Varsity Preps

The New Age Linebacker-Safety Hybrid

Written by Vincent Tataglia

Si Kilinc brings with him something of a rare commodity, an element which pays dividends– By most measure, Kilinc is big enough to hold his own against the run and savvy enough to drop back against the pass.



Kilinc a soft spoken mild mannered machine finds his-second self, the alter-ego, while strapping up. Kilinc said “A transformation happens when I put the uniform on, I feel invincible.” Kilinc adds “The atmosphere has a lot to do with it, the frenzy running out on the field, fans going crazy.” Even the quiet build up in the locker room, together with my brothers, the sound of cleats walking across the concrete floor, were going war man, they wanna hurt my brother, mess up my night and from there it just builds up.” Kilinc said “As it gets closer to game time, especially at home games, heart thumping, I envision what I’ll do, I start getting mad, seeing our QB get a cheap shot or a late hit.” Kilinc adds. “It’s all about getting in that right frame of mind, you see the good, bad and the ugly, and then harness it until we get out there. Kilinc continues “It was a hundred times that feeling against Northside this year and we exploded on them.”


Kilinc is a warrior, the new and improved hybrid, a fully loaded drone. Fueled by a thought where the opponent takes a cheap shot, thoughts turn into reality, subconscious mind takes over the wheel.

It appears that Kilinc has mastered self-manipulation, he tricks his mind into believing certain scenarios until your body buys in as well. Advanced Envision 101, the mastering of this approach, it’s the stuff of elite athletes. It all plays in, perception, sixth sense, getting in the zone.

Si Kilinc is not the first to ever play a hybrid type position or exercise such advanced methods, but at his age and at this level, he just happens to be doing it pretty well. His mentality defines and molds his character which refines his talent until ever one of his talent becomes skill.

“Again it all goes to when we were Pee Wee, my dad the coach, we’d lie on our backs all the kids and visualize, and from there it developed.” Kilinc adds “My older brother is a NCAA Pole Vaulter and it works great for him.”

Kilinc possess an undying will to win, a loss he won’t admitted. In looking through clips of his film I’m not only impressed but I’m rapt, it’s like watching a written script, the kid with spider senses. He stalks like the panther, chases like the cheetah. Drops into pass mode, in smooth fluid fashion never losing sight.

Kilinc is aware of what he brings to the dance. Tip-toes around bigger bodies, then crashes like a bull. His footwork, speed and strength make blocking him a nightmare. He flies, shoots and swims past, leaving behind perplexed confusion.


Andrew & Si


Kilinc is an astute student of the game an uncanny ability to soak up, learn and adapt. It’s no secret he reviews film, it goes with his preparation. Kilinc plays football with such passion and drive, you’d think his life depended on it.
Tom Lemming CBS Sports said “His film is outstanding, I like his quickness to the ball, his instincts and overall athletic ability.”


This year, Kilinc co-anchored what would be the best defense in Southside High Schools 51 year existence, a school already rich in tradition and haunted by state title legacies. Southside is located in Fort Smith, Arkansas and has claimed a state high, seven state championships.


This Rebel defense broke most every statistical record in school history, including an unprecedented 45 team sacks, six of those coming by way of Kilinc.
Kilinc said “We lost most of the experienced players on offense last year but had some key guys returning on the defensive side, and had a couple guys that stepped up.” Kilinc adds “Outside of our families and coaches no one really believed we’d do what we did, the media picked us to win maybe 3-4 games that just fueled us made us even closer; we basically just play for each other, one game at a time.” Kilinc says “Our offense started slow, and in the first few games we had their back, winning a couple of the close games early on.”



Warren Speed


In their season opener the Rebels narrowly escaped Warren’s speed offense, a game where Kilinc was to be tested regularly. Warren well known to have three key players that were DI commits. Match-ups boasting legit 4.3 speed was to be the flavor of the day. Their game plan obvious, create mismatches and gaps then smoke and burn them.

Kilinc lined over the slot, their first attempt Kilinc in man, sticks like glue and defends on a 25 yard seam that could easily have gone for six. Speed was their weapon of choice and sweeps in an attempt to exploit the edges their false friend. The Rebel defense faltering at times, but Kilinc on a personal denying either side, as he’d move as a stalking beast then shift into overdrive speed, slamming guys into the hardened turf. Then later in the game, hoping to catch the beast napping, another match-up, this their 6.3 Razorback money- guy. Quick release on a 45 yard bomb, dropped just at the edge of the end-zone, Kilinc in stays in perfect stride demonstrating  his cornerback skills and just at the most opportune time jams his arm between the receivers tips away the ball, literally from the receivers grasp.


Coach Stephen Thessing Rebels Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers said. “You would be hard pressed in finding a player with a better work ethic than Si.” He’s always up for the task, his desire to always improve produce a contagious effect on our team.” Thessing adds “We trust him, so match-ups are never an issue, he can play in the box on the edge and drop into coverage.

Coach Leroy Hood Rebels Defensive Backs & former Razorback DB, said “Si is what we call a hybrid player, physical like that of a linebacker but finesse and fluid covers like a defensive back and not many linebackers can cover vertical routes this well.” Hood adds “He can cover wide receivers man to man as well as support the run, he’s one of the most coachable players I’ve ever had.”

“Since Pee Wee ball up to my sophomore year I played Cornerback, then around mid-season last year I was asked if I’d move to the Outside Linebacker position, because we had lost our top Middle Linebacker.” Kilinc adds “They knew I’d stick my head in there make some hits.” Kilinc says “Until that point it was always Coach Hood teaching me, everything that works for me well when I drop into coverage I learned from him and so I took it with me to linebacker.” “I still work on DB skills, they’re part of what makes me effective, I love it, and Coach Hood has always right there to help.”

Kilinc epitomizes the term, linebacker-safety hybrid. He’s a big time hitter and holds his own against the run and is savvy enough to drop back against the pass. His biggest mental tool is his perception, he’s always in or around the plays. He possesses all the important attributes unique to the position. His steps are quick, the spider senses are his navigation, and his cat-like responsiveness, the smooth fluid hips, fast revving motor, packed and jacked with power. He moves around bodies, quickly, get around trash. Such qualities make blocking him no easy task either; he steps, flies, shoots and swims past perplexed opponents making a plays. He’s an astute student of the game and with that, studies more film a big part of his preparation routine.

His training regimen video, impressive to say the least is unlike anything I’ve seen coming from a high school athlete. Not because of the videos mind-blowing never before seen nature, but simply due to the fact that he does that in consistency. It’s not a video made to blow his own horn, it’s a video when observed by a coach or recruiter demonstrates hard work developed over a long period of time.

Kilinc said “The video on my Twitter is also on. “My dad has video of us since we first picked up a ball, some of the clips where I look smaller are from ninth grade, then some from last year.”

Kilinc adds “My dad thought it would be a good to show that, coaches would appreciate it, and he was right.”


Film Study

2014 slick

**Si’s Training Regimen

Kilinc said “I love to study film because it works, I pick up not only standard reads but I look for tendencies on skill players, a thing my dad challenged us to do, way back in Pee Wee.

Kilinc adds “If you watch guys close enough somebody’s going to give away the play, and that’s the fun part, like a chess game.”

The film I analyzed shows frustrated opponents as Kilinc blows by them. Against Bentonville he made 11 solos, 4 assists, 4 TFL, defending 2 passes. Against Fayetteville Kilinc had 10 solos, 3 assists, 3TFL, broke up 45 yard pass in man coverage, and stripped a ball, broke clear no one to stop him in what should have been a touchdown, but apparently the play was whistled dead, looks alive on film.




Kilinc by all definition is a playmaker, steps up even more in big games in critical situations, tireless. He’s one of the guys you’d want in the game regardless, especially when you’re down. As a sophomore he caused two fumbles, recovered two more, and one of those came in round one of the play-offs with the Rebels down needing a score to tie as Kilinc answered. In turn the Rebels offense marched down, scored the TD, then with 5 ticks left on the clock, successfully executed the two point conversion to win the day and advance to round two.

The biggest game to that point might have been Greenwood ranked No. 1 in the class with a 45 game win streak Kilinc debuts at outside linebacker. When most would crumble in that situation or in the least make a few mental errors, Kilinc does the exact opposite, he’s the ice-man. He goes off from the first snap on gets in that zone and makes not even a single mistake. On his rampage he records 11 solos, breaking up passes, causing a fumble and with under three minutes left to play, the Rebels desperately in need of a big play to get another shot, Kilinc answers the call again jumps a slant on an inside receiver and picks the ball. According to Coach Hood, that play leads to the tying score.


Hard Work


Coach Hood said “It’s all a credit to his hard work and dedication on and off the field, he will remind opponents that he is a playmaker and he does that consistently.” Hood adds “Last year against Greenwood, his first start at linebacker, Si made an incredible break on a ball, beat the receiver to the spot for a HUGE interception in the 4th quarter which led to a tie”

Coach Hood continues “Then this year against Fayetteville in a tight game on a 40-45 yard wheel route by a slot receiver he ran step for step with him, with no help in sight and broke up the play.”

Rebel All-State Senior Running Back D’erek Fernandez said “You know he’s that guy, early to practice, stays after runs ladders, and works on technique.” Fernandez adds “If somebody needs something, he’s got your back, he’s a baller on off the field, expect nothing less than greatness, that’s what he does.”




In week six of the regular season, late in the first quarter against a determined Rogers squad down 14-0, an opposing player stomps on Kilinc’s left foot causing him to take leave and have it checked out by trainers. Kilinc marked by obvious pain and trouble in even walking asks the trainer to wrap the foot then against sideline’s wishes proceeds to get back in a game that’s not going the Rebels way. As pain persists Kilinc plays as if nothing had happened makes key plays in the end getting 8 solos, 3 assist, 4 TFL. Then with under 4 minutes left in play the score now 14-10 Rogers on top, Kilinc in a bull rush right the gut sees a loose ball and dives to recover it. That turnover put Southside in good field position and leads to the touchdown.

On the ensuing possession with Rogers on the move, Kilinc who had also 2 sacks on the night, to that point defends a 3rd and short pass, and on 4th down, Kilinc blitzes from the edge recording his third sack and ends what might have been an upset. Following the game Kilinc apparently couldn’t put any weight on the foot. The diagnosis, sprained foot so against his will Kilinc sits out the next three games and returns in time for the season finale against then No. 1 ranked Northside, starts off just where he left off, leading the Rebels to a 35-14 win, and the 7A west conference title, securing a first round bye in the state play-offs.




Although he missed three games, Kilinc his numbers managed well|68 tackles, 53 coming unassisted, 15 TFL, 5 QB hurries, 6 sacks, 1 fumble recovery and 7 pass break-ups. Kilinc has generated big-program attention, maintains regular contact with the respective recruiters and coaches but does not discuss any of the details.

Southside put up a 9-3 record, won the 7A west conference champions, and lost in the semifinals of the State 7A playoffs.


Recruiting Process

“I’ve been talking to some coaches, receiving email and letters. That doesn’t really mean anything right now so why even discuss that?” “I see guys committing then de-committing, I don’t even get that.” Kilinc adds “I know one thing for sure, I’ll play football in college and get my degree, my concern is on getting goals done in off-season, preparing for the camps that I’ll attend, then having a great senior year”

Kilinc one of only three defensive starters returning on that side of the ball next year with only the line returning for the offense. You’d think there might be some concern.




Kilinc Said “The big turning point for us was game four, we beat Bentonville, the current back to back 7A champs 10-7,and stuff like that kept us going and we just grew up.” Kilinc adds “After that game, somebody said that our Defense was ranked No. 1 in Arkansas, and it stayed like that.” “We went on to win the Conference and got to the semi-finals, way short of our goal.” “That season is over, all attention turns to next season, building up, staying focused getting the young guys seeing and believing.”

Al Jones, Tight End, Kansas State University 1987-1991 said “This kid is an asset, regardless of the direction his life takes he’ll win, it’s in his biology.”


Written by Vincent Tataglia




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