Video: Top 10 defensive players
See clips of some of the top defenders in high school football.
Youth has been served in our look at high school football's Top 10 defensive players. Four of the players on the list are from the Class of 2019, meaning we have two full seasons left to watch them ply their trade at the prep level.
Speed is a coveted defensive trait, so it's no surprise to see Florida – a state known for producing fleet-footed football players – lead the way with three players in the top five.
If the old adage "Defense Wins Championships" still applies in this age of video game offense, the teams featuring the following 10 players will be worth keeping an eye on this fall.
High School Football's Top 10 Defensive Players10. Jaiden Woodbey, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
St. John Bosco has one of the best defenses heading into 2017 season and one of the main reasons why is because of Woodbey. The 2018 Ohio State commit is one of the best all-around defensive backs in the country. He is listed as a safety on 247sports but plays all over the field. There is a good chance he could join the likes of Josh Rosen, Evan Longoria and Nomar Garciaparra as being one of the best athletes to ever come out of St. John Bosco.9. Zach Harrison, Olentangy Orange (Lewis Center, Ohio)
Harrison is rated as the No. 9 player overall in the Class of 2019 but there is a good chance he winds up being the top rated player in that class before his high school career is over. He has one of the best highlight tapes in the country and he has earned the title "The Freak 2.0" because his game resembles that of Jevon Kearse. He is one of the toughest guys to block and one of the best athletes in all of high school football. He sacks quarterbacks and makes one-handed catches on the regular. 8. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.)
The former Dorsey (Los Angeles) star transferred to Oaks Christian for his junior season. The 5-star defensive end is the second-rated player overall on 247Sports composite rankings and is coming off a 17-sack, 27-tackle for loss sophomore season and was named to the MaxPreps Sophomore All-American first team last year. Expect another monster year for the 5-star talent. 7. Anthony Cook, Lamar (Houston)
Being the No. 1 player from Texas is a big deal. The 5-star defensive back checks in as the second-rated cornerback in the Class of 2018 and is a top 10 player overall. Houston Lamar is a team to pay attention to, as it is loaded with talent, and it all starts with Cook. He is one of the best all-around cornerbacks in the country and it looks like it will come down to Ohio State and Texas when he makes his college choice. 6. Ishmael Sopsher, Amite (La.)
In 247Sports' latest player composite rankings, the new No. 1 player is this 5-star defensive tackle. The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder is one of the toughest guys to block in the country and is one of the most dominant players at his position because of great footwork, amazing hands and he is arguably the strongest player in the Class of 2019. Sopsher has been named to the Louisiana All-State Team during his first two seasons and was also a MaxPreps Sophomore All-American first team selection during his sophomore campaign. 5. Brendan Radley-Hiles, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Outside of Justin Fields, there was no player better at The Opening than Radley-Hiles, also known as "Bookie." He is the best all-around football player in the country, because he makes big plays on defense, offense and special teams. There is no player that impacts the game as much as the 2018 Nebraska commit. 4. Owen Pappoe, Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)
Grayson's 5-star recruit checks in as the top-rated outside linebacker in the Class of 2019. He does it all. He doesn't miss tackles, he can cover, he has the speed, size and is one of the most instinctive players in the country. The Georgia star became the first freshman to be invited to The Opening last summer and had a monster sophomore season that saw him named as a MaxPreps Sophomore All-American after helping Grayson win its first state title since 2011.3. Palaie Gaoteote, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
The No. 1 linebacker in the Class of 2018 checks in as the No. 1 player overall from Nevada and is a top 10 recruit among all rising seniors. Just like the previously mentioned Pappoe, Gaoteote is one of the top all-around linebackers in high school football. The Gaels will have one of the best defenses in the country in 2017 and one of the main reasons why is because of Gaoteote.2. Patrick Surtain II, American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)
The No. 1 cornerback in the Class of 2019 is a top five recruit overall and the No. 2 player from Florida. There might not be a more physical defensive back in the country, and that helps the safeties from American Heritage, knowing that they can focus on only one side of the field. He is one of the top shutdown corners in the country and he has a chance to be even better than his dad, Patrick Surtain. The former Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs star made three Pro Bowls during his 11-year NFL career and there is a good chance he leads American Heritage to another state title in 2017. 1. Xavier Thomas, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
IMG Academy's 5-star defensive end checks in as the No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2018 and 10 years from now could easily be the most talked about name from this class. He is one of the most dominant players overall and the future Clemson Tiger was named the defensive line MVP at The Opening. When it comes to defensive linemen highlight reels, Thomas has the best in the country.