We take a break from packing for next weekend's trip to Hershey to present the top safeties in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
When compiling this subjective top-10 list, we considered tackling skills, coverage ability, and potential to excel at the next level.
1. Nate Smith, Archbishop Wood, Sr., 6-0, 185. Headed for West Virginia, the athletic and quick-footed Smith, also dangerous as a wide receiver and kick returner, has been a big-time playmaker for the Vikings.
2. James Griffin, Strath Haven, Sr., 5-11, 160. Griffin registered 53 tackles, including 32 solos, and four interceptions. At running back, he netted 1,109 yards and 13 touchdowns.
3. Julian Kaminoff, New Hope-Solebury, Sr., 6-0, 175. Kaminoff, slowed this season by nagging injuries, has scholarship offers from Fordham, Buffalo, and Monmouth.
4. Taishan Tucker, Roman Catholic, Sr., 5-9, 175. Tucker's play at free safety helped the Cahillites go 8-4 and return to the Catholic League Class AAAA championship game.
5. Danny Wynne, North Penn, Sr., 6-0, 195. With Wynne making an impact as a strong safety and outside linebacker, the Knights have yielded an average of 9.1 points over the last 12 games.
6. Nick Dudley, Downingtown East, Sr., 6-0, 180. Dudley's play was key in the Cougars' drive to the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA quarterfinals.
7. Mike Gentile, Haverford High, Sr., 6-1, 170. Gentile, also a quality receiver and kick returner, was involved in 90-plus tackles and made five interceptions.
8. Adam Regensburg, Hill School, Jr., 6-0, 185. Regensburg recorded 73 tackles and eight interceptions. As a receiver, he had 40 catches for 410 yards and five TDs.
9. Kenny Williams, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Sr., 5-10, 165. A four-year starter for the Colonials, Williams was involved in 53 tackles, including 41 solos. He made two sacks.
10. Dan Sherry, St. Joseph's Prep, Jr., 6-2, 200. Sherry, a strong safety for the Hawks, was always around the ball and a sure tackler.
Twenty others to watch, listed alphabetically: Joe Carlini, Malvern Prep, Jr., 5-8, 160; John Casey, University City, Sr., 5-8, 175; Brett Flannery, Chestnut Hill Academy, Sr., 5-11, 160; Parker Foti, Downingtown West, Sr., 5-9, 170; Jim Haley, Monsignor Bonner, Jr., 6-2, 175; Ryan Hickey, Council Rock South, Sr., 5-7, 170; Zach Jones, West Chester Henderson, Sr., 6-1, 175; Robert Knox, Upper Moreland, Sr., 6-1, 180; Kevin Malone, West Catholic, Sr., 6-0, 185; Sean McAneney, Upper Dublin, Sr., 6-2, 185; Dave McGrath, Garnet Valley, Jr., 5-10, 165; Chris Morgan, Haverford School, Sr., 6-0, 180; Doug Ott, Unionville, Sr., 6-3, 205; Matt Robinson, Father Judge, Jr., 6-2, 175; Casey Saverio, Hatboro-Horsham, Sr., 6-0, 190; Marquan Scott, Frankford, Sr., 6-1, 175; Thaddius Smith, Cardinal O'Hara, So., 5-10, 170; Mark Thompson, Cheltenham, Jr., 6-2, 220; Marquis Weathington, Coatesville, Sr., 5-10, 175; Ryan Yenchick, Phoenixville, Jr., 5-9, 165.
Thomas honored. Garnet Valley's Andrew Thomas, a senior defensive tackle, is one of 12 High School Football "Rudy" Awards finalists.
The "Rudy" Awards recognize student-athletes who have the "ability to inspire and motivate teammates, classmates, and communities."
The 5-11, 190-pound Thomas, of Chadds Ford, showed his character and leadership skills in helping his family through trying times - including a young brother's injury, his mother's stroke, and his father's job loss.
To help with mounting bills, Thomas, a captain and first-team all-Central League selection, started a lawn-care business that generated $1,000 a month.
The "Rudy" Awards winner will be announced Jan. 15.
Extra points. Plymouth Whitemarsh's Xavier Ellington carried 122 times for 1,037 yards and 12 TDs. He also had 17 receptions for 246 yards and five scores. ... Chichester's Laquan Lambert had 46 catches for 673 yards and seven TDs. ... For Springfield (Montco), back Max Vido (76 tackles), and ends Clay Ewell (68) and Luke Wheatley (59) led the way on defense. Ewell rushed 175 times for 1,400 yards and 16 TDs. He finished his career with a school record of 3,125 yards. ... Upper Perkiomen's John Olson rushed 251 times for 1,486 yards and 16 TDs. ... Cordairo Taylor (140 carries for 1,204 yards, 11 TDs) and Conor Burke (143 for 1,018, 16) helped West Chester Rustin to its fourth straight Ches-Mont League American Conference crown.