters in March, and was a District 11-6A first-team honoree last fall. His battles with star wide receivers from Duncanville and DeSoto this fall should be appointment viewing.
Braxton Myers, Coppell
Sr., 6-1, 185
The son of former Alabama and Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Michael Myers, Braxton’s genes have helped him to a four-star ranking and a commitment to USC. A District 6-6A first-team selection last fall as a cornerback, Myers broke up 11 passes and intercepted 5 others. Per 247, he’s the No. 12 safety recruit in the country.
Peyton Bowen, Denton Guyer
Sr., 6-0, 185
There may not be a more versatile player in the Dallas area than Bowen, a four-star Notre Dame pledge who scored touchdowns on defense, offense and as a kick/punt returner last season for the 6A Division II state runner-up. A safety by trade, Bowen intercepted six passes last season and returned three kicks/punts for touchdowns. He’s one of three Guyer seniors with a four-star rating or better, a big reason the team will open the season as one of the favorites to play for a title at AT&T Stadium come December. His younger brother, Eli, is one of the top defensive back recruits in the class of 2024.
Samuel Omosigho, Crandall
Sr., 6-1, 208
A true two-way star, Omosigho made 89 tackles and intercepted 4 passes last season as a linebacker. As a wide receiver, the four-star recruit caught 41 passes for 803 yards and 7 touchdowns. He committed to Oklahoma in June, and also competes in track and field team as a triple-jumper and a relay runner.
On Twitter: @McFarland_Shawn