Playing linebacker has always been in the cards for Josiah Trotter.

The St. Joseph’s Prep linebacker was raised on the game of football, and he learned at an early age how to not only play the game, but also study it and develop a football IQ. Trotter also has the discipline and commitment to the sport that, when paired with an advanced understanding of football’s inner workings, makes him one of the best players on the field. He plays with a fire and a passion for the game that is apparent in the way he closes out tackles, blitzes the quarterback, and defends the run. To top it all off, he has learned how to be a leader.

It’s no surprise, then, that Trotter is a highly touted high school prospect being pursued by some of the nation’s best college programs. He is a consensus top-200 Class of 2023 prospect nationally and among the top 10 players in Pennsylvania. Trotter is expected to eventually play at one of his top four schools: Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State, and South Carolina.

Trotter comes from a football family. His father, Jeremiah Trotter, was selected in the third round of the 1998 NFL draft. The elder Trotter had a 12-year career as a linebacker, during which he played primarily for the Eagles. He made four Pro Bowls over his career, was a two-time All-Pro, and earned a spot in the Eagles Hall of Fame.

Josiah’s brother, Jeremiah Trotter Jr., was a standout linebacker at St. Joseph’s Prep and is now a freshman playing for Clemson.

These football roots have helped Josiah Trotter to both have success at St. Joe’s Prep and emerge as a bona fide recruit.

“Our dad has been teaching us from a young age about how to play the linebacker position [and] how to play football in general,” Jeremiah Trotter Jr. said. “So that IQ and all that knowledge that he’s gained from my dad [and] from his coaching will definitely give him a head start.”

And Josiah Trotter hasn’t stopped being a student of the game. He approaches football with a growth mindset, and he knows that he will only get out of the game as much he puts into it. As a result, he has made every effort to find holes in his game and improve them.

“I still want to see some things mature and get better,” Trotter said. “There’s a lot that I can always get better at — pass rushing, playing the run, [getting] even better with my reads. Everything can always get better.”

It’s not a given for high school football players — even elite ones — to be so open to the idea that their game is a work in progress. For Trotter, he dedicates himself to perfecting his craft and following the example set by his father and brother. A junior, Trotter also emphasizes setting the right example for his teammates.

His favorite way to not only improve his game but also show his teammates how to effectively prepare for games is to study film.

“That’s something I’ve always liked to do, just watching film,” Trotter said. “I feel like film is the study guide to the test that’s going to be on game day, and it’s just giving you all the answers that you should be ready for on game day.”

While his ability to process and approach the game has been a large part of what makes him a high-caliber prospect, Trotter has also gotten attention because of his on-field presence. The youngest Trotter is still growing, and each season he has continued to put on muscle and size. As of now, he is roughly 6-foot-2 and weighs in at about 230 pounds.

Even after adding size, Trotter has still been able to move quickly on the field. Jeremiah Trotter Jr., who plays a quick, explosive game because of his smaller stature, doesn’t think adding weight has hurt his younger brother’s game at all. If anything, it has only helped add an extra layer to Josiah’s game.

“From watching Josiah play, I can definitely say he plays big,” Trotter Jr. said. “He’s got long arms and a big frame, [and] he definitely plays like that. Even with that size, he still moves very well. He’s quick, he can move like some of the smaller guys. I do see that similarity between our games. I feel like we both play quick and explosive.”

“There’s a lot that I can always get better at -- pass rushing, playing the run, [getting] even better with my reads. Everything can always get better.”

Josiah Trotter

With all the success Josiah has had on the field, and with the success of his brother and father before him, there is a lot of hype surrounding the young linebacker. There’s pressure to live up to the football standard established in his family; there’s pressure in handling the media coverage that he has and will continue to receive, and there’s pressure in pursuing his own goals and dreams.

Just like playing football at a high level, however, handling these external stressors seems to come second nature to Trotter.

“Just keep my head down and work hard and keep God first,” Trotter said. “[My focus is] continuing to get better every day and not worrying about what people say on the outside … just worrying about ourselves and the team.”

The poise with which Trotter approaches football makes it easy to forget that he is only a high school junior. He is a difference-maker, a dynamic player who instantly gives his team a better chance to win.

“I think he’s a more vocal leader,” Trotter Jr. said. “He’s going to talk to you if you need it; he’s going to get on you. Also, he likes to lead by example so he’ll watch film, prepare for the game in ways that other guys might not to push his teammates to get better.”

For the rest of this season and next, Josiah Trotter is going to remain a leader for St. Joe’s Prep. He will continue to grow and his game will continue to evolve.

The world has seen his father and brother excel on the gridiron. Now, it is about to meet Josiah Trotter.