There were numerous choices regarding this year's PrepColorado Defensive Player of the Year. Players in Colorado football from this season will impact college fields in the next few years and one or two may have the opportunity to play on Sundays. Uber recruit Chris Martin landed this summer at Grandview and immediately impacted with his 6-5 240 pounds of strength and athleticism. Mullen had multiple candidates on its DI defense highlighted by last year's defensive player of the year Nduka Onyeali and defensive tackle Beau Martin. In 4A ball, Max Morgan made plays all over the field for Greeley West, lining up at multiple spots on defense. All of these players had great seasons and are deserving of the award, but the defensive player that most impressed this season and impacted his team on the field was David Thurston of Arvada West.
Thurston, a 6-1 215 pound inside linebacker, led an Arvada West defense that allowed only 12 points a game during a season that saw the Wildcats go 11-2 on the way to the 5A semis. A true inside backer, Thurston reminds me of old schooler Chris Spielman. Technically sound in all phases of linebacker play, Thurston was especially strong against the run. From sideline to sideline, Thurston used great instincts and motor to register 160 total tackles.
A humble team player, Thurston cites his defensive line as the key to his success as they kept him clean and able to "run free." A-West's defensive strategy was based on the premise of Thurston's ability and he rewarded the coaching staff and defensive line, making tackles as needed against opposing runners.
Coaches and media across the state of Colorado paid homage to Thurston's game as he was named to multiple All-State and All-Colorado squads to go along with his Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year award.
Thurston's game is enhanced by exceptional intelligence both on and off the field. A natural leader on the field, Thurston makes reads quickly and would, at the next level, have the ability to set the defense as evidenced by his 31 ACT. On the field play and strong academics will make Thurston a solid pick up for the team that adds him to their college program.