The Courier-Post will highlight an area football player to watch this upcoming season with kickoff rapidly approaching.

Max Hays

School: Monroe City

Year: Senior

Position: Defensive line

Height: 6-2

Weight: 235

The stats: Team-high 55 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks.

Why watch: A third-team all-state pick a year ago, Hays became a force alongside first-team all-state pick Jon Saxbury. Of his 55 tackles, 17 were solo in the trenches.

With Saxbury graduated, it’ll be up to Hays to anchor Monroe City’s defensive line to help the Panthers compete for a district title.