Check out our watch list for 2022-23 USA TODAY HSSA Defensive Football Player of the Year

Who will make the final cut? Watch out for the third annual USA TODAY High School Sports Awards national show in the summer of 2023.
Who will make the final cut? Watch out for the third annual USA TODAY High School Sports Awards national show in the summer of 2023.

The USA TODAY High School Sports Awards is pleased to announce its watch list for the 2022-23 USA TODAY HSSA Defensive Football Team.

This initial list includes 50 current student-athletes who meet the nomination criteria for this year’s national Defensive Football Player of the Year Award. These athletes were either nominees in last year’s national awards show, or athletes who were seriously considered based on season-wide performance, state championships and any other state, regional and/or national recognition.

This year’s official 2022-23 USA TODAY HSSA Defensive Football Team will be announced this winter. All final team members will be honored as nominees for national Defensive Football Player of the Year. The winner, along with three finalists, will be revealed during the third annual USA TODAY High School Sports Awards. Visit the event website for updates leading up to this summer's on-demand event.

Other fall USA TODAY HSSA Watch Lists:

The purpose of these watch lists is to track eligible nominees for this year’s national show. Athletes could be removed from this list if they no longer play for their high school team (either by choice or injury), or if their high school no longer participates in a state-sanctioned championship tournament.

2022-23 USA TODAY HSSA Defensive Football Watch List: 

Adepoju Adebawore — SR, EDGE | North Kansas City High School | Kansas City, Mo.

Joenel Aguero — SR, safety | St. John's Prep | Lynn, Mass.

Tausili Akana — SR, EDGE | Skyridge High School | Lehi, Utah

Rueben Bain Jr. — SR, DL | Miami Central High School | Miami, Fla.

KJ Bolden — JR, safety | Buford High School | Buford, Ga.

Peyton Bowen — SR, safety | Guyer High School | Denton, Texas

Troy Bowles — SR, LB | Jesuit High School | Tampa, Fla.

Chandavian Bradley — SR, EDGE | Platte County High School | Platte City, Mo.

Dalton Brooks — SR, athlete | Shiner High School | Shiner, Texas

Sammy Brown — JR, LB | Jefferson High School | Jefferson, Ga.

Malik Bryant — SR, LB | Jones High School | Orlando, Fla.

Vic Burley — SR, DL | Warner Robins High School | Warner Robins, Ga.

TJ Capers — JR, EDGE | Columbus High School | Miami, Fla.

Aaron Chiles — JR, LB | Our Lady Good Counsel High School | Olney, Md.

Kelby Collins — SR, DL | Gardendale High School | Gardendale, Ala.

T.A. Cunningham — JR, DL | Los Alamitos High School | Los Alamitos, Calif.

Caleb Downs — SR, safety | Mill Creek High School | Hoschton Ga.

Kamarion Franklin — JR, DL | Lake Cormorant High School | Lake Cormorant, Miss.

Myles Graham — JR, LB | Woodward Academy | Atlanta, Ga.

Nyckoles Harbor — SR, athlete | Archbishop Carroll High School | Washington, D.C.

AJ Harris — SR, CB | Central High School | Phenix City, Ala.

David Hicks — SR, DL | Allen High School | Allen, Texas

Anthony Hill Jr. — SR, LB | Ryan High School | Denton, Texas

Jahlil Hurley — SR, CB | Florence High School | Florence, Ala.

Bai Jobe — SR, EDGE | Community Christian School | Norman, Okla.

Kayin Lee — SR, CB | Cedar Grove High School | Ellenwood, Ga.

Makai Lemon — SR, athlete | Los Alamitos High School | Los Alamitos, Calif.

Charles Lester III — JR, CB | Riverview High School | Sarasota, Fla.

Quinton Martin — JR, athlete | Belle Vernon High School | Belle Vernon, Pa.

Cormani McClain — SR, CB | Lakeland High School | Lakeland, Fla.

Tony Mitchell — SR, safety | Thompson High School | Alabaster, Ala.

Jason Moore — SR, DL | Dematha Catholic High School | Hyattsville, Md.

Malik Muhammad — SR, CB | South Oak Cliff High School | Dallas, Texas

Suntarine Perkins — SR, athlete | Raleigh High School | Raleigh, Miss.

Rodrick Pleasant — SR, CB | Junipero Serra High School | Gardena, Calif.

Bravion Rogers — SR, CB | La Grange High School | La Grange, Texas

Tony Rojas — SR, LB | Fairfax High School | Fairfax, Va.

Elijah Rushing — JR, EDGE | Salpointe Catholic High School | Tucson, Ariz.

Qua Russaw — SR, EDGE | Carver High School | Montgomery, Ala.

Justin Scott — JR, DL | St. Ignatius High School | Chicago, Ill.

Colin Simmons — JR, EDGE | Duncanville High School | Duncanville, Texas

James Smith — SR, DL | Carver High School | Montgomery, Ala.

Jayvon Thomas — SR, LB | South Oak Cliff High School | Dallas, Texas

Javien Toviano — SR, CB | Martin High School | Arlington, Texas

Matayo Uiagalelei — SR, EDGE | St. John Bosco | Bellflower Calif.

Derek Williams — SR, safety | Westgate High School | New Iberia, La.

Raylen Wilson — SR, LB | Lincoln High School | Tallahassee, Fla.

Damon Wilson — SR, EDGE | Venice High School | Venice, Fla.

Dashawn Womack — SR, DL | St. Frances Academy | Baltimore, Md.

Peter Woods — SR, DL | Thompson High School | Alabaster, Ala

Who else should we be tracking for national Defensive Football Player of the Year? Suggestions can be submitted to both roleary@usatventures.com or BFontana@usatventures.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2022-23 USA TODAY HSSA Defensive Football Player of the Year Watch List