The following players have been selected to the USA TODAY NETWORK All-New Jersey football defensive teams.
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Irvington senior lineman
Evans-Jenkins anchored a Blue Knights defensive line among the most impressive in the state. He registered 84 tackles, including 14.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries for the North Group 4 regional champions. The 6-foot-2, 270-pound two-way lineman has offers from more than a dozen FBS schools, including Alabama, Cincinnati, Maryland and Pittsburgh.
St. Augustine senior lineman
The Northwestern recruit had a huge year for the Hermits, recording career-highs in tackles (76), tackles for loss (19), sacks (5.5) and hurries (19). He also did excellent work at tight end, where he was an essential blocker.
DePaul senior lineman
Price, a second-team All-New Jersey pick last season, was the hammer for a defense that was among New Jersey’s finest. He led the Spartans (9-3) to the Non-Public Group B final. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder had 99 tackles, including 15.5 sacks, for a unit that held eight opponents to seven points or fewer. He is committed to Rutgers.
Bergen Catholic senior linemen
Samuels is a repeat first-team All-New Jersey pick and led the defense for the Crusaders (12-0). The 6-foot, 240-pounder had 39 tackles, including nine sacks. He also ran for a touchdown in the Non-Public A final. He’s a major Division I recruit whose offers include Boston College, Michigan and Penn State.
St. Augustine senior lineman
Small earns All-New Jersey recognition for the second straight season, having made the second team in 2020. An Army recruit, had 60 tackles, 18 for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He was a starter at left guard too, where he shined as well.
Don Bosco senior linebacker
Hinspeter has a non-stop motor and climbs after earning second-team All-New Jersey honors last season. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder had 147 tackles, including nine for losses and seven sacks, to help the young Ironmen (8-5) win seven of their last nine games and reach the Non-Public A final. He is committed to Navy.
Rumson-Fair Haven senior linebacker
Lista, a middle linebacker, was the leader of one of the Shore’s best defenses. Rumson-Fair Haven allowed just 81 points on the season for an average of 7.4 points a game. The Penn commit registered 136 tackles, 10 sacks, 11 tackles for a loss, a pick-six, a fumble recovery and he forced a fumble.
Woodrow Wilson senior linebacker
McCrary was a wrecking machine in the heart of the Tigers’ defense. He recorded 124 tackles, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles to help his team win its third consecutive sectional championship.
West Morris junior linebacker
Montella provided a huge boost for the Wolfpack as they grabbed the North Group 3 regional championship for the first time in program history. He registered a program-record 152 tackles, including 20 for a loss, as well as six sacks and three forced fumbles. He also set the program’s single-season rushing mark with 1,793 yards.
St. Joseph Academy senior defensive back
Cartagena made his presence felt in his lone season with the Wildcats. He made 32 tackles and four interceptions on the defensive side of the ball and hauled in 31 passes for 904 yards and 12 touchdowns on offense.
Woodrow Wilson senior defensive back
Estremera blossomed for Woodrow Wilson this year. He was a lockdown corner as he had 34 stops and six interceptions, including a pick-six. He was the team’s leading receiver, too, as he brought in 65 passes for 905 yards and 10 touchdowns. He added a kick-return score as well.
Bergen Catholic senior defensive back
Gould was another vital cog for a Crusaders’ defense that registered four shutouts and held eight opponents to seven points or fewer. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder had 27 tackles and four interceptions for a unit that helped hold their three playoff opponents scoreless in the second half. He is committed to USC.
Burlington Township senior defensive back
Johnson, a James Madison recruit, bumps up to the first team after garnering second-team All-New Jersey honors as a junior. He was sticky in coverage, posting 21 tackles and four interceptions, including a pick-six. He was dynamite on offense too with 30 catches for 674 yards (22.5 average) and five touchdowns. He added punt and kick return touchdowns too.
Union senior defensive back
The multi-threat Division I recruit finished with 74 tackles and four picks and also returned a punt and an interception for touchdowns. Offensively, he caught 20 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 76 rushing attempts for 903 yards and 12 scores. He led Union to nine-straight wins before the Farmers forfeited out of the state sectional semifinal due to COVID issues.
Irvington junior defensive back
Shuler is a four-star recruit that continued to earn accolades in his junior season. The Notre Dame commit made 76 tackles and six interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns. He also blocked a pair of field goals, scored on a fake field goal in overtime to beat Hudson Catholic, and returned a punt for a touchdown in a North Group 4 regional championship win against Northern Highlands.
Bergen Catholic senior athlete
Bellamy climbs up from last year’s second team. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder made 27 tackles and four interceptions for a defense that was arguably New Jersey’s finest. He is versatile and caught the Crusaders’ first touchdown in the Non-Public Group A final. He is committed to Notre Dame.
St. Augustine senior athlete
The Princeton recruit backed up his second-team All-New Jersey selection last year, earning first-team honors as a senior. Hill played both linebacker and defensive back and did both extremely well, making 74 tackles and an interception. He was key on offense too, with 34 catches for 571 yards and five touchdowns.
Seton Hall Prep senior punter
The Yale commit showed why is he regarded as one of the top kicking recruits in the country during his senior season. Conforti had 41 touchbacks among his 62 kickoffs for the Pirates and averaged 42.2 yards per punt this season, ranking second in the state. He’s a five-star punting recruit, ranked 28th in the country by Kohl’s Professional Kicking Camps.
Logan Barnes, St. Peter’s Prep senior lineman
Kenny Fletcher, Delran senior lineman
Jack Latore, Middletown South senior lineman
Sydir Mitchell, Bergen Catholic senior lineman
Mongue Nyame, East Orange senior limeman
Kevin Shriner, Cranford senior lineman
Jackson Dowd, Seton Hall Prep senior linebacker
Michael Francisco, Holy Spirit senior linebacker
Turner Inge, Williamstown senior linebacker
Charlie Sasso, Wall senior linebacker
Jack Smiechowski, St. Joseph (Montvale) senior linebacker
Edward Conoran, DePaul defensive back
Kyle Louis, East Orange defensive back
Harry Boland, Caldwell junior athlete
Pat Cerulli, Rutherford senior athlete
Jamie Mazzacco, Shore senior athlete
Hunter Perez, Mount Olive senior athlete
Geraldo Gibson, East Orange senior punter
Joe Grasso, Ridgewood senior linebacker
Jimmy Mullen, St. Joseph (Montvale) junior lineman
Donovan Swasey, Clifton senior defensive back
Sabino Portella, Red Bank Catholic senior defensive back
Tyler Ochojski, Freehold senior linebacker
Patrick Caughey, Delbarton senior lineman
Julian Casale, Caldwell sophomore linebacker
Jessiah Gildersleeve, Salem senior linebacker
Trey Simmons, Winslow senior defensive back
Romeo Diaz, East Brunswick, senior linebacker
Stephen Gural, Phillipsburg, senior linebacker