Position: Defensive Tackle
Weight: 300 lbs.
Stat to Note
Atkinson was named First Team All-Sunflower League as a defensive lineman last fall after recording 38 tackles, one sack, forcing three fumbles and recovering one.
Atkinson is the quintessential "immovable object" every team wishes they could plug in at the nose guard position. SM East had one of the league's top linebacking cores last season, and I would suggest much of that had to do with Atkinson clogging up interior offensive lineman allowing the middle linebackers freedom to roam unabated.
When you watch Atkinson play you start to see how disruptive of a force he can be. His squatty nature allows him to gain excellent leverage against taller offensive lineman -- and his weight advantage further creates a mismatch. A very good wrestler during the winter months, Atkinson has active hands and quick strength developed from his time on the mats. A general rule of thumb: good wrestlers translate very well onto the football field, especially on defense.
For SM East to put together another stingy defense in 2013 it's going to take a stellar campaign from Atkinson. The Lancers lose the majority of their secondary, in addition to the Stewart Twins and Patrick Blackburn, among others. Fortunately for SM East, the notable players they have returning on defense -- Atkinson, Ryan Carter and Kyle Ball -- should be enough to create the foundation for another solid unit this fall.