ADVERTISEMENT

Ryan Byrne

School: Timon-St. Jude Position: DL

Height: 6-0 Weight: 260 Year: 12

Trench Trophy finalist, recorded 99 tackles, 23 for loss and 11 sacks. A three-year starter, also played guard on OL. “In three years of coaching him I’ve never seen him take a play off, which is pretty unique,” said coach Charlie Comerford. “We had a little bit of a down year and he kept us in almost every game.” Starts on Tigers’ hockey and lacrosse teams. Considering Hobart, St. Lawrence and Buffalo State.

TJ Wheatley

School: Canisius Position: DL

Height: 6-6 Weight: 250 Year: 11

Has 12 NCAA Division I offers, including Alabama. Had 41 tackles, 14 for loss, and involved in five turnovers. Also played tight end. Shoulder injury during the summer kept him from performing at 100 percent, but he still dominated. Having played in Syracuse last year, Wheatley said he liked the opportunities Canisius provided against teams like Aquinas and Cardinal Mooney.

Phil Zobrest

School: Alden Position: DL

Height: 6-5 Weight: 227 Year: 12

Trench trophy finalist, defensive end and team captain who led Bulldogs with 64 tackles, nine sacks. Has 93.5 average and has visited Albany. “He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve every been around,” said coach Rob Currin. “He really grew this year as a leader as well, he took charge and handled things well.” Considering Colgate, Albany, also play basketball and track. Most memorable game was comeback vs. Olean.

AJ Licata

School: Frontier Position: LB

Height: 6-2 Weight: 205 Year: 12

Class AA Defensive Player of the Year, had 85 tackles, 13 for losses, eight sacks. At TE, had four TDs among his 20 catches. Has visited St. John Fisher and Alfred, 97 academic average. Most memorable game was eliminating Orchard Park in sectional semifinals. “He’s so intelligent. He comes off the field and says, ‘Coach, they’re doing A, B and C.’ To have a kid like that is pretty huge.”

Rod Payne

School: St. Joe’s Position: LB

Height: 5-10 Weight: 190 Year: 12

Weighing offer from Colgate, three-time All-WNY, three-year All-Catholic, had 13 tackles in win over St. Francis, slowed by knee surgery, had 44 tackles in four games. In 2.5 seasons as a starter, had 2,000 all-purpose yards and 216 tackles. Led Marauders to season-opening win vs. St. Anthony’s. Also wrestles and runs track.

Mike Sharpe

School: Canisius Position: LB

Height: 6-1 Weight: 200 Year: 12

Started 33 games in his career at middle linebacker. Emotional leader who was team’s defensive MVP, recording 44 tackles, four for loss. Has visited Fordham and Furman where he wants to study nursing. Also plays lacrosse. Led Crusaders to three trips to The Ralph in his three seasons as a starter.

Brad Zaffram

School: Canisius Position: LB

Height: 6-1 Weight: 210 Year: 11

Had a team-leading 64 tackles, 15 for loss, for a defense that had six shutouts. “I love the pursuit, hitting people, the contact, it gives me a rush,” he said. Also started at fullback, paving the way for Crusaders’ rushing game. Good at taking on blocks, staying in his gaps and shedding blockers. Had three fumbles recoveries, four sacks.

Dylan Dussault

School: Alden Position: DB

Height: 6-4 Weight: 193 Year: 12

Second on team in tackles with 67 and had a team-leading 10 sacks. Holds school record for most career receiving yards, caught 34 passes for 548 yards and seven TDs. Carries a 92 average, has visited Hobart. “What really impresses me the most was the improvement he made from his junior to senior year,” coach Currin said. “That’s a credit to his work ethic, he made a major contribution.”

Zack Panebianco

School: Jamestown Position: DB

Height: 5-9 Weight: 180 Year: 11

Showed plenty of instinct as defensive back for champion Red Raiders with 61 tackles and five interceptions. As wide receiver, broke Ralph Stadium record for most receiving yards with 181, caught 50 passes for 1,034 yards and 10 TDs. Averaged 37.0 yards for 17 punts. Has 92 academic average. Also plays basketball.

Brandon Smiley

School: Sweet Home Position: DB

Height: 6-1 Weight: 185 Year: 11

All-around player on both sides, had 41 unassisted tackles, 37 assisted, with four interceptions. At wide receiver, had 35 catches for 568 yards and 10 TDs and returned two kickoffs for TDs, Class A North co-Offensive Player of the Year. “There’s not much he didn’t do for us. He hardly came off the field,” said coach John Faller. Team co-captain also plays basketball and carries 92 average.

Brian Stoldt

School: Alden Position: DB

Height: 6-0 Weight: 190 Year: 12

Connolly Cup finalist. “His greatest assets are categories there are no statistics for,” coach Currin said. “There’s no stats for the time he checks off to a great play or the offseason player-run workouts or the nights of film study.” Had 23 tackles at free safety. At quarterback, completed 106 of 178 passes for 1,483 yards and 21 TDs. Led Bulldogs to sectional finals all three years as a starter. Has a 94 average.

Jacob Haight

School: Barker/Roy-Hart Position: P

Height: 6-4 Weight: 185 Year: 12

Punted for 46.3-yard average. “About 30 minutes before practice he’d go out with our long snapper and work on his punting or field goals,” said coach Bill Bruning. “He had the talents to do it, but he also spent time doing it.” Had 821 yards rushing, 52 tackles at DB, and five TD receptions. Had 1,201 all-purpose yards playing three different positions. Four-year starter also plays basketball and runs track; owns 92 average.