Ohio confident in defensive front, LBs

In all-star games, you often hear coaches say, ‘the defense is ahead of the offense.’

If that’s the case in the annual Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic, which is slated for July 28 at wheeling Island Stadium, Ohio head coach Mark Holenka certainly has some solid options on the defensive side.

Holenka has announced members of his defensive front and linebacking corps, which will report to camp on Sunday at Bethany College.

“We’ve got size and quickness on our defensive line,” Holenka said. “We’re going to use some kids who might have been running backs on their high school teams as defensive tackles and we feel our defensive ends will be capable of containing with their speed.

“We also like our group of linebackers,” Holenka continued. “We’ve got some kids who made a lot of tackles during the season and now we just have to get them to gel together. Getting them to understand the scheme in a short period of time will be one of our challenges.”

Here’s a capsule look at the players:

JOSH GUILER, Monroe Central – This former Seminole caused all sorts of problems for opposing teams from defensive end for Coach Jay Circosta’s squad.

The 6-2, 205 pounder was impressive at defensive end as one of the Seminoles’ top tacklers.

For his efforts, he earned all-OVAC first-team, all-PVC and he was an all-PVC Scholar Athlete.

Along with football, Guiler lettered in basketball, earning all-PVC.

Josh, who plans on attending Belmont College, is the son of Mark and VonRae Guiler.

TRENT NEAVIN, Martins Ferry – This former Purple Rider was a standout on both sides of the ball during his career for Coach Dave Bruney’s team.

The 6-0, 260 pounder was an offensive leader at fullback and roamed at linebacker on defense. He missed much of the 2012 season due to an injury.

Neavin was a first-team all-OVAC performer and Block of Granite nominee.

Trent, who plans on walking on at the University of Pittsburgh, is the son of Katie Neavin and Jody Walker.

NICK PELEGREEN, Harrison Central – This former Huskie shined on both sides of the ball during his career for Coach Justin Kropka’s team.

The 6-3, 220 pounder established a new Harrison Central record with 121 tackles. He was also a standout at tight end.

Pelegreen was a first-team all-Ohioan and Eastern District Defensive Player of the Year.

He was also an all-OVAC and all-Buckeye 8 performer.

Along with football, Pelegreen was a standout in basketball and helped lead the Huskies to the Division II state baseball tournament this past June.

Nick, who is the son of Rocco and Rayna Pelegreen, plans on attending Wheeling Jesuit University to play baseball.

TYLER ROSE, Harrison Central – This Huskies’ mainstay was a problem for many teams from his defensive end spot.

The 6-4, 215 pounder was a talented pass rusher and solid against the run.

For his efforts, Rose was earned several post-season honors.

Tyler is the son of Scott and Connie Rose.

LUKE SMITH, St. Clairsville – This Red Devils’ standout was one of the key cogs for Coach Brett McLean’s defensive unit last season.

The 5-11, 190 pounder recorded more than 160 tackles last season, including 21 tackles for loss from his outside linebacker post. He was also strong against the pass with 10 pass breakups and three sacks. In the Division IV state title game, Smith led St. C. with 11 solo tackles and 13 total stops.

Smith, who served as team captain, was first-team all-OVAC, all-Eastern District, all-Buckeye 8 and all-Times Leasder. He was an honorable mention all-Ohioan and received the George Strager Award.

Along with football, Smith was a member of the French Club and he’s active in his church.

Luke, who is the son of John and Callie Smith, plans on attending Mt. Union to play football.

MANARD REED, Steubenville – This former Big Red standout was a go-to player for Coach Reno Saccoccia’s team both at fullback and on the defensive line.

As a defensive lineman, the 6-0, 255 pounder recorded five sacks and 61 tackles. Offensively, he scored four touchdowns.

Along with football, Reed was also a member of the track team.

Manard, who has earned an academic scholarship to Marietta College, is the son of Manard Reed and Lakisha King.