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Georgia Gridiron Guide is published annually by 12th Promotions, a division of Dash Media Group Inc. All rights reserved, reproduction in whole or in part without written permission are prohibited.

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AND YOUR BR WE PUT ME! IN THE GA

Dell Miller

Team Repr esentative 678.206.3355 sales@12thm anpromotions .com

ns.com romotio 12thmanp

PUBLISHER

Georgia Gridirion Guide 4002 Hwy 78 Suite 530-153 Snellville, GA 30039 georgiagridironguide.com 678.805.2055 EDITOR Dell Miller ART DIRECTOR James Ledford TALENT EVALUATOR Chad Simmons/Scout.com

The Georgia Gridiron Guide Family would like to take this time to show our gratitude and appreciation to every person that sent us a photo for inclusion in this year’s magazine. We would also like to give a shout out to Solefoodatl.com for providing the hottest sneakers for the 12th Man Promotions staff this year. 2

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Roger Gidlow Markus Golden Stephen Miller Marcel Hughley Nicholas Gilliam Chad Martin Kevin Price Chad Simmons Alvin Richardson PHOTOGRAPHY Bobby Willis

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Atlanta's Classic Sneaker Consignment Boutique

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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Table Of Contents

06 WE MUST SACRIFICE FOR OUR TEAMS 08 PENNIES FOR PEDIATRICS 10 GEORGIA PREP FOOTBALL: BEST IN THE NATION 12 REMEMBERING LEMON STREET 16 FALCONS BACK IN THE NFC TITLE GAME 18 MEET THE DOCS 22 COLLEGE PREVIEWS 32 INSIDE THE HUDDLE 44 30 TEAMS 2 WATCH IN 2013 50 NEAIGHBORHOOD HEROES 64 A-LIST: GEORGIA’S BEST BY POSITION 80 CLASS OF 2014 84 CLASS OF 2015 86 THE FUTURE: 10 PLAYERS 2 WATCH FOR 2016 88 INSIDE BORN 2 COMPETE 96 APPLEBEE’S Presents FRIDAY NIGHTS KINGS 4

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


World Class Sports Medicine Go Where the Players Go! Call the experts at Emory Sports Medicine for a definitive opinion. Call Emory Health Connection at 404-778-7777 or visit www.emorysportsmedicine.org for more information. Voted among America’s and Atlanta’s best sports medicine physicians.

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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Photo courtesy of Peach County Schools 6

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


WHY WE MUST

SACRIFICE

TO BETTER OUR TEAMS & COMMUNITIES As we begin the 2012-13 season, I would like to begin by taking a moment to reflect on the absolute blessing that it is to focus on our most beloved pastime….football! I’ve had both the honor and privilege of traveling around Georgia visiting communities and have met some of the finest human beings on the planet via local high school football games. High school fans are the most passionate and supportive fans you will find and they go above and beyond to support their area schools both with their time and financially. The most amazing thing about the schools with the most support is that they are also very competitive. The game of football is dependent on fan support and that support is needed all of the time and at every game. I’m not sure of the population in Calhoun but, it appeared that every person from the town came to the championship game in the dome last season to cheer for their team. I can only imagine the pure joy that the fans felt as the Yellow Jackets finally beat Buford. My travels over the years have also allowed me to see a lack of fan dedication and commitment at some schools that have nearly brought me to tears. The absolute worse trends that I’ve seen lately are parents dropping-off their kids at ball games with no intention of staying themselves and fans turning their backs and walking-out because their team is losing. Folks, we must never forget that these are KIDS and we must make sure that we provide them with positive examples of support to maintain a sense of community and help our schools. The most competitive programs typically have awesome community support. The magic formula that creates success at any school is very simple: leadership + support + sacrifice = success. My prayer this season is for fans across the state currently connected to a program to become active in recruiting at least one person to join in their efforts to support our football teams. Over the last year, I’ve been volunteering at my local school and I’ve learned the time that I gave up provided me with an abundance of blessings that would not have come my way without my sacrifice.

Dell Miller Editor in Chief Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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Pennies for Pediatrics: Bringing Awareness To Autism One Step At A Time Pennies for Pediatrics is a non-profit organization providing awareness and support to the parents of children who have Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism is a term used for a number of developmental disabilities called Autism Spectrum Disorders — or ASD. ASD emerges in the first three years of a child’s life, and can affect the child’s ability to communicate, understand language, and to develop social relationships. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the way a child sees and interacts with the rest of the world. The mission of Pennies for Pediatrics is to supply families with information including, but not limited to, healthy living and therapies that will provide a more conducive environment for children on the Autism spectrum.  Parents can depend on Pennies for Pediatrics for financial support, as well, via grants,   coupons and gift cards. Pennies for Pediatrics was birthed from one mother’s passion to recover her son from Autism.  In her pursuit of this mission, she found it difficult to gain access to the help required to make her son the best individual that he could possibly be.  She diligently read books and befriended other mothers with kids on the spectrum. As her son began to participate in various therapies (speech, occupational, behavioral, etc), she realized that he was gaining confidence and becoming stronger each day.  Immediately her heart went out to all of the moms that were discouraged because of the lack of information and resources.   Through first hand experience, she learned that the most difficult part of receiving an autism diagnosis was the lack of support and readily available information.  As a result, Pennies for Pediatrics was launched as a resource tool to encourage and provide financial support and awareness for parents and family members. Pennies for Pediatrics has discovered that in addition to therapies, sports play a major role in an autistic child’s physical development and confidence. Physical activity is important for all children but it can especially promote a healthy lifestyle within individuals with autism. Given the right sports environment, a child with autism can learn the concept of teamwork and friendship building while improving poor motor coordination. Two of the main attributes that many ASD children possess is profound focus and adherence to routines. These traits can be beneficial to certain athletic pursuits.

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In an effort to bring awareness and provide hope and resources to families of children with spectrum disorders, Pennies for Pediatrics, has teamed with Georgia Gridiron Guide to host two charity benefits to support the efforts of this notable organization: 1) Annual “A” Day event - Families will enjoy good food and therapeutic fun for the kids. Healthy vendors and medical professional will be available to provide additional resources to parents. 2) Artism - Kids from all facets of the spectrum will submit their art to be auctioned to other parents and people in the community. For more information on Pennies for Pediatrics, to make a donation or to book a board member to speak to your community or organization regarding Autism, please email info@penniesforpediatrics.org. Please visit www.penniesforpediatrics.org learn more about autism and how you can get involved.

Autism Facts » In March 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 88 births in the United States and almost 1 in 54 boys.  » According to the Autism Society, the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is estimated to range from $3.5 million to $5 million » The United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism (this figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, in addition to related therapeutic services and caregiver costs). » Research shows that boys are more likely to develop Autism than girls.

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Cameron Miller, son of editor Dell Miller and diagnosed with an ASD, photographed with Georgia Gridiron Guide’s Neighborhood Hero, Robert Nkemdiche of Grayson High School.

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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Friday Night K in g s » by Kevin Price

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Georgia high school football is a huge deal. If it wasn’t, there probably wouldn’t be magazines that feature wallto-wall coverage of the game and those who play it in the Peach State. But just how does prep football in our neck of the woods compare to that in other states that make up this great big country? The answer to that question largely depends on who you ask and where they live. Therefore, there’s probably not a definitive answer, but the question certainly makes for a good roundtable discussion or locker room chatter. Of course, most opinions from people in this state are biased in favor of Georgia. But while some don’t hesitate to say the best high school football is played here, others are maybe at least a tad hesitant to place Georgia at the top of the heap out of respect for the other states which are held in high regard, too. But no matter exactly where you slot Georgia compared to those other states – most notably Florida, Texas and California which are commonly known as the Big Three in the prep football world – there’s a strong consensus that our state should now be considered among the top 5 for high school football in all of America if it wasn’t already. Anyone who tries to argue otherwise may not know much about football in general and certainly probably doesn’t know Peach State prep pigskin very well. It would seem that Rivals recognizes good football when it sees it. For the last four years, the web-based media outlet which focuses on national prep sports on its RivalsHigh platform has ranked Georgia in its Top 10 states for high school football. It goes about the task each year just before most states finish their regular seasons and start their playoffs to crown their state champions. But last year, Rivals ranked Georgia No. 1 in its poll for the first time, giving it the nod over Texas and Florida which were second and third, respectively. Our state gained the top spot largely based on the depth of quality teams last year in Georgia with Rivals pointing out that we had 13 teams ranked in its top 100 which tied it with Texas for the most in the rankings. Georgia also had five teams in the top 50, and not all of the 13 programs in the rankings were from the highest classification. The ranked teams were Camden County (7), Buford (16), Grayson (25), Tucker (32), Sandy Creek (44), Walton (62), M.L. King (67), Northside Warner Robins (68), Valdosta (69), Colquitt County (71), Stephenson (72), Hillgrove (93) and McEachern (94). And for what it’s worth, the ranked teams who won state titles were Grayson (5A) and Tucker (4A) while unranked Calhoun toppled Buford for the 2A state championship, which might say something more about the depth of teams in the state. But of course, no state produces this many high-caliber teams by accident. A lot of factors are involved, and when you talk to some of Georgia’s most well-known coaches, all of them will tell you that this state does as good a job as anyone when it comes to providing the ingredients that make Georgia high school football a strong brand. Of course, the players would probably be considered the main component and Georgia is loaded with talented athletes from as far south as Charlton County to the mountains in North Georgia and all points in between the two extremes. “Florida may have the most talented kids in the country and may produce the largest number of kids who play college football, but there’s not that much difference between their kids and ours,” Camden County’s Jeff Herron points out. “The SEC has obviously been very successful in college football especially the last several years, and Georgia has sent a lot of kids to those schools who have contributed to that success.” Florida, Texas and California probably produced significantly more major college prospects than Georgia at one time, Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

much at Colquitt, where state records indicate his salary was just under $94,000 last year, but obviously his base pay isn’t much less than it was previously. Propst admits the money was a drawing card, but Colquitt’s overall commitment to having a good football team was what prompted him to leave Alabama for Georgia. “When you pay high school football coaches six figures, which Georgia does a lot of, and throw in the commitment to having good facilities and a booster club that will band together and do what it takes to win and all those things, you don’t see that in a lot of places. But you do in this state,” Propst said. “A lot of tax dollars are going to education and lots of places are using that money to have good athletics. Like they say, you have to spend money to make money, and here in Colquitt County, football is the No. 1 revenue maker in our school, I think.” Propst, who has taken the Packers to two semifinal appearances and a state championship game in his first four seasons, is only one example of a coach crossing state lines to take an attractive job in Georgia. In recent years especially, several coaches have left Florida to come to Georgia to earn a bigger paycheck and hopefully have the chance to be more successful in what they consider a better situation. It’s simple. They know Georgia’s reputation and they want to be a part of it. “A lot of people in Georgia take a lot of pride in having winning programs and winning communities, and they’re willing to do the things that are necessary to do that,” said Grayson’s Conn, noting the community backing and all the resources available to succeed are appealing to coaches. When it comes to wanting and having winning teams, few communities are more serious about it than some of those with schools in Region 1-6A, which is widely regarded as the state’s toughest region and arguably could currently be the single best league for prep football in the nation. The region is home to state powers Valdosta, which as most know is the winningest high school football team in the country, Lowndes, Colquitt and now Camden which is new to the league this season. It also includes Coffee, Tift County and newcomer Brunswick, all of which have fielded their fair share of good football teams, too. Some have called this South Georgia league high school football’s version of the SEC. “This region is loaded,” Propst says. “There are pockets of great high school football all across the country, but it’s doubtful another team from across the country can come in and waltz through this region,” added Camden’s Herron. “There are two or three teams in this region among the best in the country.” And based on those national rankings from Rivals late last season, Georgia has many other good teams to go with these powerhouses. The coaches noted that many of these same teams that have appeared in national polls, along with several others, have played against top teams from other states in recent seasons and have won many more of these matchups than they’ve lost. This further bolsters their already strong overall opinion of the quality of football played in this state. “We’ve been really successful,” said Conn, whose Grayson team will open this season ranked second in the nation in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 poll. “We’ve shown we can mix it up with these out of state schools.” So while Region 1-6A may well be comparable to the SEC, it’s not exactly way off base to say the same about football across the Peach State. “There’s a great deal of emphasis put on football in the South and in Georgia,” said Herron, who has won four state titles, the first at Oconee County and the last three at Camden. “People go crazy over it.” As Tomberlin offers, “it’s very, very, very, very important.” And apparently, it’s very good, too.

Friday Night K i n g s

and that was largely because of sheer population alone. But Georgia has indeed closed the gap when it comes to the overall numbers of college recruits and obviously the population explosion around metro Atlanta has contributed to the state’s improving count. “Five years ago, Florida was ahead of Georgia in terms of D-I prospects, but that’s changed drastically. It’s close,” said Colquitt County’s Rush Propst. “I don’t know of any place that’s grown as fast as metro Atlanta. So with that rise in population what you have is a lot of good players and really good teams around there. “What happens is schools can come in there and hit 15-20 schools in the metro area in three days and recruit the city pretty well that way.” According to numbers compiled by Rivals, Georgia’s per capita college prospects numbers are quite impressive. This year, Georgia had 165 signees with FBS schools from 32,088 high school players in the state, giving Georgia the second-best ratio of FBS signees per players in the state, only behind Florida. And currently, Georgia’s total of three five-star prospects in the Class of 2013 ties it with Florida for the most in any state. Those numbers speak to what Grayson coach Mickey Conn has felt for a long time. “Sometimes, those things are based on reputation and perception,” said Conn, who guided the Rams to their first state championship last season. “Florida produces great players, but Georgia produces great players, too.” And the reality is that college coaches know that, which is what matters most since they are the ones who actually do the recruiting. State coaches will tell you that the recruiters are constantly praising Georgia’s overall talent pool. “Coaches who’ve come to my schools to recruit, they’ve told me they love to come to Georgia because our kids are just tougher,” said veteran coach Rick Tomberlin, who is now at Effingham County after previously coaching at Washington County, Valdosta and Lowndes among other places. “They’re not just great athletes. They’re football players. They love to run the football, rush the passer and make tackles. Football means a little more to them. Football is something they do with a passion.” And apparently, they play it very well. Franklin Stephens, who accepted the head coaching post at Lamar County in the offseason after leading Tucker to a second state title under his watch last season, said college coaches have told him as much. “They’ve told me Georgia is one of the best at producing good athletes,” Stephens said. “They say coaches do a good job getting the kids ready to play at the next level.” Good coaches are also a big part of the reason Georgia’s high school football is so highly regarded. Most coaches will tell you good players make good coaches, but one could argue that good players can’t make a good team alone. It takes a good coach to pull them all together to get the job done. If the national team rankings above really mean anything, then Georgia has a good number of coaches getting that job done. But those coaches apparently only represent a small sample. According to Camden’s Herron, Georgia’s collective player talent pool, its number of good coaches at programs big and small and the emphasis that is placed on football statewide, makes Georgia hard to beat. “Combine all of that, and you can’t top that,” Herron said. Obviously, the importance of having good football means that many schools are willing to pay big bucks to get a topnotch coach. It’s no secret that many of the state’s premier programs pay their coaches six-figure salaries or something close to that. Colquitt’s Propst is one of those. When Propst left national power Hoover (Ala.) under highly-publicized controversy following the 2007 season, his base salary was reported to be slightly more than $100,000. He doesn’t make quite that

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Lemon Street Merges with Marietta High School to Create Magic Football Memories Shalunda Hugley-Brown

Photo courtesy of Johnny Walker Photography 12

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


When the Marietta school district decided to merge Lemon Street and Marietta High School in the late 1960s, it was unknown the legacy that would come out of this integration, especially in the realm of football. The merger produced great players, supportive coaches, and an outstanding football team as a whole. Before adding the talent of the Lemon Street players, Coach French Johnson, head coach of the Marietta High School football team, had an above average record in the AAA division. It was not until the 1967 season, after the integration, that the school went from “above average” to “spectacular” and claimed its first state championship. This was the year that football changed. Prior to the integration, Lemon Street and Marietta had both made their way to the state championship finals. Even after losing all but two of his starting players, Coach Ben Wilkins, in his first and only year as head coach of the Lemon Street Hornets, led his team to victory before merging with Marietta High School. From this point, he continued to amaze, as he coupled with Coach Johnson to create an impressive win record over the years.

Although the merger between the two schools did not have much of an effect on the school as a whole, it did positively impact the Marietta football team. Because Lemon Street had won the state championship the previous year in 1966, Bill and many of the other players on the Marietta team were excited about gaining 9 additional players from Lemon Street. “We all understood we were different colors. But those of us who played ball had a fairly successful year,” said Bill. He accredits much of the success to having a strong coaching staff and being under the leadership of Coach Wilkins. “I think the relationship between Ben Wilkins and French Johnson was a special one. I think there was a mutual respect. Ben was a very quiet man. He didn’t come in like ‘I should get this-I should get that.’ He wanted to be a part of the system,” said Bill. After his first year of coaching a mixed team of black and white players, Coach Wilkins became more of a legend, as he lead his team to win after win.

The period of integration during the1960s was a time that many remembered as challenging. It was an uneasy transition for black students, as they had to adjust to sharing a classroom with several other white students. For sports, the time period was said to be much worse.

“I think Ben was really the key. He became an institution there and was a contributor to athletes being athletes, regardless of color,” said Bill. “Regardless of who you were, whether you were the best player on the team, or the worst player on the team, he just said to do your best.”

“We all want to go back to that ‘Remember the Titans’ kind of situation, but I thought it went well,” said Bill Dykes, a former lineman of the Marietta High football team in 1967. He was a senior when the merger took place.

Bill and his teammates referred to Coach Wilkins as a mentor and a one-on-one teacher to whomever he was with.

“I can remember when the movie came out and several of us thinking back and saying ‘Was it like that in Marietta?’ and the conclusion, person after person, saying ‘No, it wasn’t.’” he said, referring to the football drama Remember the Titans, that was filmed in Georgia in multiple cities, including Marietta. Bill describes the integration of Marietta and Lemon Street as a non-event. “I just don’t remember tension. I don’t remember touchy times. I think everything blended in pretty well,” he said. “I don’t think it impacted what went on at Marietta High School. I guess we all just said, ‘Well, here comes integration.’”

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

“When he was working with you, when he was coaching you, when he was teaching you, he looked you square in the eyes and you were the only person around when he was influencing you and being apart of your football experience,” said Bill. Coach Ben Wilkins is a respected person in Marietta High School’s history. His name lives on as part of the Ben Wilkins Award, which is one of the most valued awards a Marietta Blue Devil can receive. He also left behind the phrase “Be Somebody” -the phrase which he coined to be a key principle to the students of Marietta High. “‘Be Somebody’ just sort of became a Marietta motto and it is attributed to Coach Ben.”

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s i w e L n Joh of Training The King

Incorporating the fundamentals of core and athletic training with educational mathematics, John Lewis of Energy Fitness of America goes beyond the basics in order to render the best results from young athletes. The staff’s vision is to “provide the client with total health and wellness programs that put emphasis on nutrition, building self-confidence, and self-esteem of the individual or organization.” Lewis’s personal mission and inspiration of working with the youth is to give them the opportunity to have a competitive edge. “It’s like starting them off like a little seed and seeing them flourish into a flower,” he says. From experience in his own youth, Lewis knows that starting to train the right muscles at a young age is important and must be carried further than childhood. “It was really the way I was brought up. Both my mom and dad were highly into athletics. We didn’t know anything but

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to work out and ride our bikes.” As part of his program with young kids, Lewis and his team developed the Functional Mathematics Program. It is a program for the kids who start training at a young age to keep educational and mathematic practices involved in their workout. “When they come in at ages 4, 5, or 6, they measure the height and width of cones and learn how to distance them so that they can still incorporate their math skills and continue to learn and stay educated as they train,” he says. Lewis starts out training with the beginners only three days out of the week in order to allow their bodies to adjust to the workout. He targets muscles by training with routines such as boxing, aquatics, and cycling. “By doing all of these different programs, we can make a great person a great athlete,” he says. The program works with all areas of athletes, because it is important that training be adequate among all areas of sports. He feels

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


that proper training will benefit young kids by giving them the opportunity to compete. It prepares them to build confidence and allows them to be mentally ready other than physically ready. One important aspect of starting to work out and train at a young age is making sure they have all the proper mechanics to run. They learn how to run and how to have good posture. They also learn a lot about training their core muscles along with learning what the core muscles are. “Some of them don’t really have it until they get inspired and see improvement,” he says regarding the passion that the youth have as they train. “They get more enthused about getting more training.” Lewis explains that working with the youth in athletic training is a lot different from working with adults. “With adults, you almost have to re-discipline them. You have to work on their bad habits,” says Lewis. “But with the youth, they are raw. We work to get their fundamentals together in the beginning.”

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

The most important aspect of training that kids must learn is safety. They must learn to have good posture in order to avoid injuries. “A lot of our injuries come from not learning to run correctly; they start off running straight ahead, but when beginning to learn agility, running from left to right, they have to do it properly,” he explains. After the kids have left the facility, Lewis suggest that they keep up their athletic ability by making sure they stay hydrated with water, eating properly, and getting the right nutrients in. “Sometimes they have to indulge and be a kid, but they have to remember to eat and stay hydrated even when they are not working out.” Lewis’s participation in training young kids is more than just a job; it is something he is enthused to do. His encouragement and teachings will improve the youth in their ability to properly work out as well as in their mathematic education.

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INSIDE THE LEAGUE: FALCONS by Nicholas Gilliam

The Atlanta Falcons return back to the NFC Title game because… It’s that time of year when most teams have finished up their mandatory mini camps. I have had a chance to evaluate all 16 NFC teams and most of my readers at this moment are probably wondering, “How in the world did we come up with that assumption” “The Falcons in the title game?” Have patience my friends I will explain. I have come up with 5 different critical components that will allow this team to at least make it to the NFC championship and I decided to list them in descending order. So, let me explain my not so outrageous prediction. Here goes... 5. Atlanta- Not just the city itself, but everything in it. Now, you may be asking yourself “what does that have to do with play on the field”? It has EVERYTHING to do with the play. Believe it or not players, especially the defense, feed off the crowd. When the crowd is in it, Matt Ryan loves what his defense does, which is give him the ball back and the more possessions this offense has the better. Secondly, there is a lot of talk around town of Arthur Blank and new Stadium amenities. Instead of building a new stadium, he is considering turning the dome into a convertible! I do have one MAJOR problem with Falcons fans and the best way to describe them is being “fickle”. I know Vick was a hometown hero, but when he comes to the dome to play please don’t cheer for him with an Atlanta Falcons jersey on. Support OUR team! 4. 2012 Schedule- I am not sure if anyone has really looked at what the schedule makers did for the Falcons early in the season, but let’s take a deeper look. Consider this, in the first 6 weeks; the Falcons could be 6-0 to start the season. They will only face two good Quarterbacks and both games will be in the dome. Payton Manning will be one of them, but as great as I expect him to be, he doesn’t play defense and Elway hasn’t done anything in my opinion too sure up the back end of the defense. Then you have Kansas City, San Diego, and Washington “RG3 still is being welcomed to NFL D-line men speed” away from home. Three games I believe they will win. The only possible slip up is Cam Newton and Carolina Panthers, but even that gives them a 5-1 record right before the bye. Then the slump starts in weeks 8,9,10, and one more in week 17 vs. the Lions and that my friends will equal a 12-4 record that WILL win home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

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Everyone still following? Okay let us move on 3. Julio Jones- Maybe it was the lockout, but last season was the year of the rookies and Jones was no exception. I will be the first to admit; I didn’t expect such a great season from this kid. I mean, come on, no off-season, playing in the NFC south and to catch 54 balls at nearly 1000 yards in a rookie season. Of the 54 catches, he averaged 17.8 yards. Jones will only face 4 top ten defenses from the year before. So, the question isn’t will he be better, but how much better. 2. Mike Smith/Matt Ryan- These two guys have not forgotten that scoreless playoff game against the New York football Giants. Nobody denies that was an unprepared team. However, that left a taste in Ryan’s mouth, which isn’t a tasty one. He looks sharp and his passes have been more than accurate during OTA’s and mini-camps. Matt looks determined and could be on the verge of a major breakout season with insane numbers if he can limit costly turnovers. Drum roll please… The main reason I feel the Falcons reach the NFC title game is…. 1. Free agency- the acquisition of Asante Samuel is the best move the club has made. Rather in New England or Philly, this guy has always taken away half the field. Atlanta might have the best secondary in the league and just a year ago this was the team’s main weakness. Smith has prepared his defenses to go up against any team in the playoffs with a great receiving core like the Giants, Cowboys, Eagles, and how could I forget Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

2012 SCHEDULE »

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


SEPT. 9TH

@ KANSAS CITY 1:00PM

SEPT. 17TH DENVER

8:30PM

SEPT. 23RD @ SAN DIEGO

4:05PM

SEPT. 30TH CAROLINA

1:00PM

OCT. 7TH

@ WASHINGTON 1:00PM

OCT. 14TH OAKLAND

1:00PM

OCT. 28TH @ PHILADELPHIA 1:00PM NOV.

4TH DALLAS

8:20PM

NOV. 11TH @ NEW ORLEANS 1:00PM NOV. 18TH ARIZONA

1:00PM

NOV. 29TH NEW ORLEANS

8:20PM

DEC.

1:00PM

9TH @ CAROLINA

DEC. 16TH GIANTS

1:00PM

DEC. 22ND @ DETROIT

8:30PM

DEC. 30TH TAMPA BAY

1:00PM

For tickets call 855-222-3267 or visit atlantafalcons.com

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a global leader in providing advanced treatments for patients with sports and orthopedic injuries. Our patients range from professional athletes and world leaders to those who enjoy active lifestyles and want to ensure the best possible recovery from injuries. Featuring our flagship Executive Park location, with easy access at I-85 and N. Druid Hills Rd, free parking on one level, and a 48-hour appointment guarantee for acute sports injury treatment or surgical second opinions, the Emory Sports Medicine Center is the unrivaled center of excellence for orthopedic sports medicine in metro Atlanta. The physicians at Emory Sports Medicine specialize in the latest state of the art techniques for the diagnosis treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, including: • Advanced, minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques for repair and reconstruction of the knee, shoulder, and ankle • Stem cell and platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy for the non-surgical treatment of ligament and tendon injuries • High resolution Ultrasound imaging for the noninvasive diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions Our Executive Park location also features a number of additional state of the art features: » Single specialty outpatient surgery centerOur outpatient surgery center is dedicated to the operative care of musculoskeletal disorders. All nurses, technicians, and staff are trained to the specific requirements of the orthopedic patient. » Three Tesla (3T) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - The most powerful clinical use magnet available. Our 3 Tesla MRI unit is the only one of its kind in Atlanta. It provides the highest available resolution and most detailed imaging of the musculoskeletal system

THE EMORY SPORTS MEDICINE CENTER OUR DOCTORS AND FACILITIES

» Sports Physical Therapy- Emory Physical Therapy provides services at six facilities throughout the Atlanta metro area. All centers employ certified physiotherapists who specialize in the rehabilitation of all varieties of sports injuries and post-surgical conditions At Emory Sports Medicine, you will always see a board certified and fellowship trained physician. Our specialists currently serve as doctors for the Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Dream professional franchises, as well as the Georgia Tech, Emory, Oglethorpe, and Georgia Perimeter collegiate teams. If you have a sports injury or need a second opinion, you can be assured the doctors and staff at Emory Sports Medicine are committed to helping athletes of all ages and skill levels get “Back in the Game”. Emory Sports Medicine Center 59 Executive Park Drive, South Atlanta, GA 30345

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Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Who should you see when you’ve suffered a sports injury? The question is the same whether you are a high school freshman or an NFL superstar! When the Atlanta Falcons were searching for an orthopedic surgeon to lead their sports medicine program, they researched their options in the same way you wouldthey looked for someone with years of experience caring for elite athletes of all levels. The Falcons wanted a doctor who was a college or pro athlete himself, so he would understand the positive impact a physician can have on an injured athlete’s career. They also wanted a doctor who had the injured athlete’s best interest in mind. After dozens of doctors were considered, and several interviewed, the Falcons chose Dr. Karas as their head team physician. “I have had the opportunity to care for many elite athletes” says Karas. “At Duke, I worked with Coach K’s basketball team, then during fellowship with the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies. I look forward to the privilege and challenge of helping Coach Smith keeps the Falcons flying”. Dr. Karas’ commitment to you, the athlete, extends beyond expert care in the clinic and operating room. His research in the causes and treatments of sports injuries has been published and presented throughout the world. His peers have honored him with multiple awards, including America’s “Top Sports Doctors” in Men’s Health Magazine. He has been selected to Atlanta Magazine’s “Best Doctors” for each of the past six years. Dr. Karas understands the importance of every player’s dream- amateur or professional. “My ultimate objective is to get athletes of all ages and levels back in the game. Whether you’re a first round draft pick or on your high school’s team, you will get the same expert care the Atlanta Falcons ask me to provide for their players”. “Being in the league (NFL) for 8 years, injuries are always a part of the game. I was always looking for the right answers outside of the business piece of professional sports. I count on Dr Karas to give me the right answers, whether it’s what I want to hear or not, he keeps me on the field. He is a real sports doc for real athletes.” Artie Ulmer: 8 year NFL player. Born and raised in Georgia, attended Valdosta State College and retired playing for the Atlanta Falcons.

Spero G. Karas, MD Head Team Physician- Atlanta Falcons, Lakeside HS Associate Professor of Orthopaedics Director, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Emory Sports Medicine Center 59 Executive Park South Ste 1000 Atlanta GA 30329 www.sperokaras.com 404.778.7204 Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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During my fellowship in Birmingham, AL with Dr. James Andrews I was exposed to the highest level of sports. I was on the sidelines as the team doctor for a division I football program in gigantic stadiums in the SEC and across the south. Now I have taken on a new role as team physician for the Atlanta Falcons. I get to take care of the best athletes in the biggest situations right there on the field and be a part of the team from the NFL combine through training camp in the locker room. I enjoy my practice with Emory Sports Medicine taking care of athletes at all levels and specializing in the care of pediatric and adolescent sports participants. I cover numerous high school sports, the Atlanta Dekalb International Olympic Training Center, Emory University, GA Perimeter College, the Atlanta Ballet, the Atlanta Xplosion women’s semi-professional football, and numerous other races and sporting events. I love my job because I get to work with motivated people and help them reach their potential. We want to keep players on the field, but only if it is safe. I enjoy taking care of concussions, fractures, sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises. By helping an athlete feel better I hope to let them accomplish their goals in sports and in life. “I have been playing in the NFL for 10 years and a lot of injuries creep up. I know I can count on Dr Webb and Emory Sports Medicine to take care of me and keep me on the field at the highest level” Alge Crumpler: Second round draft pick for the Atlanta Falcons, current Tight End New England Patriots, NFL - four-time pro bowl selection and two-time all pro selection

Jeff Webb, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Team Physician Atlanta Falcons Emory Sports Medicine Center Atlanta GA www.emorysportsmedicine.org Appointments: 404-778-7777

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Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


As a primary care and sports medicine fellowship trained physician I truly appreciate the desires of an athlete to stay on the field. I see my job as providing a necessary service to keep the athlete performing in tip-top condition. I work closely with high school athletes, as well as professional athletes. It is important to me that all the athletes I work with understand that their well-being is the most important thing, no matter what level they compete at. My partners (physicians) and the athletic training staff at Emory Sports Medicine share my feelings and I believe this is what makes us such an asset to our patient population and Georgia’s athletes. “If it was not for the outstanding medical and orthopedic care from Dr Mines and the team at the Emory Sports Medicine Center, I would not have been able to stay in the game at vital times during the season.” Chamique Holdsclaw: WNBA 1st overall draft pick and rookie of the year 1999, Olympic Gold medalist for Team USA, 4 time Collegiate All American, and 3 time NCAA National Champion with Tennessee Lady Vols

Brandon Mines, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics Team Physician – Atlanta Falcons Team Physician – Atlanta Dream Emory Sports Medicine Center 59 Executive Park South Ste 1000 www.emorysportsmedicine.org 404.778.7777

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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Record (10-4 Overall: 7-1 Conference) The favorite team in the state of Georgia started of the season the way that it ended. What began with high hopes, turned to become what some would call a disappointment? As always, when it comes to playing in the SEC, the Bulldogs had high expectations for a bright season. They landed the nation’s top running back in Isaiah Crowell, and were returning the majority of their team. When the Bulldogs opened up against Boise State in the Chik-fil-a Kickoff Game, they faced a test that could determine the route their season would take. It was an exciting out of conference match-up between an established powerhouse and the questionable mid conference Broncos. The Bulldogs failed to capture the victory in their own backyard. The following week was the conference opener against Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks of South Carolina. After 60 minutes of football between the hedges, UGA was looking up at a 0-2 start. At the end of the regular season, UGA was

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10-2 with a spot in SEC Championship representing the Eastern conference; a feat that was respectable in itself after the slow start. LSU overpowered the Dawgs in every statistical category of the game. The loss landed them in the Outback Bowl against Michigan State. Looking for a bounce back after the disappointing showing in the SEC Championship, Mark Richt’s team fell short in the triple overtime thriller. So what is the outlook for UGA in 2012? For starters, there is a ton of adversity the Bulldogs

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Schedule

9/1 vs. Buffalo 9/8 @ Missouri 9/15 vs. Florida Atlantic 9/22 vs. Vanderbilt 9/29 vs. Tennessee 10/6 @ S. Carolina 10/13 OPEN 10/20 @ Kentucky 10/27 vs. Florida (Jacksonville, FL) 11/3 vs. Ole Miss 11/10 @ Auburn 11/17 vs. GA Southern 11/24 vs. GA Tech

by Roger Gidlow will face throughout the season. There were a slew of suspensions and legal issues that will affect both sides of the ball. On offense, there was the unfortunate incident involving Isaiah Crowell. An incident that eventually led to his dismissal from the program. Crowell was arrested on three weapon charges, two of which were felonies. On the opposite side of the ball, Richt will have to adapt to not having Sanders Commings (2 game suspension), Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo (multiple games). Luckily enough, Mark Richt did as he always come the month of February. He started the 2012 season in the right direction with another tremendous recruiting classes that will help ease the issues that happened with the aforementioned players. Considering the departure of Crowell, the Bulldogs were able to bring in Todd Gurley (No. 5 RB in Nation) and Keith Marshall (No. 2 RB in Nation) to add with Ken Malcome and Richard Samuel. The bright side on offense is Aaron Murray. While some may say Aaron Murray is overrated, his numbers don’t lie. Entering his senior season, Murray is ready to prove the

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

doubters wrong. Another interesting signing for UGA came at the quarterback position in Faton Bauta. Is it the return of Tebow in the SEC? Coming from West Palm Beach, FL, Bauta played linebacker and fullback prior to his senior season. The position switch led to the comparison of Tebow due to his size and speed. On defense the bulk of their recruits came on the defensive line. Six recruits played in the trenches in high school, some of which may be switching to linebacker due to the 3-4 defense UGA plays. The largest commitment came from Josh-Harvey Clemons. Standing in at 6’5’’ 208 pounds, Clemons is an athletic specimen. Being compared to the likes of Demarcus Ware, as the number one prospect in the state of Georgia according to ESPN.com, Clemons will be an instant contributor to the Bulldog defense. Last year, Mark Richt landed major prospects in the secondary in what some have been calling “The Dream Team”. For the Bulldogs, their success boils down to putting the pieces of the puzzle back together, and finding a replacement pieces.

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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2011 Record (8-5 Overall; 5-3 Conference)

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9/3 @ VA Tech 9/8 vs. Presbyterian 9/15 vs. Virginia 9/22 vs. Miami 9/29 vs. Middle Tennessee State 10/6 @ Clemson 10/13 OPEN 10/20 vs. Boston College 10/27 vs. BYU 11/3 @ Maryland 11/10 @ N. Carolina 11/17 vs. Duke 11/24 @ Georgia

Schedule

Entering his fifth season as the head coach of the Yellow Jackets, Paul Johnson has done everything right for his team. In his tenure at Tech, Johnson has racked up a record of 4322. In only one season did Johnson’s team not reach eight wins? His unique flex bone offense has made Georgia Tech a legitimate threat in the ACC conference. For years, Tech has always been the second favorite in the state of Georgia. Due to the success and progress that has been taking shape over the years at Bobby Dodd Stadium it should come as no surprise that the hype of the Yellow Jacket program is growing. Last season, Tech opened the season destroying the teams that were placed in front of them for the first six games of the season. A 6-0 start was enough to earn a number 12 ranking in the nation for Johnson’s team. Tech’s season took a bit of a turn on October 15th when they lost an upset game to unranked Virginia. The following week they dropped another conference game to Miami, which landed them out of the top 25. Homecoming week against Clemson was the highlight of the Yellow Jacket season. Tech made a leap back in to the rankings when they upset the Tigers who were ranked number five in the nation and carried an undefeated record. They finished second in their division of the ACC, and failed to earn a spot to play for the ACC title and a chance at a BCS bowl game. What could lead Tech to ACC dominance in 2012? One of the largest issues that Paul Johnson faces every year with recruiting also happens to be what makes him

successful. His system. In 2007, when Johnson accepted the job at Tech, he inherited a team that was built for a different system. Chan Gailey, now coach of the Buffalo Bills, brought in players for a pro style offense. Players like Calvin Johnson, Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas and Josh Nesbitt were all brought to Atlanta because of Gailey. The downside of Johnson’s system is that it does not translate to the pro game, which is where every NCAA player wants to be. Another issue for Tech and recruiting is the conference and regional location of the school. In the ACC, there is Virginia Tech, Clemson, Miami and Florida State. Big schools with a ton of tradition. Regionally, they have to compete with the power conference in the SEC. Johnson may not land big time recruits, however, he lands the right ones. At the ACC media day, Johnson said he expects all of his players to be academically ready to go for the start of the season. Georgia Tech will have 28 freshmen on this year’s squad. One of the spots that will be a void is with the loss of Stephen Hill. The wide receiver is now in the NFL and was an intricate part of the “Home Run” ball. While the Jackets rarely throw the ball, it becomes the threat of what could be. Will Smith, Michael Summers, Anthony Autry and Hunter Marshall will be vying to make ground on being the next big receiver at Tech. One Achilles heel Tech had last season was the inconsistent play of their defense. Improving the defense and keeping points of the board for the opposing team will determine the success for the 2012 season. Tech’s offense is built around controlling the clock. Tech will score, but can they stop the other team. With the schedule the Yellow Jackets have, they could start either 5-1 or 2-4. The pre-season prediction for Tech has them at second in the Coastal Division. Will this be the year Tech takes it to the Promised Land?

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

Georgia State Panthers 2011 Record (3-8)

8/30 vs. S. Car. State 9/8 @ Tennessee 9/15 vs. UTSA 9/22 vs. Richmond 9/29 @ William and Mary 10/6 vs. New Hampshire 10/13 @ Rhode Island 10/20 vs. Villanova 10/27 @ James Madison 11/3 vs. Old Dominion 11/10 @ Maine

Schedule

The Georgia State Panthers suffered the typical sophomore slump in their second year of competition on the gridiron. In the inaugural season, Bill Curry’s team impressed against most of their opponents when they pulled of six wins. In 2011, the contributing factor to the issues was the insecurity at the Quarterback position. The starter from the 2010 season, Drew Little, was suspended for the first four games. Then, his backup Kelton Hill was arrested prior to the season opener. Which left their punter, Bo Schlecter as the team’s starting Quarterback. Every team will face adversity throughout a season. As the Panthers look forward to a new season, they also are making a transition that will be building their program for success in the future. On April 9th, 2012, the school announced that they would be joining the Sun Belt Conference. While they won’t become a full member until 2013, this upcoming season will become the beginning of the transition from FCS to Division I FBS. Due to the transition, this season will be the one and only year that the team will play in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Panthers unfortunately, are predicted to finish last in a very strong CAA conference. Since the announcement of joining the Sun Belt, the players have been chanting “National Championship.” While that may be a stretch, it’s a goal that the team is striving for. The 2012 season will be the first full senior class for Bill Curry’s team. Meaning that their is the leadership and dedication from the players needed to have a cohesive unit on and off the field. One bonus to the leap in conferences will be the attractiveness to new recruits. A higher level of competition will help draw in some recruits in future years that the program may not have received otherwise. This season, Georgia State brought in 18 freshmen to add to the roster. It is a class that is split evenly on both sides of the ball. Nine on offense and nine on defense. The opportunities on the defensive side of the ball will be there for a few of those freshman. The Panthers defense was atrocious last season allowing 31.2 points and 403.3 yards a game. The new defensive coordinator will be Anthony Midget who was promoted from Special Teams after John Thompson left for Arkansas State to hold the same title. The front seven will be the challenge for Midget as they only have one returning starter since the dismissal of Dexter Moody, A.J. Portee and Qwontez Mallory. Freshman defensive tackle Joe Lockley may have the best chance to shine in his first year. The offense faces the same amount of pressure. After losing four starting offensive lineman to graduation, the Panthers will have to build a unit to protect the new starting quarterback. Ben McLane, redshirt freshman from Brookwood High School in Snellville, GA, has been “penciled” in as the number one signal caller for 2012. Coming off an AAAAA state title, McLane added the “Head Coach’s Award” to his already impressive resume that also includes Brookwood’s career passing leader. The Panthers struggled last year but some of their losses came down to just a few points. With the work ethic this offseason WR Jordan Giles noted that this year would be different in that aspect. “Our best last year, was not as good as our best this year.” This young team will have to gel quickly in order to make the strides towards their future in the Sun Belt Conference in 2013. However, 2012 comes first, and the Panthers seem up for the challenge.

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Georgia Southern Eagles 2011 Record (11-3; 7-1 Conference)

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Schedule

9/1 vs. Jacksonville 9/8 @ Citadel 9/22 vs. Elon 9/29 vs. Samford 10/6 @ Western Carolina 10/13 vs. Wofford 10/20 @ Furman 10/27 @ Chattanooga 11/3 vs. Appalachian State 11/10 vs. Howard 11/17 @ Georgia

The Eagles returned back to their traditional form as one of the powerhouses in the FCS. For the first time since 2001, the Eagles were able to reach the top of the rankings and held the number one spot in the rankings. The team was also able to clinch their first Southern Conference Football Championship since 2004. Second year coach Jeff Monken, led his team to seven straight convincing wins before dropping their first game on the road to another powerhouse in Appalachian State. The only other loss came in the regular season came from the hands of the eventual national champion in Alabama. The success in the regular season led to a first round bye in the FCS playoffs. After two playoff wins against Old Dominion and Maine, the triple option offense traveled to North Dakota where the team was outmatched by North Dakota State in a 35-7 trouncing. A successful season that falls short of anything less than a championship loads any team with the motivation to build towards the next season. That is the mindset for Monken and his players looking forward at the 2012 season. Similar to Georgia State, in April of this year the school announced that they also have the intention of making the leap into the FBS division. With the success the team had last year it comes as no surprise that the Eagles are the preseason favorite to take home another 2012 Southern Conference title. They received 25 first place votes, which outnumbered both Wofford and Appalachian State for the top spot. The Eagles success for the past two years, which led them to back-toback semi-final appearances in the playoffs, can be attributed to the recruiting success. One of the problems is always replacing a senior class. This year Monken landed 24 recruits. All of them will be at positions that needed depth to replace the departing athletes including three quarterbacks, four offensive linemen and four defensive linemen. Football in the south has become a phenomenal pipeline for the college level. It should come as no surprise that Monken stood with his roots and brought in players from Georgia (13), Florida (7) and South Carolina (4). Three of the four players from South Carolina come from South Pointe High School which one the Class 3AAA title last season. Due to the offensive nature of Monken’s strategy with the triple option playbook, the quarterback position is vital to the team’s performance. One of the top recruits for the Eagles recruiting class is Matt Dobson from North Florida Christian School. Ranked as the #29 best dual threat quarterback according to Rivals.com, Dobson managed to accumulate 62 total touchdowns in his high school career. On defense, the prized recruit comes from Buford, GA. Dequan Clark who plays on the defensive line was ranked the 79th best player in the state of Georgia by ESPN.com. Clark is a dominant force in stuffing the run game. The Gwinnett County Touchdown Club honored him with Second Team All County Defensive Lineman. Clark anchored a defense that allowed only 7.4 points per game. The start for redemption for the Georgia Southern Eagles will begin on September 1st against Jacksonville. One interesting game to watch will be the in state finale when the Eagles take a trip to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs between the hedges on November 17th.

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


9/1 @ Saginaw Valley State 9/8 vs. Fort Valley State 9/15 @ Angelo State 9/22 vs. West Alabama 9/29 vs. Edward Waters 10/6 @ West Georgia 10/13 @ North Alabama 10/20 vs. Delta State 10/25 @ Shorter 11/1 vs. Texas A&M Kingsville

Schedule

Valdosta State Blazers 2011 Record (6-4)

In 2011, David Dean and the Blazers posted a 6-4 record and they failed to make the playoffs. In the final three games of last season, the Blazers lost each game by a combined total of 13 points where they had the lead in the final minute of each contest. The 2012 outlook is positive for the team, as they have been ranked as high as number four in the preseason polls for the division. Along with the high preseason ranking, the Blazers also have five preseason all-Americans on the roster. Three of those players are seniors that play on the offensive line. Edmund Kugbila (OG), Ryan Schraeder and Mesh Wokomaty who both play offensive tackle will play a big role for the offense in 2012. The other two players are huge contributors on defense. Junior linebacker Chris Pope has started all 21 games in his career. During that span, he has been racking up tackles with 92 last season and 153 for his career. Senior cornerback Matt Pierce rounds out the class of All Americans. Pierce has only missed one start in his three years at VSU. He ranks seventh best in school history in pass break ups with 24, and has four interceptions to go along with 126 tackles according to the team’s website. Like always, David Dean has brought in a large recruiting class for the upcoming season. There will be 29 new Blazers vying for playing time in 2012. All of the players have impressive high school resumes as they look to add to them at the next level. Playing time will be a challenge for these players as Valdosta will be returning 48 letterman and 18 of their 22 starters. For the first time since 2007 the team will know who the quarterback will be which is a huge plus for David Dean’s team. Cayden Cochran (Jr.) will be the starting quarterback. Cochran was unable to compete in the spring game as he was still recovering from a broken collarbone injury. To add more competition to the mix is Kaleb Nobles. Nobles comes from Fitzgerald High School, an early graduate that enrolled at VSU prior to spring practice. Dean spoke of Nobles by saying “Looking at him from the first day, boy what a talent he is.” The talent on defense is there for the Blazers to keep points off the board. For Valdosta, this season will be about finishing games. “When you play at Valdosta State there is always a target there” Dean said. One minute and forty two seconds is the time it took for the Blazers to lose their playoff hopes. Otherwise, they would of been 9-1 and sitting in the driver seat of a deep playoff run. This will be the motivation for the Blazers in 2012.

Morehouse Maroon Tigers 2011 Record (8-2)

Schedule

Morehouse had a very successful campaign in 2011. They only dropped two games and managed to get to the playoffs where they were defeated by Wingate 63-41. The team will be returning 14 players, eight on offense and six on defense. On offense, the key returning player will be running back David Carter who almost racked up 1,500 yards. Defensively, Elijah Anderson and Brandon Houston are returning to play linebacker. Collectively, the two compiled 140 tackles and 10 sacks. While the Tigers have a few key players returning they will also have to deal with departure of a few key players. Byron Ingram who played quarterback was a main factor in the team’s success. He a for 1,790 yards and passed for 10 touchdowns. Chigbo Anunoby has left college for the NFL. The defensive lineman who earned All-SIAC honors is now playing on Sundays for the Indianapolis Colts. Morehouse finished second in the East of the SIAC last season, but this year they are predicted to be at the top of the conference. Morehouse had eight players placed on the all conference team for the 2012 season. On offense and defense there were three players on both offense and defense that received first team honors. The other two 9/1 vs. Howard (RFK Stadium) players received second team honors. 9/8 vs. Edward Waters College The talent that is already on the Tigers roster is fairly deep. To add to the talented roster, Rich Freeman has signed 11 players to come play for 9/15 @ Winston Salem State Morehouse in the fall. Eight of the 11 are high schoolers that hail from Atlanta, 9/22 vs. Lane College and the other three are transfers. Three of the eight high schoolers will have 9/29 @ Clark Atlanta an instant connection on the field as they played together at Cedar Grove 10/6 vs. Tuskegee High School. One player who will make an instant contribution is Russell 10/13 vs. Albany State Ellington. The linebacker comes in as a transfer from Champaign, IL where he played at the University of Illinois. The game to be highlighted on Morehouse’s 10/20 @ Benedict schedule is the opener against Howard that will be played at RFK Stadium in 10/27 vs. Fort Valley State Washington D.C, on September 1st. 11/3 vs. Kentucky State

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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Albany State Rams 2011 Record (6-4)

Schedule

Head coach Mike White has been leading the Rams for 11 seasons now. He has helped shape the Rams into one of the more dominant forces in the SIAC. Last season they came in second in the conference and one game short of a conference title. This year the Rams will face a tough schedule but with the conference and success they have had every game is a tough one for Albany State. Looking ahead the Rams have seven players that earned All-SIAC honors. Ronnie Tubbs is an extremely talented player that will be the go to receiver in the passing game for 2012. Last season he had 45 receptions for over 800 yards and 10 touchdowns. Running back Nathan Hoyte earned all conference honors as well. The balance between the ground 9/1 vs. North Greenville game and passing game will keep the ball moving 9/8 @ Wingate for the Rams in 2012. Hoyte rushed for 774 yards 9/15 @ Elizabeth City State and seven touchdowns. 9/22 vs. Miles Justin Blash and Larry Whitfield are the 9/29 @ Kentucky State two defensive studs for the Rams. Last season, Blash recorded 43 tackles, 8.5 of which were for 10/6 vs. Lane loss. The defensive lineman was also second on 10/13 @ Morehouse the team with 5 sacks. Whitfield was a tackling 10/20 vs. Clark Atlanta machine last year at the linebacker position. He 10/27 vs. Benedict led the team with 104 tackles, 57 solo tackles and 11/3 @ Fort Valley 11.5 tackles for a loss as a freshman. While the Rams are predicted to be in second in the East in the SIAC behind Morehouse, there outlook should be positive based on the progress they made last season. Everyone that follows the Rams should be excited for the upcoming season in 2012. They open their season on September 1st against North Greenville University in the Dr. Joseph Winthrop Holley Memorial Game in Albany.

Fort Valley State Wildcats 2011 Record (2-8; 2-5 Conference)

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Schedule

In 2011, Fort Valley faced a very rigorous schedule. The record was a reflection of just how tough the schedule actually was. There two wins came against conference opponents Benedict and Stallman. This season will start of with two very competitive games that could dictate how the overall tone of the season will be. The Wildcats open the season against Delta State and then they face Valdosta State. Both programs have been very successful in past seasons. Which is something that Fort Valley has not been able to say for themselves. While the Wildcats as a team failed to have a winning season, there were a few bright spots from the 2011 season. 9/2 @ Delta State Freshman running back Travis Richmond along with six others did enough to earn All SIAC honors. Richmond will play an intricate role for the Wildcats 9/8 @ Valdosta State in 2012. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry and added five touchdowns. No doubt 9/15 vs. Clark Atlanta about it, Richmond was an anchor on offense. On defense, Ricky Johnson made 9/22 vs. Benedict 90 tackles as a defensive back, which is a very impressive feat. He also had 9/29 @ Tuskegee eight tackles for a loss, three and a half sacks, one interception, three fumble 10/6 vs. Kentucky State recoveries and two forced fumbles. One issue with Johnson is he was a senior and won’t be back for the 2012 season. 10/13 vs. Concordia Head Coach Donald Pittman has signed 14 players to join the Wildcats 10/20 @ Stillman for 2012. The class includes four running backs, five linebackers, two defensive 10/27 @ Morehouse linemen, one free safety, one tight end and one wide receiver. The player to keep 11/3 vs. Albany State an eye on will be the lone wide receiver that was signed. Standing in at 6’5’’ it will not be hard to miss Aaron Chappel from Butler, GA.

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Clark Atlanta Panthers 2011 Record (2-8)

Schedule

In 2011, the Panthers struggled after their third game of the season. The Panthers dropped the opening game to Georgia State. They turned around to win the next two games against Lane College and Fort Valley State University. Following the back-to-back wins the Panthers then finished their season with seven straight losses. Last season, there were multiple factors that could be attributed to the struggles that the team faced. The team failed to put up any point other than field goals in the close games. Other defeats could be placed on the defense’s inability to keep the other team from scoring points. 9/1 vs. West Alabama This upcoming season the Panthers are slated to finish fourth in the SIAC East. The Panthers lost five games by less than a touchdown in 2011. Head 9/8 @ Lane coach Daryl McNeil has hopes of his team finishing higher than were every one 9/15 @ Fort Valley State else is expecting them to. In 2012, “We will be in the business of scoring points, 9/22 vs. Concordia and controlling the time of possession.,” said McNeil. The Panthers are confident 9/29 vs. Morehouse that they can prove the doubters wrong as they look to win the SIAC East and 10/6 @ Miles make a run at the conference championship. One way that can be feasible is if they can get contributions from the 10/13 vs. Benedict incoming recruitment class that includes 21 new Panther players. Of the 21 10/20 @ Albany State recruits eight of them are on offense while the remaining 13 are all on defense. 10/27 vs. Tuskegee McNeil is extremely confident in this year’s class stating “We have addressed 11/3 @ Stillman our needs within the offensive line and rebuilt our defense after losing seven seniors from the defensive unit.” He also noted that the strength of the class is also what is needed to bring the Panthers back to prominence.

West Georgia Wolves 2011 Record (6-4 Overall; 3-3 Conference)

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

Schedule

The Wolves of West Georgia made a great leap in 2011. They finished with a 6-4 record including a fantastic come from behind victory over the number one team in Delta State. After an unsuccessful 2010 season where the Wolves came out with a 3-7 record, they bounced back to show flashes of how good the team can be. This season the team looks to build on where they left off. The 39-35 win over Delta State came in the team’s season finale on their own turf. Spring practice 9/1 vs. Point would be the next time the Wolves would take the field. This spring the team showed 9/8 vs. Tusculum flashes of excellence in the ground game with a few big runs by running backs 9/15 @ Miles Quatavius Jones and Lane Thompson. The motto for the Wolves for the upcoming season has been “No Small 9/29 @ West Alabama Games”. Each game means just as much the next one for the Wolves team. One thing 10/6 vs. Valdosta State going for the Wolves will be the balance of experienced talent along with the 28 new 10/13 @ Delta State recruits that will be dressing to take the field in Carrolton come September. In past 10/18 vs. North Alabama issues, it has been mentioned that West Georgia is one of the few programs that 10/27 vs. West Texas A&M stays true to the state of Georgia. All of their recruits again come from the state of Georgia. 11/3 vs. Shorter Head Coach Daryl Dickey has had success in his recruiting classes for 11/10 @ Midwestern State the past two seasons where the Wolves have had the Freshman of the Year in the Gulf South Conference both years. Last season, Dickey had a decent amount of contributions from underclassmen. It has been routine for young players to come in and play a big role for the Wolves in the fall. Defensive Coordinator said it best when he stated, “We have a lot of freshman and sophomores with high talent level with room to improve to become even better. I am really excited about our future.” The Wolves begin their campaign against the Point Skyhawks on September 1st at home.

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9/1 @ Birmingham Southern 9/8 vs. Millsaps 9/15 vs. Huntingdon 9/29 vs. N.C. Wesleyan 10/6 vs. Averett 10/13 @ Chris. Newport 10/20 @ Maryville 10/27 vs. Methodist 11/3 @ Ferrum 11/10 @ Greensboroa

Schedule

9/1 @ Oklahoma State 9/8 @ Florida State 9/22 vs. N. Carolina Central 9/29 @ Howard 10/6 vs. Morgan State 10/13 @ Florida A&M 10/20 vs. Edward Waters 10/27 @ Hampton 11/3 @ Norfolk State 11/10 vs. Bethune-Cookman 11/17 @ South Carolina State

Schedule

LaGrange Panthers 2011 Record (4-6)

2012 will be the seventh football season for LaGrange. In years past they have always played as a Division III independent. For the first time ever, the Panthers led by head coach Todd Mooney will be playing in the USA South Athletic Conference. Mooney has been the only head coach for the Panthers and he has been making strides to build the program each and every year despite what the record may show. The Panthers begin their season against three non-conference opponents. They then have a bye week, following that will be the start of a seven game conference schedule. LaGrange will be able to create some noise in the conference should they be able to perform the way they are expected to. The winner of the USA South Conference receives in automatic bid in to the Division III national football playoffs. In order for that to happen, the Panthers will have to make strides on where they left off last season. Offensively, the Panthers moved the ball very well on the ground led by quarterback Ed Russ and running back Kent Gibson. Russ set a quarterback rushing record and led the team with 642 yards. He also had five rushing touchdowns to go along with his 765 passing yards and five touchdowns through the air. Gibson rushed for 626 yard, had 1,295 all-purpose yards and led the team with seven touchdowns. The dynamic duo on defense comes from Andre Carter (LB) and Anthony Cochran (DB). The junior linebacker Carter led the team in tackles last season. Cochran came in right behind him and also led the team in interceptions and pass break-ups. These four player will be an intricate piece of the puzzle to the playoff run that LaGrange has it’s hopes set on.

Savannah State Tigers 2011 Record (1-10)

Second year coach Steve Davenport is looking to rebound from a season to forget in what was his inaugural season as the head coach of the Tigers. The only victory for SSU came against North Carolina Central in a slim 33-30 victory. The losses that the Tigers had were the exact opposite. Every loss was by double digits except for one, which came in the finale against Albany State. Despite the disappointing season Davenport is eager to have roughly 90 players show up to prepare for a 2012 season where improvement is the only thing the team is looking to do. It starts with spring practice for most teams, and it was no different for the Tigers. One position battle for the upcoming season will be at quarterback. The returning starter Antonio Bostick showed to be the most consistent in both the passing and running game. With a few flashes on offense, the defense proved to be the stronger unit where they accumulated 24 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception according to the team’s website. In order to improve on the upcoming season Coach Davenport was able to bring in 21 recruits to join the Tiger squad. Darius Allison (LB) may be the headliner as a Junior College transfer from Nassau CC in New York. He was the 2010 Old Spice Player of the Year and was placed on the All Conference first team unit. Another player looking to make an immediate impact will be Trevion Ashford (LB) from Etowah High School. Ashford earned 1st team All County honors which can be credited to his 59 tackles (12 for loss) and 2 sacks during his senior season. The season that the Tigers need to rebound will be credited to how Davenport’s new recruits come in compete. After the 2011 season, anyone will have the opportunity to make an impact come September 1st when the Tigers travel to Stillwater, OK to face a tough team in Oklahoma State.

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Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


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31


INSIDE THE HUDDLE Georgia High School Football Coaches With 200 Wins or MorE - 1948-2010 Alvin Richardson (dar8589@bellsouth.net) Inside this study we take a look at some of the most successful high school football coaches the state of Georgia has produced. It is not an attempt to rank them but rather a way to highlight their successes and compare the data. It is also important to note that this project would not have been possible without the help of the Georgia High School Football Historians Association website. That site can be found at www.ghsfha.com Hopefully you will enjoy the memories and marvel at the achievements these coaches have accomplishments. Here are some explanatory statements about this analysis: 1) The years covered are from 1948-2010 (Does not include 2011) 2) Statistics are those from Georgia high schools only. Games won in other states by coaches in this listing are not included 3) Only GHSA school data is used for purposes here

Here is an explanation of the formula used for charting the categories:

Total Number of Wins » 1 point per win and one half point for ties

Total Number of Playoff Wins (Including Sub-region, region, and state) » 2 points per win

Overall Winning Percentage

Playoff Wins Per Season

80% and above = 50 points 75.79.9 = 40 70.74.9 = 30 65.69.9 = 20 60.64.9 =10 Below 60 = 0

(Includes Sub-region, region, and state playoffs)

Wins Per Season 10 or more = 50 9 to 9.9 =40 8 to 8.9 =30 7 to 7.9 =20 6 to 6.9 =10 Below 6 = 0

State Championships Won » 10 points per state championship won *Note: In the case of co-championships the state championship points as well as a playoff win were awarded

2 or more = 50 1.5 to 1.9 = 40 1 to 1.4 = 30 .5 to .9 = 20 .1 to .4 =10 Below .1 = 0 It is also noteworthy to mention that coaches who worked the majority of their career prior to 1980 are at some disadvantage because of the expanded playoff systems of later years. Because of that we have included the categories that take average into account such as playoff wins per season, total wins per season, and overall winning percentage. Any comparison of this type is subjective because there are some inequities that simply cannot be accounted for.

First let’s take a look at the Top 10 in each category: Total Wins

Playoff Wins

1) Larry Campbell 

447 11) Larry Campbell

2) Robert Davis 

353 2) Nick Hyder

3) Dan Pitts

346 3) Alan Chadwick

4) Luther Welsh 

323 4) Dwight Hochstetler

5) Bill Chappell



317 5) Rich McWhorter

6) Wayman Creel



312 6) Ed Pilcher

Overall Winning Percentage

Wins Per Season

1) Nick Hyder

.858

1) Larry Campbell

2) Alan Chadwick  3) Larry Campbell 

55

4) Jeff Herron

51



112 58 (Tie)



58 (Tie)



 



Overall Point Totals for Active Coaches (as of 2010 season)



11.46

.850

2) Alan Chadwick 

11.15

1) Larry Campbell

.849

3) Rich McWhorter 

10.80

2) Alan Chadwick



576

.839

4) Nick Hyder



10.79

3) Dwight Hochstetler



559.5

5) Wright Bazemore 

.833

5) Jeff Herron



10.43

4) Rich McWhorter

10.00

5) Tom “T” McFerrin





932.5





49

6) Robert Davis



.826

6) Dexter Wood 

7) Dwight Hochstetler  309 7) Robert Davis



48

7) Rich McWhorter 

.823

7) Wright Bazemore 

9.66

8) Nick Hyder



44

8) Bill Chappell



.804

8) Conrad Nix



9.63



.800

9) Robert Davis



9.53

8) Buck Godfrey

.7841

10) Dwight Hochstetler 

9.36

9) Rodney Walker



10) Rick Tomberlin





304 8) Bill Chappell

9) Tom “T” McFerrin 

297 9) Billy Henderson



42

9) Conrad Nix

10) Rodney Walker

291 10) Dexter Wood



40

10) Tom “T” McFerrin 



489

6) Ed Pilcher



484.5

7) Jeff Herron



473



454.5

11) Charles Winslette

32

520



418.5 414 

391.5

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Formula

win = 1 tie = 0.5

win = 2

champ = 10

80%+ = 50 75-79% = 40 70-74% = 30 65-69% = 20 60-64% = 10 below 60% = 0

80%+ = 50 75-79% = 40 70-74% = 30 65-69% = 20 60-64% = 10 below 60% = 0

INSIDE THE HUDDLE

2+ = 50 1.5-1.9 = 40 1.0-1.4 = 30 0.5-0.9 = 20 0.1-0.4 = 10 below 0.1 = 0

NAME

YEARS

TOTAL WINS

P/O WIN PTS

ST CHAMP PT

OVERALL WIN % PTS

WINS/ SEASON PTS

P/O WINS/ YEAR PTS

TOTAL

Larry Campbell Nick Hyder Robert Davis Alan Chadwick Wright Bazemore Dwight Hochstetler Bill Chappell Dan Pitts Rich McWhorter Charlie Grisham Tom McFerrin Luther Welsh Billy Henderson Ed Pilcher Wayman Creel Conrad Nix Jeff Herron Buck Godfrey Dexter Wood Graham Hixon Jim Hughes Bobby Gruhn Rodney Walker Rick Tomberlin Ray Lamb John Hill Charlie Winslette Charlie Davidson Milt Miller Jerry Sharp Jimmy Dorsey Dale Williams Bobby Gentry Danny Cronic Jim Lofton Jim Walsh French Johnson Bob Griffith Max Bass Al Reeves Bill Schofill Weyman Sellers Bob Herndon

39 28 36 26 24 33 34 39 21 29 32 43 35 25 39 27 21 28 21 35 30 30 38 28 32 30 30 33 25 30 27 32 29 29 34 35 30 30 29 35 29 34 31

448.5 304.5 352.5 290 235.5 309.5 321.5 348 228 267.5 297 325.5 293 226.5 319 260 219 258.5 211 284 249.5 256.5 292.5 228 254.5 256.5 239.5 246 209 231.5 236.5 231.5 208 218.5 238 240 212.5 214.5 206.5 218.5 203 207 205.5

224 116 96 116 74 110 88 76 102 66 72 72 84 98 50 76 74 76 80 54 66 76 56 76 58 56 62 38 74 48 50 38 24 36 22 12 28 24 20 30 16 20 20

110 70 30 20 130 30 10 10 40 50 10 30 30 50 30 20 40 10 30 20 30 0 10 30 30 0 20 40 20 30 0 20 30 0 0 0 10 0 0 10 0 20 0

50 50 50 50 50 30 50 40 50 40 40 20 30 30 30 50 50 40 40 30 30 30 20 20 30 30 20 20 20 20 30 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 0 10 0 10

50 50 40 50 40 40 40 30 50 40 40 20 20 40 30 40 50 40 50 20 20 30 20 30 20 30 20 20 30 20 30 20 30 20 10 10 10 20 30 10 20 0 10

50 50 30 50 40 40 30 20 50 30 30 20 30 40 20 30 40 30 40 20 30 30 20 30 20 20 30 20 30 20 20 20 10 20 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10

932.5 640.5 598.5 576 569.5 559.5 539.5 524 520 493.5 489 487.5 487 484.5 479 476 473 454.5 451 428 425.5 422.5 418.5 414 412.5 392.5 391.5 384 383 369.5 366.5 349.5 322 314.5 300 292 290.5 288.5 286.5 278.5 259 257 255.5

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

33


Chumley Puts the Raiders in Elite Class By Kevin Price

Winning a state championship is a big accomplishment. Donald Chumley knows that. But the Savannah Christian head coach looks at his team’s 2011 state championship season as a part of great three-year run for the Raiders. In those years, Chumley’s program played the maximum 45 games, winning all but three of those games while playing in three consecutive Georgia High School Association Class A state finals in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. They lost the first two championship tilts, but finally captured the crown last December with a 20-3 victory over Landmark Christian to cap a perfect 15-0 season. “Looking back on it, getting to the (Georgia) Dome three straight years, that’s the bigger accomplishment to me,” Chumley said. “Granted, I was happy to win, and most people probably think that’s the biggest thing. But to me, the bigger deal was to make it to the finals three years in a row. “That’s what I’m more proud of. You can have a good team one year that achieves great things. But I do believe if you have a great program, you can compete for it every year. If you’re consistently winning and competing at a high level that says more about your program.” For Chumley, a former defensive lineman for the Georgia Bulldogs in the early 1980s who played high school football at Groves in nearby Garden City, his goal when he became the head coach at Savannah Christian was to build a program that could sustain success. It’s pretty safe to say he has done that as the Raiders have a 77-14 record and have produced a winning record in each of their seven seasons under Chumley since he took over as head coach in 2005 after serving one season as the team’s defensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting. Their worst season was actually his first when they lost their first two games but won six of the next eight to finish the year 6-4. Ever since, the Raiders have made the playoffs each season and have played 12 or more games with double-digit win totals each of the last five seasons. Three years ago, the only game they lost was the state championship game to Wilcox County, and in 2010, they reached the state title game with one loss before suffering just their second loss of the season to Clinch County in the state final. Of course, it’s not like Savannah Christian’s story is some rags-to-riches tale made for Hollywood. After all, success on the football field isn’t entirely new to the small private school in one of Georgia’s biggest cities which for the record has been a popular filming ground for movies that appear on the big screen. The Raiders won seven Georgia Independent School Association state titles while competing in this private-school organization from 1972-87. But, their last state crown came in 1984. And, the Raiders had won more than six games in a season only six times since that 1984 campaign before they finished 9-2 in 2004 when Chumley joined the Savannah Christian coaching staff. 34

Chumley previously spent 11 years as an assistant coach at Benedictine in Savannah. Before that, he actually was working in a paper company in Savannah when he decided he wanted to coach and returned to school to pursue a teaching degree. Obviously, he saw the job with the Raiders as a chance to build his own program. But to hear Chumley tell it, one of the biggest reasons he tackled the challenge was the opportunity to prove to others he could do what they said couldn’t be done at Savannah Christian. That was to make the Raiders an elite small-school program. “People said the academics were too high, that traditionally they hadn’t won a lot in GHSA and all those things,” Chumley said. “But, that’s the kind of stuff that motivates me, and when I got here and met the kids I felt like they were hungry and wanted to win and try to be special.” As it has turned out, that was definitely the case. And with their title-clinching victory last season, the Raiders became the first former GISA school to win a state football crown in the GHSA. Chumley makes it sound like the process to get there was easy. But, if you know the coach very well, you know he also might portray himself as a simple-minded person and he really isn’t. “He’s sharp, very intelligent,” says Savannah Christian offensive coordinator Tony Orsini, who was the defensive coordinator at Benedictine when Chumley was the defensive ends coach for the Cadets. Chumley talks about football a lot like he does a lot of other things in life. “What we do is simple,” he said, when he was asked about X’s and O’s. “But to our opponent, we want it to feel like it’s complicated.” Obviously, building Savannah Christian into a state championship team wasn’t a simple routine task. It took time and hard work by Chumley and many others, especially the players. The formula it would take to get there wasn’t complicated, though, according to Chumley, who unveiled his strategy from the get-go. He called his plan the Raider Way then, and he Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


continues to talk about it now. “We believe in it. We preach it every day,” Chumley said. It actually starts with a goal, one which the team must share as a collective unit. “I believe you should always strive to be the best of the best,” Chumley said. “And if you don’t think about that, then how are you really going to achieve that? “I told the kids they shouldn’t want to just be a winner in the Coastal Empire, the Savannah area. That needed to become automatic and we needed to strive to be a winner on the state level. “A lot of people thought that sounded foolish, but our kids never did. They believed we could do that, believed in what we were doing and bought into what we were doing lock, stock and barrel. Now, we still had a long way to go, changing the mind set was the easy part.” The next and most involved step in the equation was the actual work, and anyone who knows Chumley knows he’s a tireless worker, especially during the season when late-night film study sessions and little sleep are the norm. “I don’t think he sleeps during football season,” Orsini said. “He’s up all hours of the night and he’s usually in the office by 6:30 every morning.” At some point during the night, Chumley is also bound to text or email his players about something he sees on film. He doesn’t expect them to get the message at 3 a.m., of course, but he does expect them to respond the next day, which may simply mean correcting a technique on the practice field that afternoon. The Raiders have mostly responded to the head coach’s wishes from the outset. “I believe we pushed the right buttons early on with the guys,” Chumley said. “That probably started in the weight room. We believe no one is going to outwork us, and because of that, I think we’ve beaten a lot of teams with more talent than us.”

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

For the Raiders, a big part of their daily practice workload is fundamentals, too. Chumley is a stickler for details which involves constant repetition of football basics. “We make habits out of doing things other people don’t like to do,” he explained. “We try to do all the little things right. We try to make our players take all the right steps and get at the right pad levels, those kinds of things. We don’t freelance. We do it right, all together.” In sum, the Raider Way has obviously led to winning ways for Chumley and his team. And finally on their third try, they claimed the state championship trophy. Ironically, Chumley said the 2011 team definitely wasn’t his most talented in the last three years. That would be the 2009 squad which lost to Wilcox and stud quarterback Nick Marshall. He also noted that Raiders team had 70 players compared to last year’s 47. So, why then was the third time really the charm? “The biggest thing was probably that team’s determination and hard work,” Chumley said. “We played 45 games in three years. When you do that, you have the chance to improve a lot. I think experience was a big difference, plus we were healthier, and just the determination. They wanted to finish.” Now, the Raiders face what all champions face. They will attempt to repeat in the state’s smallest classification which for the first time this season has been split into two separate divisions for private and public schools. Chumley said the Raiders are a young team with only a few players returning who have been in the big battles in the past. He hopes that they can survive early and become a playoffbound team that can be a serious factor in the championship hunt when the postseason arrives. To become that team, Chumley plans to follow his proven formula. “We prepare everyday to win games 11 through 15,” he said. “That’s the Raider Way.”

35


Calhoun Community Savors State Championship By Kevin Price

State football championships are always big especially in Georgia where several good teams are competing for those precious titles in any given year in all classifications. But sometimes a state championship might mean a little more to a school and its community than maybe it would to someone else. Put the state crown that Calhoun won last season with a thrilling overtime victory over Buford in the Class AA title game into that category. “It was an unbelievable feeling,” Calhoun head coach Hal Lamb said simply and matter-offactly as he was asked recently to reflect on the championship season. The simple facts are that the Yellow Jackets defeated Buford 27-24 for the 2011 championship. It was a win that completed a perfect 15-0 season for Calhoun and gave the program its first state title since 1952 when the school won its only previous football crown. The season also included an 11th consecutive region championship and the Jackets made their fourth straight appearance in the state finals. All of that is impressive. It would be for any program. But for Calhoun, winning a state championship involved more than the unblemished record and all those other numbers that can put an exclamation point on a season that ends with a team raising a championship trophy. That’s because there might not be a football program and a fan base from any other town in the Peach State that longed for a state championship more than the Yellow Jackets and their loyal supporters. After all, they hadn’t won one in almost 60 years and had been to the brink of the championship the three previous years only to fall one game short of the glory that goes only to a state champion. And even though they’ve had plenty of time over the past several months to savor that championship game and that moment from last December, many associated with Calhoun football – players, coaches and fans alike – still have a hard time describing what the championship meant to them and the emotions they’ve felt since that monumental triumph. That’s because it had deep meaning on a lot of levels and probably meant something different to a lot of people. But the common denominator for everyone was their commitment to the pursuit and their desire to be there and cherish the moment when it finally happened. Perhaps, it’s this fact alone that best tells what the championship meant to the Calhoun team and people. Anyone in attendance at the Georgia Dome the day the Yellow Jackets won maybe their biggest ever game had to notice the support the team had from its very own community. It was obviously very good. “Our side of the Dome was full on both levels,” said Calhoun principal Greg Green, a former coach with the Jackets who has a son on the team. “We had a mass of people there, but that’s the way it’s always been. The state championship meant as much to the community as it did the school and the student body. It meant a lot to the people in town and the school.” Several other communities in the state who have seen their teams 36

bring home state championships, especially those with only one high school and one fan base, can say the same. But in Calhoun, it’s definitely safe to say people love the Yellow Jackets and the high school football game is the place to be on Friday nights in the fall for students, school staff and also the town folk. Green points out that the majority of the roughly 850 Calhoun students are actively participating in the Friday night festivities, including the near 100-member football and a marching band which numbers almost 300 strong. Then, of course, there is everyone else. “Everyone supports the team and everything that goes into a Friday night,” the principal said. “We have people sitting in the same seats they did when their kids played and now their grandkids are out there playing.”

The Jackets play their home games at Phil Reeve Stadium on campus in downtown Calhoun. The stadium seats about 3,500 and it’s filled to capacity nearly every game. “We have a waiting list for season tickets,” explained Terry Brumlow, president of the Calhoun Touchdown Club. “People really come out. For a 7:30 start time, it’s not unusual for people to be in the stands at 6. People have their spots they like and they want to get those spots.” The support apparently hardly dwindles when the team plays away from home. “There’s not a school bus left in the bus yard,” Green said. “Everyone is traveling.” It’s obviously that way all the way to the end of the season too, which in recent years for Calhoun that has meant playing in the Georgia Dome, which used to be the site of the state semifinals but now is the host for the state finals in all classifications. “I’ve been told by the Georgia High School Association that we have as many people there as any team in any classification,” Lamb said. “That shows the kind of support we have here.” The large contingent of fans that filled the Dome seats on the Calhoun side of the field for the 2011 championship showdown against Buford definitely got the tight game they were hoping their Yellow Jackets could play against the favored Wolves who were Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


going for their fifth straight state crown. But the heart-stopping and exciting action that took place late in this game came at the expense of Calhoun and even some of the Jackets’ most ardent fans had to wonder if their team had squandered their best chance to claim that elusive state championship. Calhoun had dominated the third quarter and most of the fourth quarter and held a 24-10 lead inside the final two minutes. It seemed the Yellow Jackets had their coveted title all wrapped up. But, that was hardly the case. A wild turn of events started with a long pass play by Buford that led to a Wolves’ touchdown to cut the lead to seven with just over a minute to play. An ensuing onside kick by Buford rolled out of bounds near midfield, but the Wolves’ defense stuffed Calhoun in three straight plays and used all three of its timeouts to stop the clock and force a punt.

Those that saw the game know what happened next. A Buford defender crashed through the line and forced a fumble on the attempted punt which was scooped up by a teammate and returned for a touchdown. When the extra-point kick sailed through the goal posts, the game was all of a sudden tied and the thousands watching the game live and also on statewide public television couldn’t believe their eyes. On the Calhoun sidelines, the Yellow Jackets’ head coach suddenly had an uneasy feeling in his stomach. “Me personally, I knew Buford wasn’t a team you wanted to go into overtime with,” Lamb said. “Their offense is built for that situation from the (15-yard line) going in. I didn’t have a good feeling about it.” However, what he did feel good about were his kids. He knew their collective heart and knew they wouldn’t collapse under the improbable circumstances they now faced against a team going for a state-record fifth state title in a row. “To our kids’ credit, they hung in there and we got a break,” Lamb said. On the first play of overtime, the Yellow Jackets forced and recovered a Buford fumble. They immediately sent senior all-star kicker Adam Griffith to the field and he booted a 32-yard field Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

goal through the uprights to give Calhoun the win and of course a whole community its long-awaited state championship. And, perhaps it was fitting that Griffith’s kick decided the outcome. It was his fourth field goal of the game, and he was among those in Calhoun’s senior class that endured three previous losses in the state finals and kept the team on course for another shot at the state title throughout the 2011 season. “This senior class, everyone played off them,” Lamb said. “They were real close and had such great chemistry. I think that’s what set us apart from other teams and was really the difference for us in the championship game.” The play of junior quarterback Taylor Lamb didn’t hurt, either. Lamb, the nephew of the head coach, threw for 203 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score in the state final. Lamb transferred to Calhoun just months earlier in time for spring practice. Because he had followed the Calhoun program with his uncle being the coach, he was already familiar with the history and tradition and so forth. But it really wasn’t until he arrived that he got to know his teammates and what the quest for a title was all about to them. “We all wanted to do it for the seniors,” he said. “It was their last chance and their last chance to beat Buford.” Ah, another mention of Buford. Yes, winning a state title was big to end the Yellow Jackets’ title-drought, but doing it against the mighty Wolves who had won already won seven titles in the last 11 years, was the real motivation for the Calhoun players. “Our seniors really didn’t want it any other way,” Taylor Lamb said. Of course, the Yellow Jackets got their way and their win and it was celebrated for months by the school and the community. The first celebration in town took place just hours after the game at the Dome when the team was greeted by some 2,000 people who gathered on the football field to exchange high-fives, hugs and kisses and simply enjoy the occasion. Another highlight was a parade for the team which saw more people line the downtown streets than the annual Christmas parade which is always a popular December tradition in Calhoun. Then, there was the ring ceremony in February which was the pinnacle of the celebration and also closed the door on the championship party, according to Hal Lamb. He says the team has done a good job of moving on and preparing for the season that now lies in front of the Yellow Jackets. Of course, the challenge now for the Jackets is not to get to the mountain top but trying to stay there. But even as Calhoun football moves forward, the state championship season of 2011 is one that will be talked about at class reunions and super tables in Calhoun for some time to come. “It was good for the whole town. It really was,” said Grant Walraven, a former Calhoun player who now serves on the board of directors for the touchdown club. While he and others anticipate many more victories and possible championships for the Yellow Jackets in the years ahead, Walraven plans to support the team no matter the number of victories or gold trophies it stockpiles.

“I just love Calhoun football,” Walraven says. It seems that he speaks for a lot of people in this community with those words.

37


Defense Wins Championships By Alvin Richardson (dar8589@bellsouth.net)

In the days since Georgia’s high school football season ended I’ve heard a lot of discussion about the 5A state champion Grayson defense. Most of that talk has revolved around how dominant they were and whether or not they should be included in the discussion as one of the best ever. As the old saying goes, “You win games with offense, but you win championships with defense.” With that in mind I decided to do a little research on that topic and the following article is the result of that research. None of this analysis would have been possible without the Georgia High School Football Historians Association website that can be accessed at www.ghsfha.com. It goes without saying that this is a statistical comparison and there are variables that cannot be accounted for. This is simply a way to compare and look at how teams that won state championships in Georgia’s highest classification fared on defense during their championship season. It does not take into consideration that in many cases there were points scored by opposing special teams, safeties against, turnovers resulting in scores, or penetration points. That is impossible to know without a game summary of each one. Here are a couple of general findings you might find interesting: 1)Out of the sixty four years studied only seven teams that were champs or co-champs allowed more than ten points per game. Those teams were: 1971 – Valdosta – 10.54 1974 – Thomasville – 11.77 1995 – Southwest DeKalb – 13.0 1996 – Brookwood – 11.53 1999 – Lowndes – 13.0 2006 – Roswell – 12.33 (Co-champions) 2010 – Brookwood – 16.40 2)There have been twelve shutouts in the championship game over the sixty four years. 3)Between 1948 and 1994 only two teams that won a state championship in Georgia’s highest classification allowed more than ten points per game. Valdosta 1971 – 10.54 and Thomasville 1974 – 11.77

Best Statistical Performances By a State Champion in Georgia’s Highest Class Based on Points Per Game Allowed Team

Year

1) Valdosta 2) Valdosta 3) Valdosta 4) Camden Co. 5) Valdosta 6) Northside Atlanta 7) Albany 8) Thomasville 9) Valdosta 10) Rossville 11) Richmond Academy Valdosta Valdosta 12) Clarke Central 13) Avondale 14) Parkview

1968 1969 1962 2003 1978 1957 1959 1973 1992 1954 1956 1960 1961 1977 1963 2002

Points per game allowed   

2.38 2.54 2.75 3.13 3.27 4.08 4.17 4.23 4.36 4.42 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.79 4.85 4.93

            

Notes: In the 1969 championship game between Valdosta and Athens Valdosta had given up only 7 points all year before ending the season in a 26-26 tie and sharing the state title. Up to that point Valdosta’s defense had surrendered an average of only .583 points per game. Also worth noting is the Thomasville defense of 1973. The Bulldogs defense had given up only 20 points in their first twelve games giving them a gaudy 1.67 average going into the finals. Wheeler scored 35 against Thomasville in the finals even though Thomasville prevailed leaving the Dogs with a 4.23 average for the season. Most Shutouts in a Season By a State Champion in Georgia’s Highest Class Team

Year

1) Valdosta 2) Valdosta Thomasville Camden Co. 3) Valdosta Warner Robins Valdosta 4) Albany Valdosta Valdosta Clarke Central Parkview Lowndes

1969 1968 1973 2003 1962 1976 1978 1959 1960 1961 1977 2002 2005

Shutouts 11  9 9 9 8 8 8 7 7 7 7 7 7

Total Number of Games

           

13 13 13 15 12 13 15 12 12 12 14 15 15

Notes: 9 teams posted six shutouts during their championship seasons. They were: Rossville (1954), Northside Atlanta (1957), Lakeside Atlanta (1972), Valdosta (1986), Valdosta (1989), LaGrange (1991), Valdosta (1992), Lowndes (2004), and Camden County (2009)

38

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Year By Year Results Year

State Champion

1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1978 1979 1980

Lanier Brown Decatur Richmond Acad. Murphy Grady Rossville Rossville (Co) LaGrange (Co) Richmond Acad. Northside (Atl.) LaGrange Albany Valdosta Valdosta Valdosta Avondale Glynn Acad. Valdosta Valdosta Marietta Valdosta Athens Valdosta Lakeside (Atl.) Valdosta Lakeside (Atl.) Thomasville Thomasville Central Macon Warner Robins Clarke Central Valdosta Griffin Clarke Central Lowndes

Record 11-0-1 11-1 12-0 11-1 12-1 11-1-1 11-0-1 10-1-2 10-2-1 9-2-1 12-1 11-1 12-0 12-0 12-0 12-0 12-1 11-0-1 11-1 11-1 11-2 13-0 11-1-1 12-0-1 13-0 13-0 14-0 13-0 12-1 11-1 13-0 14-0 14-0-1 12-2-1 15-0 14-1

Pts. Allowed PPG Allowed Shutouts 73 86 99 77 97 67 53 113 92 54 53 92 50 54 54 33 63 98 81 67 107 31 129 33 94 137 84 55 153 107 86 67 49 121 119 127

                                   

6.08 7.17 8.25 6.42 7.46 5.15 4.42 8.69 7.08 4.5 4.08 7.67 4.17 4.5 4.5 2.75 4.85 8.17 6.75 5.58 8.23 2.38 9.92 2.54 7.23 10.54 6.00 4.23 11.77 8.92 6.62 4.79 3.27 8.07 7.93 8.47

3 3 4 4 4 3 6 4 4 5 6 3 7 7 7 8 5 2 3 2 4 9 2 11 2 3 6 9 4 2 8 7 8 4 4 5

Year

State Champion

Record

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Warner Robins Valdosta Tift County Valdosta Clarke Central Valdosta Morrow Warner Robins Valdosta Valdosta LaGrange Valdosta Dunwoody Colquitt County Southwest DeKalb Brookwood Parkview Valdosta Lowndes Parkview Parkview Parkview Camden County Lowndes Lowndes Roswell Peachtree Ridge Lowndes Camden County Camden County Brookwood Grayson

15-0 15-0 14-1 15-0 15-0 15-0 14-1 14-1 14-1 13-0-1 15-0 14-0 15-0 15-0 14-1 13-2 13-2 14-1 12-3 15-0 15-0 15-0 15-0 15-0 14-1 13-1-1 11-3-1 14-1 15-0 13-2 14-1 15-0

Pts. Allowed 118 111 110 78 116 77 93 128 87 113 94 61 97 101 195 173 120 142 195 104 112 74 47 100 94 185 131 119 135 122 246 131

PPG Allowed Shutouts 7.87  7.40  7.33  5.20  7.73  5.13  6.20  8.53  5.80  8.07  6.27  4.36  6.47  6.73  13.00  11.53  8.00  9.47  13.00  6.93  7.47  4.93  3.13  6.67  6.27  12.33  8.73  7.93  8.73  8.13  16.40  8.73 

4 3 4 5 3 6 5 2 6 5 6 6 4 3 4 3 2 2 2 3 5 7 9 6 7 2 5 4 4 6 2 5

Interesting Tidbits and Notes Erk Russell coached the 1953 Grady team that won the state championship. Russell would go on to become the legendary defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia. Frank Inman coached Richmond Academy’s championship squad of 1956. Inman would later coach at Clemson University. In 1967 Marietta’s championship team gave up 46 points to powerful out of state opponent Bay HS of Panama City Beach. Had only points to in-state schools been counted Marietta’s average for points allowed would have been a miniscule 4.70. Valdosta’s 1968 team set a record for the lowest points per game allowed by a state champ in Georgia’s highest classification at 2.38 ppg. The Cats defeated Forest Park 37-12 in the finals. That represented the most points scored against Valdosta’s defense that season. In 1996 Brookwood lost its season opener to Valdosta but got revenge when they defeated the Wildcats in the state finals at the Georgia Dome. Summary It’s pretty safe to say by looking at these numbers that defense plays the key role in championship football. As for which team had the best defense of all time it is impossible to say because of variables such as strength of schedule. Did Grayson have one of the best of all time? That’s an argument for the breakfast tables all over Georgia. The numbers can’t tell the whole story but there’s enough there to make an argument for your favorite team.

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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The Jaguar Effect

Head Coach Ronald Gartrell has transformed Stephenson into a Football Factory By Shalunda Harris Photo courtesy of Neil Copeland Photography

Using his incredible coaching skills and his 29 years of expertise, Ronald Gartrell of Stephenson High School is making his mark as one of Georgia’s best high school football coaches. Year after year, Gartrell consistently produces athletes with the proven ability to play and compete on the college level. “It humbles me to hear someone say that and we are happy that we have done so well the last 15 years,” he says, as word spreads that he is literally creating a football factory right out of Stephenson. “It takes talent to win and be successful, and we have been blessed to have more than our share of talented players.” Each year, Gartrell sets the goal for his team that is set by coaches all around the country—to win a state championship. But in this case, the route is more physical than most others. “I don’t know what other teams do, but we probably hit more than most people. We make most of our workouts and practice sessions stressful on our players. When the season starts, we are in full pads every day. Our practice lasts for about two and a half hours each day and is pretty well organized.” Along with training and conditioning in practice, Gartrell prepares his players mentally for what to expect. He does this by creating an atmosphere in which players are focused and working to be the best they can be. “Most players from Stephenson who play college football tend to believe that what we put them through really helped them prepare for the next level.” Forming and developing athletes that are talented enough to compete on the college level is the niche in which Gartrell performs best as a coach. His training, in combination with the instructions of assistant coaches, helps to build some exceptional players, even some who become recognized when they play on college fields.

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“We have an excellent year round strength and conditioning program that is divided into several phases. Coach Don Sellers, Sr. and strength and conditioning coordinator Reggie Ball, Sr. have developed a great plan for our players from the time they enter the program until they time they leave,” he says. “We concentrate on explosive weight lifting techniques and speed development for both linemen and skill players.” And as these players move on to compete on the college level, they must alter their way of thinking in order to be most successful. “The state of mind is the biggest difference between the high school athlete versus the college athlete. At the college level, players have to believe they belong there. In high school, you can get by, in most cases, with talent alone, but in college, you have to be sound because everyone has talent. The lessons Gartrell teaches on becoming a better athlete are consistent with those that college athletes carry with them throughout the stresses of each season. These lessons shape what Gartrell believes to be an excellent football player. “He has to love the sport and constantly think about what type of player he wants to be. He has to be committed to hard work, dedication, desire, and discipline. The most important thing is he has to be blessed with something special that most coaching can’t give a player. In order to produce such high performance players, Gartrell implements those unique star qualities that he has as a coach, which qualify him among the top coaches in Georgia. “I don’t look at myself as having a coaching style. Getting a player or team to perform like you want them to is what coaching is all about. I genuinely care about my players and I am extremely confident in my ability to get the best out of them.”

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Gartrell also elicits his unique qualities when it comes to overcoming losses. He humbles himself and does what few other coaches do to move past the disappointment as a team. “I let them know that I failed them by not preparing them as well as I should have. I encourage them to work harder. Our players want to win and they work hard to do that. They want to bounce back from a loss, and in most cases, they have.”

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

The concept that he stresses the most is to be better today than you were yesterday. With this quote in mind, Gartrell guarantees that the team will fulfill major expectations this season. “Our team will be prepared each week and win every game. Our goal is to win the state championship and that’s what everyone should expect.”

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WELCOME TO THE NEW HEAD COACHES FOR THE 2013 SEASON CLASS AAAAAA Cambridge- Craig Bennett Centennial- Jeff Carlberg Cherokee- Josh Shaw Coffee County- Robby Pruitt Decatur- Brad Waggoner Douglas County- Jason Respert Etowah- Dave Svehla Harrison- Marty Galbraith Lakeside-Dekalb- Mike Rozier Lamar County- Franklin Stephens Westlake- Stanley Pritchett Kennesaw Mountain- Andy Scott Mountain View- Doug Giacone Pebblebrook- Tommy Macon Pickens County- Chris Parker Rockdale County- Venson Elder Shiloh- Troy Hobbs Tift County- Jon Reid CLASS AAAAA Cedar Shoals- Chris Davis East Paulding- Chuck Goddard Flowery Branch- Chris Griffin Greenbrier- Kevin Hunt Mary Persons- Brian Nelson Mt-Zion Jonesboro- Ervin Starr Mundy’s Mill- Greg Manior North Atlanta- Douglas Brittion North Paulding- Scott Jones Tucker- Bryan Lamar CLASS AAAA Butler- Myron Newton Central Macon- Jesse Hicks Chamblee- Allen Johnson Columbia- David Edwards Dougherty CountyMadison County- Chris Smith Redan- Terrance Amos SE Whitfield- Sean Gray Shaw- Kyle Adkins Therrell- Rodney Coffield, Troup County- Lynn Kendall

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CLASS AAA Chapel Hill- Geoff Pastrick Hart County- William Devane Henry County- Joe Dupree Jackson County- Benji Harrison North Murray- David Gann West Hall- Tony Lotti CLASS AA Armuchee- Preston Cash Berrien County- Rob Armstrong Bleckley County- Tracy White Chattooga- Clay Livingston Fitzgerald- Jason Strickland GAC- Tim Hardy Greene County- Robert Edwards Model- Gordon Powers Rabun County- Lee Shaw Riverside Military Academy Screven County- Ron Duncan Social Circle- Ron Seebree CLASS A Brookstone- Brad Dehem Gordon Lee- Charlie Wiggins Hawkinsville- David Daniel Jenkins County- Ashley Harden Landmark Christian- Wayne Brantley Macon County- Larry Harrold Mitchell County- Larry Cornelius Montgomery County- Eric McDonald Mt Zion-Carrollton- Keith Holloway Pinecrest Academy- Todd Winter Schley County- Josh Kemp Telfair County- Matt Burrelson Trion- Justin Brown Twiggs County- Jeb Stewart Walker- John East Warren CountyGISA Arlington Christian AcademyKenneth Scissum Flint River Academy- Jason Carerra Tift Area- Ryan Branch Valwood- Ashley Henderson Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


AT THE END OF THE DAY

THE ONLY WAY IS TO

RESPECT

EVERY PLAY repathletics.com Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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TEAMS TO WATCH IN 2 0 1 3

CLASSAAAAAA

SHILOH GENERALS To say that Shiloh has been through a lot in recent years would be an understatement. The team has endured six coaches over the last 12 years and was recently under investigation for recruitment violations but the tide seems to be turning for the Generals. Former North Gwinnett Assistant Troy Hobbs will be a breath of fresh air for a team and community that has talent and potential. Hobbs has implemented the spread offense that helped his former team achieve a 67-11 over the last six years. The first half of the season provides an opportunity for the Generals to get off to a quick start and the ability to become a legitimate threat for a playoff spot this season. NORTH COBB EAGLES Quarterback Tyler Queen will enter his sophomore year as the starter and a national prospect. North Cobb operates out of the shotgun on offense and should have a balanced attack with the help of senior Running Back Quentin James. ROCKDALE COUNTY BULLDOGS Head Coach Venson Elder inherits a program that has a passionate fans base and talent. Rockdale finished 1-9 in 2012 with their only victory coming in the opener against Winder Barrow but keep in mind this team was in the semi-finals in 2009. WESTLAKE LIONS Westlake is a sleeping giant. This school produces talented players every season but has yet to make its mark as landmark program. Coach Stanley Pritchett has a legitimate shot of making the playoffs in a revamped Region 3. ROSWELL HORNETS The Hornets are the flagship program of North Fulton. This area has seen tremendous growth and has added many schools but Roswell remains one of the area’s oldest schools. In 2006 Roswell split the AAAAA state title and has remained competitive. Last year the Hornets finished 0-10. A closer look may reveal this was probably the best 0-10 team in state history. This team never quit and remained in most games and could have won 5 of them. Coach Justin Sanderson will be back for his second year and expect Roswell to compete for a playoff spot out of region 5. 44

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


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TEAMS TO WATCH IN 2 0 1 3

CLASSAAAAA Miller Grove In 2010 Miller Grove hired Coach Damien Wines a couple days before the season started. Despite this fact Miller grove finished 3-7 in region 6-AAAA one of the toughest in the state. The coaching staff and players are bonding with one another and things are looking up for the Wolverines. They finished 6-4 last year and their confidence is growing. The Wolverines know what it takes to be champions since there basketball team has set the example winning numerous state championships. This year the Wolverines are returning 3rd year starter at Quarterback Ken Allen who put up good numbers last season passing for almost 1700 yards in ten games. On defense the wolverines are led by D1 defensive end Courtney Miggins. To make the state playoffs this year Miller Grove will have to continue stout play on defense and create some balance on offense moving into their second year running the multiple pro-set offense. This should be an exciting year in the newly formed region 6-AAAAA because every game counts. They will compete against Stephenson, Tucker, MLK, SWD, Mays and Dunwoody for playoff spots. Charles Drew Drew is the newest school in Clayton County. Drew has plenty of talent and burst on the local scene last year and finished 7-4. Coach Jarrett Laws will depend on senior quarterback Jay Murray to manage the game and can expect speedy play makers on both sides of the ball to make plays Windsor Forest Windsor Forest has been a consistent playoff team for the last five years. Coach Jason Roundtree is a defensive minded guy and hopes his defense will be the force that’s leads the knights to their first ever region title. Lakeside DeKalb Lakeside has rich football history in metro Atlanta and is located in a community that is very supportive of the Vikings. Lakeside made a tremendous hire in Mike Rozier from Henry County. Coach Rozier was known at Henry County for producing quarterbacks and Nick Alexander Passed for 900 yards in his first year starting on a 0-10 team so sky is the limit for Alexander in the new pass happy offense. Rome The Wolves are known as the powerhouse of Northwest Georgia. Rome suffered a few minor setbacks the last couple of years but bounced back pretty nice last year finishing 7-4. The Wolves expect to make a deep run in the play offs to re-solidify themselves as a state power. This year coach Franco Perkins, will have to Compete in region 5 AAAAA with East Paulding and Allatoona for the region title. Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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TEAMS TO WATCH IN 2 0 1 3

CLASSAAAA

Westside Macon Head Coach Sheddrick Risper enters his fourth season at the helm and he will lean heavily on seniors Brian Whitaker, Michael Sanders and Jalen Lawrence to make a lethal defensive front. On offense Senior Noah McCoy and Junior David James should provide a good one two punch. South Atlanta The Hornets have found some consistency at the head coaching post in Julian Mosses. Coach Moses has been at South Atlanta since 2009 and has built a program that people from Moreland Ave to Cleveland Ave can respect and be proud of. South Atlanta has the talent. Coach Moses has done a great job gathering these athletes and instilling pride, discipline and teamwork. Last year South Atlanta played in 6-AA and finished 5-5 in one of the Georgia’s most competitive regions with Westminster, Lovett, Blessed Trinity, GAC and Buford. This year the Hornets hope to put together an offense that can score some points and keep a stout defense while they compete with local rivals Banneker, Therrell, Grady, Washington, and lastly zone 3 rival Carver in the newly formed region 6-AAAA West. Shaw Becoming a contender hasn’t been an easy task for Coach Jamie Fox but it is obtainable. The Raiders offense is led by quarterback Chandler Whitlessey and linebacker DeAnthone Morse will lead the Raiders on defense as they compete in region 5-AAAA with Sandy Creek, Carrolton, Troup, and LaGrange. Burke County Despite being state champs Burke County is still under the radar. Eric Parker has kept his bunch working hard and staying humble. Look for junior Donquell Green to have a breakout season. Sandy Creek Last time the Patriots played in AAAA they won it all. The Patriots are loaded with talent once again this year and is led by UGA commit Shaquille Wiggins at corner back. 46

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


CLASSAAA

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TEAMS TO WATCH IN 2 0 1 3

North Oconee North Oconee high school is located in Bogart a suburb to Athens. Coach Ted has built this program from scratch. The Titans won region 8 AA last year and finished 10-0 for the first time ever. This year the Titans are hungry from last years sweet 16 appearance and have aspirations of making it further in 2012.This season should be an exciting one in Bogart. Titan fans should look forward to the battle with cross-town rival Oconee County as this can become one of the state’s best rivalries. They will also compete against other surrounding NE Georgia schools like Jackson County, East Jackson, Franklin County, Hart County, Morgan County in the newly competitive region 8 AAA and a game against Elbert County will probably decide the region champion. McNair Coach Tywanois Lockett and these players have experienced their growing pains together. The Mustangs will returna good team speed and if they can find depth on both lines they can compete for a playoff spot. McNair can build around senior prospects Mike Minter, Jalandis Sellers and junior quarterback Mickey Ridley. Cedar Grove Coach Ray Bonner and the Saints have made the playoffs two years in a row and are confident that they will return this year. Cedar Grove is probably the fastest team in the State and has a nice size on both lines. Cedar Grove expects to win the Region title in the new Region 6 AAA with the help of senior QB Jonathan McCreary. DOUGLASS Coach Rodney Cofield returns to sidelines at one of the most historic programs in Atlanta. Douglass has moved from AAAAA to AAA within the last 3 years and this shift should provide an opportunity for the coaching staff to rebuild this program.

Photo courtesy of Skyhawk Sports Photography

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

Carver Columbus Carver Columbus comes back to AAA from AA where they where undefeated against teams not named Buford and Calhoun. The Tiger have cemented themselves as the stronghold of Columbus and are loaded with speed and talent to compete for another AAA crown.

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CLASSAA

Calhoun The Yellow Jackets are the returning AA state champs. This year Calhoun does not have to worry about playing Buford or Carver of Columbus. Record setting quarterback Taylor Lamb who plans to prove that he is the best quarterback in Georgia and add to the Lamb family legacy will lead the Yellow Jackets. Benedictine The Cadets made the playoff last year while playing in the state’s highest classification. This year the Cadets will play in AA and will have a formidable schedule so The Cadets can make a deep playoff run if they are focused. Lamar County The Trojans made the State’s best off-season coaching hire. Lamar County snagged Franklin Stephens from Tucker where he just recently won two AAAA Titles. The Trojans return talent from last year’s 12-1 squad and should use this year’s favorable schedule to improve on last year. Laney Football is growing and getting better in the Augusta area. Schools in this area are enhancing the way programs are supported and the overall coaching is getting better. Laney opens with Butler in the battle of Augusta in what should be an electric atmosphere since both teams made the playoffs. Laney looks to improve on last year’s 8-4 record. The Wildcats will be reunited with longtime city rival Josey in region 3 AA where they most likely will compete with Dublin for the region title. Brooks County Coach Maurice Freeman is steadily building a contender at his alumni Brooks County. The Trojans compete in region 1 AA one of the state’s toughest regions. Brooks County will line up against any squad on the field and will compete. The Trojans face the Valdosta Wildcats from the neighboring county to the east who competes in class AAAAAA. Also, Brooks County non-region schedule includes Clinch County, Monroe-Albany and Mitchell County who all were all playoff teams from South Georgia last year. Thomasville, Cook and Fitzgerald will be waiting for the Trojans during region play. 48

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


CLASSA

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TEAMS TO WATCH IN 2 0 1 3

Wilcox County They have emerged as one of the most elite programs in Class A. The Patriots have been competing for a region title every year as of late. In 2009 coach Mark Ledford a Wilcox County Alumni, led the Patriots to the state title. The patriots are known for producing tall and speed athletes and this year is no exception to that statement. Wilcox will be led by two speedy prospects in Markail Grace and Jonathan Howard. This year the Patriots are in a prime position to compete for the first ever Class A public school title. Savannah Christian The Raiders are the defending class A champions and are the pride of the city of Savannah. Coach Donald Chumley who will have to reload and mold these young Raiders into title contenders leads the Raiders Eagles Landing Christian ECLA is loaded with talent and could probably compete in any class. ELCA is led by stud prospects Isaac Rochelle and Keyante Green who both plan on winning a championship before they graduate.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lincoln County For the past 5 years the Red Devils have been eliminated from the playoffs by a private school; with this year’s new play off setup coach Larry Campbell will not have to meet any Private schools in the playoffs Seminole County Seminole county has been an under the radar program despite the fact that they have been a playoff team every year since 2005. With this years favorable schedule don’t be surprised to see Seminole County in the class A public school state championship game

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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SIZE….SPEED….TALENT Stephen Miller

A once in a lifetime type of player with freakish talent perfectly describes him. He stands 6’5 weighs 270lbs runs a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash and has been wreaking havoc since his sophomore season. He became the #1 Recruit on the planet after helping the Grayson Rams capture their first state championship with a 24-0 victory against Walton. Nkemdiche has the perfect blend of size, speed and talent and leads a defense that has sparked a debate about the 2012 team being one of the best of all time in Georgia.

Robert Nkemdiche

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Harrison Butker 52

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Butker

Started In the Band Chad Simmons (Fox Sports/Scout.com)

Harrison Butker was known for his leg on the soccer field all his life, not on the football field. Butker started playing soccer at the age of four and football was never a sport he thought he would like until he decided to give it a shot in the ninth grade.

“I had been playing soccer all of my life and I had kind of gotten burned out. I played Club soccer, I played for the school, and I just played a lot of soccer. Football was different, it was fun to be around the team, it was nice to have a football mentality, and I was a little surprised that I liked it so much.”

It was not a football coach that encouraged him to try football, it was a tuba player in the band.

Butker actually tried football in sixth grade, but he “hated” it. It just wasn’t for him then, but it became the sport that he excelled in. “I just kept working at it. I worked out with the team, so I got stronger, my leg got stronger, I learned how to kick better, and I just started loving kicking the football,” Butker said.

At that time, the Westminster kicker was Jeff Oser and he played tuba in the band. It just so happened that Butker played tuba in the band as well. The two were talking one day, and Oser suggested to Butker that he come out to football workouts and give kicking a shot on the football field instead of the soccer field. “Jeff Oser was the one that really put football in my head,” Butker said. “He was talking about football and how he kicked for the team and he told me I should come out and try kicking for the team. He asked me about soccer, he knew I played that sport, so I decided to go out with him in the spring of my freshman year to give football a shot.” When Oser suggested football to Butker, it was right in the middle of spring practice. Butker went out on a Monday to work on kicking and that is where it all started. “I was pretty bad at field goals, but I was pretty good at kickoffs, so I ended up handling all of the kick-offs when I was a sophomore. I just kept working, trying to get better, and I ended up going to a Pro-Kicker Camp the summer after my sophomore year. I was named the top kicker there and that is when things really picked up for me.” After the summer camp, Butker had a very strong junior campaign at Westminster. He was 15-17 in field goals with a long of 51 yards while consistently forcing teams to start at the 20 yard line because of his ability to put the ball in the endzone on kick-offs. A young man that thought most of his childhood that he was going to be a soccer player in college began to see his future on the football field.

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

Auburn, Boston College, and Georgia Tech ended up offering the 6-foot-3, 185 pound kicker a football scholarship to kick for them on the collegiate level after they saw what he could do as a junior. Kicking the football will be what he does on the next level, but he has not given soccer up completely yet. “I still play soccer in high school and we actually won the state championship my sophomore and junior years. I will be playing soccer my senior year, but once I get to college, I will only focus on football. I am excited about the opportunity to kick in front of 90,000 fans one day and know many people will be watching me. I like to be under pressure and I look forward to all of the challenges.” It may not have sunken in yet just what he is going to be doing the next four to five years of his life. After Butker goes to Westminster one more year and helps the soccer and football teams win games with his leg, he will be moving on to play football on a big stage. He did not see things playing out this way when he was growing up on those soccer fields around the country. “I never thought in a million years I would be playing football right now, so thinking about going to college on a football scholarship is something that is still a little surprising to me. I always thought soccer was going to be my future, but Jeff Oser told me about football a few years ago, and now I am going to be a kicker in college. It is amazing.”

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Walton’s Three-Headed Monster Chad Simmons (Fox Sports/Scout.com)

Walton finished the 2011 season with a 14-1 record and fell to Grayson 24-0 in game 15 to lose the state championship to the Rams. Walton has a lot of talent coming back, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and they are ready to make another run at a ring. Parker McLeod threw for 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first year as a starter for Rocky Hidalgo and that experience will help the University of Alabama commitment a lot in 2012. “I’ve been working on all aspects of my game over the offseason after playing a season and a half in 2011,” Parker McLeod said. “I definitely want to take more of a leadership role this season in a lot of ways. I want to lead more, take control of the team better, be mentally prepared better, and just have good games each week. “I got so much experience last year and I know that is going to help me a lot this season. I was involved in so many big moments and I will be building on that for this season. I played through everything that came my way and that is going to help me individually and us as a team a lot this year.” McLeod is just one part of the talented senior trio coming back on the offensive side of the ball for the Raiders. Brandon Kublanow is committed to play football for the University of Georgia and he is known as “Bull” because of his toughness and aggressiveness on the offensive line. He helps protect McLeod and he opens holes for Tyren Jones, one of the top running backs in the country.

Jones ran for 2,300 yards and scored 33 touchdowns as a junior and that is something that the offensive line is proud of too, but it doesn’t end there for Kublanow and company up front. They want more. “We had a good season last year and when we got to the championship game, it was like we were already done,” Kublanow said. “I think we know as a team we can’t be content with getting there like last year, but we have go in there and win it this year. Tyren had a great year, Parker played well, and our defense was great, but we didn’t win that last game. The whole attitude changes for us this year after getting there last season and we have to win that last game.” Getting there in 2011 should help in 2012 according to Kublanow. “We got there last year not knowing what to expect and now we know what it will be like in the state championship game. We just have to come ready to play and I know us losing last year will be a big help this year.” Walton opens the season where it finished last year, in the Georgia Dome. The Raiders play Brookwood and McLeod is ready for that game. “We are real excited about the first game and getting things cranked back up again,” said the Raider signal caller. “It was a tough loss for us last season, but we know what it takes to get there. We are still going to be a tough team that runs the football, plays good defense, and we will be ready for the 2012 season.”

He doesn’t like thinking about the last game he played in 2011. The Raider Nation just wants it to end a little differently. “The loss left a bitter taste in our mouth and it has made us work even harder in the off-season to be better in 2012,” Jones said. “I have thought about being so close to winning the state championship, so I am very hungry to get back. It just motivates us more to work harder and to do better.” Kublanow stepped up and showed that he still has confidence in his team. “Brandon told me that we are going back to the state championship game and to think about that this offseason,” Jones added. “We just have to come together as a team, stay focused, and get the job done as seniors.”

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“My dream is to walk off the field in December as a state champion and that is what we are working for at Walton,” Kublanow said. “I am definitely more involved from a leadership standpoint now that I am going to be a senior and I am doing all I can to help the team prepare. We started thinking about the 2012 season just a couple of days after losing the championship game last year, so we are ready to get after it again.”

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Parker McLeod Brandon Kublanow Tyren Jones Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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Montravius Adams 56

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Big Talent in a Small Town Chad Simmons (Fox Sports/Scout.com)

The population is just over 4,000 in Vienna, Ga. and you can bet most have heard the name Montravius Adams. The class of 2013 student-athlete attends Dooly County High School in Vienna and he has made a name for himself over the past year. Adams is a 6-foot-3, 300 pound defensive tackle that hears his name called on the loud speaker on a regular basis on Friday nights in the fall. He stars now at defensive tackle for Jimmy Hughes and the Bobcats, but he wasn’t always playing defense.

By January 2012, schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, and Georgia, among others, had offered. Adams knew his time had come. “I know I am from a small town and maybe if I would have been at a bigger school around Atlanta, schools would have offered me earlier, but I did what I was supposed to do, and they came,” Adams said. “I just kept working, I had great support, and I got the scholarship offers I wanted.”

“I started playing football when I was seven years old and I played running back,” said Montravius Adams. “I was always the biggest on the team when I was little, so I was running over people, the players had a hard time tackling me, and I just scored a lot of touchdowns. I had a lot of fun running the ball, but I got too big to play there as I got older.”

He knows he is in the right place.

Adams played some different positions between little league and high school, but it was around his ninth grade year that he really started to see a lot of time on the defensive line. Jimmy Hughes has coached football for 20 years and he had a special talent.

“I will be a Bobcat for life, I will always love Vienna, and I think I will be back here after football ends for me,” he said. “It is just a place I know I have friends and family and it is a good place to be.

Coach Hughes knew early that Adams had a lot of potential. “You just don’t see too many guys like Montravius,” said the head football coach at Dooly County. “He can really move and he has size that takes at least two, sometimes three guys to block him at a time. I have coached some good ones over the years (over 30 years of coaching), but none with the combination of size and ability that he has.” After playing along the defensive line for a couple of seasons and being coached up by Coach Hughes and company, Adams recorded 84 tackles, 45 tackles for a loss, and 10 sacks as a junior. Early into his junior year, recruiting started to pick up. Clemson was the first school to offer him a scholarship and as the season progressed, more schools offered him.

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The same people that support Adams now, for the most part, supported him back when he was playing running back when he was seven years old. The community will always stand out to this five-star prospect on Scout.com.

“It feels great to be in my shoes and I feel all the love in Vienna. I have great support, I feel like I represent the community, and it is great to be where I am right now.” Coach Hughes is just happy to have this U.S. Army AllAmerican one more year. “Montravius can go a long way and play a lot more football,” the proud coach stated. “He just has to keep up the work and he can go a long way. He is one of those rare players that has a real chance to be something special. He has been blessed with so much raw ability and he can be a good one. He has worked hard to get where he is.” The people do not have to worry about Montravius Adams changing either. “I will be who I am no matter what happens. I know where I am from, I know who I am, and being somewhere else is not going to change me.”

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Chemistry Is So Important Chad Simmons (Fox Sports/Scout.com)

Carlos Burse scored 15 touchdowns for the Alpharetta Raiders in 2011 and Joshua Dobbs threw all of those to the talented wide receiver. Dobbs threw for 3,200 yards and 33 touchdowns as a junior and these two form one of the top quarterback-wide receiver duos in the state of Georgia. It all started for these guys in middle school.

“They just push each other,” said Coach Dukes. “They work extremely hard in the weight room, on the field, and at everything they do. Carlos and Josh are both talented, but it is their work ethic that makes them who they are. Both know what it takes to be leaders, both know their roles on our team, and both have the intangibles you look for in players.”

Webb Bridge Middle School is where Carlos Burse played football for the first time. He grew up a basketball star and he still stars on the hard-court at Alpharetta High School, but in seventh grade is when this pair started working together.

Coach Dukes is just happy to have them one more year. They are not only a big part of the Raider offense, but a big part of the team chemistry.

“We first started playing football together in seventh grade and we have been building chemistry since then,” Joshua Dobbs said. “It was Carlos’ first time ever playing football, so we worked together, I built my confidence in him, he built confidence in me, and we just hit it off right away.” After a successful middle school run, Dobbs and Burse went separate ways before reuniting in 2011. Burse went on to start as a freshman at Alpharetta and Dobbs played quarterback at Wesleyan as a freshman and sophomore. Dobbs transferred into Alpharetta the summer after his sophomore year and the pair got right back to work. “It started right where we left off,” Burse said. “We were throwing after workouts and we already knew each other, so it did not take long for us to get on the same page. To be a top tandem, you have to know your quarterback on so many different levels and that is how I know Josh. We don’t have to speak on the football field to know what we are thinking, we know each other that well.” In Dobbs’ eyes, the timing is so important. Defenses throw so many different looks his way, so knowing his receivers is a priority for him. He could not know Burse any better. “I just have a rhythm with Carlos and I just know where he is going to be at all times. We have that chemistry on the field at all times, in all situations, and we work together like clockwork. There is just a comfort there between us and I think we feed off that.” The timing would not be there without hard work. Alpharetta Head Coach Jason Dukes sees two of his top players get after it on a regular basis and he believes the talent each has helps the other one get better.

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Dobbs and Burse are both well-spoken young men who most respect and look up to around the Alpharetta community, but when the pads go on, they are different people. That drive to be successful comes out. “We are similar people on and off the field,” Burse said with a chuckle. “I think we are the nicest people off the field, but everything comes out when we get on the football field. We are competitors, we hate losing more than we love winning, and you see why we work as hard as we do to build that chemistry. We are not going to be out-worked and on the field, we do all it takes to be the best.” It all goes back to having that comfort level with who you go to battle with. This duo for the Alpharetta Raiders are two of the best at their respective positions in the state of Georgia and both know it could not have happened without the other one right there with them. Dobbs’ return to Alpharetta could not have gone much better. The Raiders finished 9-2, he had a huge year throwing the football, and he knows having that bond with his star receiver played a big role in that success. “Nobody is going to be successful without hard work,” Dobbs said. “The time after practice, before practice, and on our own helped us get to where we are. Timing is so important for guys that play our position and Carlos and I have that. Just knowing he is thinking what I am thinking makes what I do so much easier. It really slows the game down for me.” It goes back to their time at Webb Bridge Middle School where it all started for this talented tandem. They started working together then and their hard work has paid off for them in a big way.

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Carlos Burse Joshua Dobbs

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Anthony Jennings

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Jennings Puts Team First Chad Simmons (Fox Sports/Scout.com)

Anthony Jennings could have folded up the tent and sat out his junior season, but he is not the type of person to give up that easy. In the first game of the 2011 season, Jennings tore his meniscus, but he kept playing. He did not know the extent of the injury during the South Cobb game, but he knew it was sore, he saw it swell up, and he found out a couple of days later that he had torn his MCL. That may cause some to sit out, but not this 6-foot-2, 200 pound quarterback at Marietta High School. “I tore my meniscus on my knee during the first series of the first game last year,” said Jennings. “I felt when it happened, but I did not really know what happened. I ended up feeling it during the game, but I thought it was just a bruise, so I just kept playing through it.” Jennings went to visit the trainer the next day and that is when he got the news. He never thought about sitting out, though, or getting surgery to repair the knee at that time. He only had his teammates on his mind. “I know my teammates would have done the same thing for me, so I didn’t want to let them down. I had to keep playing. “I played around 60-70 percent after the injury, but I feel I still helped my team. I wasn’t as explosive as I was during my sophomore season and I couldn’t put the same heat on the ball when throwing it, but I still threw for 2,100 yards and ran for another 500 yards last year. I feel I played well, but just wasn’t as strong as I could have been.” It just came down to putting his team first. Quarterbacks are looked at in a different way and Jennings knows that. They need to be leaders, they need to set the example, and they need to show what it means to work hard. He showed that and he showed that early. “I played on the ninth grade team when I was a freshman and then I started quarterback on varsity when I was a sophomore. I went out there and worked very hard between my freshman and sophomore season and I earned the starting job. “My parents instilled in me at an early age that nothing ever came easy in life. I took that very serious and that is why I was able to throw for over 2,300 yards and rush for 600

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

yards my sophomore year. I just kept working, I got some great experience, and I learned what I needed to work on to be even better as a junior.” Although the injury took place very early in the season, without the hard work he had put in, Jennings wouldn’t have been near as effective as he was as a junior. He knew he had the skills to play on the next level and after his success as a sophomore and junior, schools across the country took notice. The University of Ohio was the first school to offer Jennings a scholarship to play football in college. That came during basketball season. Jennings played basketball through January before having surgery to repair his torn meniscus on February 1. That is another example of him being a team player. Jennings being a leader, showing that football toughness, and being unselfish, along with his skills as a quarterback, all stood out to college coaches. Offers started coming in early in the spring and he knew his hard work was paying off. “I wanted to play college football because I felt I had the skills to do so and when the offers started to arrive, it was a great feeling,” he said. “Schools saw what I could do with my injured knee and schools thought I had a lot of upside. Most coaches were impressed when they saw the film and how I was playing hurt. I never thought about sitting out with my injury and schools noticed that.” LSU was the school Jennings chose in the end and he will be the playing in the same conference that his father Willie Jennings played in when he played defensive line for the University of Georgia. The parents taught their son what football was all about. It is not about yourself, but about the team and that is why Jennings is where he is now. “Football is a team game and it is not about individuals, so I when I got injured, I knew I wanted to stay with them. I couldn’t have sat around and watched them play last year because we helped each other all the way through the end of the season. I depend on them, they depend on me, and I know my teammates would have done the same thing for me. Nobody wants to ever get hurt, but this injury only helped me.”

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Football’s Now the Focus for Bellamy Chad Simmons (Fox Sports/Scout.com)

Davin Bellamy was over 6-feet tall at the age of 11, so like many adults that knew him, he felt basketball was going to be the sport that took him the farthest. Basketball is a sport he can play at a high level, but he realized recently that football is his ticket to the future. Bellamy is now a 6-foot-4, 230 pound athlete that stars in basketball and football at Chamblee High School. He averaged 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulldogs as a junior, he has started on the varsity basketball team since he was a freshman, but he has now turned the page. “I actually told my basketball coach over the summer that I am going to be focusing on football now,” Bellamy said. “I have been playing basketball all my life and I have been playing AAU ball in the summer (Atlanta Knicks and Southern Stampede) for the past five years, so it was hard to give it up. I just need to focus on football now, though.” All Bellamy’s extra time has always gone towards basketball and not football, but that has changed. He is not used to lifting weights for football, but once he started this spring, he immediately saw a difference. He went from benching 185 pounds to 300 pounds in no time. He expects big things his senior season. “I have never concentrated on football, I just played it to play it, so now that I am working out, I think I should be one of the best in the country. I always played football to stay in shape for basketball, but I still made plays. Now, I expect to make more plays, be more dominant, and just be a better player.” He can thank his mom for keeping him on the gridiron. After playing football at the ages of six, seven, and eight, Bellamy hit a growth spurt and he focused on basketball. He did not play football when he was nine or ten years old, and he was ready to play only basketball in middle school too. That is where mom stepped in. “We got in a little argument about football and she wanted me to play, but I only wanted to play basketball. I ended up playing, but I wasn’t into it like I was basketball. I got taller,

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then I went to high school, and I started on the varsity team right away. I felt basketball was my sport.” Bellamy kept that same thought pattern until the end of his junior season. He saw how his body developed, the impact he was having on the football field, and his mindset started to change over to football. He heard from many college football coaches and they would talk about his potential in football, they would offer him a scholarship to attend their school, and he started to realize that basketball may not be the sport that can take him the farthest. Georgia Tech offered Bellamy a scholarship to play football, Georgia coaches gave him feedback about his ability on the football field after seeing him practice in the spring, and that is when things started to change. “I was all basketball, but Georgia Tech was my first football offer, and I started to think about football then. I talked to coaches from Georgia and hearing what they had to say after seeing me in action made me start to think about which sport was best for me. “After the first of March, schools from all over started offering me a scholarship to play football. I had gotten some letters from schools about basketball and my AAU coach had received some calls about me, but offers were coming in fast to play football. Around the middle of spring is when I knew what I had to do.” He had to choose one sport and it wasn’t the one he thought he would be playing back in middle school. “I made a business decision this spring,” said the rising senior at Chamble, “I just had to focus on football now. I told my basketball coach it was all about business for me and everyone understands that. I still love basketball and I still get in games when I can, but I am working out for football now, I am focused on getting better in football, and I know which sport I will be playing in college. I can say football is my number one sport now.”

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


Davin Bellamy

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Quarterback Pro-Style & Dual Threat Joshua Dobbs 6-3/180 Alpharetta

Eddie Printz 6-3/205 Lassiter

A.J. Ederly 6-1/165 West Forsyth

Chase Rosenberg 6-0/195 Centennial

Justin Holman 6-4/185 Stephenson

Cole Segraves 6-4/192 Colquitt County

Anthony Jennings 6-2/210 Marietta

Brice Ramsey 6-3/202 Camden County

Johnathan McCrary 6-4/185 Cedar Grove

Brett Sheehan 6-3/185 Collins Hill

Parker McLeod 6-3/190 Walton

Alex Stephenson 6-2/195 Lowndes

Alejandro Bennifield 6-1/195 Lovejoy

Spencer McManes 6-2/188 Blessed Trinity

Keenan Wise 6-2/195 Locust Grove

Brad Butler 6-2/205 Darlington

Luke Norman 6-1/188 South Paulding

Trey Jones 6’0/170 Mays

Taylor Lamb 6-2/185 Calhoun Simmons Says: Lamb is a very smart quarterback who makes good decisions in pressure. He led Calhoun to the state title as a junior, so you know he is a winner, but he is also a leader, and a quarterback with a good arm.  He scans the field well, he plays under control, and he is like an extra coach on the field.

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Running Back Travis Custis 5-11/198 Lovejoy

Dequan Daniels 5-9/170 Statesboro

Gray King 5-9/160 Marist

Jahmal Daniels 5-8/190 Stephenson

Josh Mercer – 6-0/178 South Effingham

Brendan Davis 6-0/210 Aquinas

Kyle Scales 5-9/170 Greater Atlanta Christian

Tyshon Dye 6-0/200 Elbert County

Deshon Taylor 6-1/186 Shiloh

Ernest Alexander 5-9/210

Wayne Gallman 6-1/196 Grayson

Kamani Thomas 5-9/195 East Paulding

Peyton Barber 5-11/215 Milton

Keyante Green 5-9/195 Eagles Landing Christian Academy

Chaz Thornton 5-7/170 Stephens County

Quinten James 6-2/210 North Cobb

Terrence Upshaw 5-9/186 Northview

Alvin Kamara 5-10/202 Norcross

Undre Williams 5-11/175 Jones County

Tyren Jones 5-10/200 Walton Simmons Says: Jones has that second gear that allows him to be that homerun back. He has very good feet, he knows how to set defenders up, and he has gotten a lot stronger over the past year.

Chris Carson 6-1/190 Parkview

Jamaal Cole 5-11/175 Brookwood

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Fullback

Josh Anderson 5-11/225 South Paulding Simmons Says: Anderson is an athletic fullback who can block, run, and catch. He is a very physical player and he clears the way for running backs.

Jordan Germany 5’10/192 Grayson Simmons Says: Jordan is one of the toughest and hardest working players in the Grayson program. He may not get the spotlight like other players but he’s one of the most productive players on both sides of the ball.

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WIDE RECEIVER Juwan Dickey 6-0/190 Lassiter

Rodney Morris 6-3/210 Wesleyan

Zay Donaldson 6-2/175 Cairo

Demarquis Polite-Bray 5-10/175 M.L.K.

Tyree Harris 6-1/185 Marietta

Kyren Prietser 6-1/185 Brookwood

Joe Horn, Jr. 5-10/185 Peachtree Ridge

JuMichael Ramos 6-2/180 Lovejoy

Dashawn Benton 6-1/175 Grady

Johnathan Howard 6-4/185 Wilcox County

Blake Rowlinson 6-3/190 Alpharetta

Carlos Burse 6-3/204 Alpharetta

Ryan Jenkins 5-10/195 Lassiter

Shannon Smith 6-2/190 Westside-Macon

Myles Campbell 5-7/155 Duluth

Isa Lowe 6-0/170 Ware County

Justin Wyatt – 6-1/185 Collins Hill

Nick Colvin 6-2/195 North Oconee

Nathaniel Miller 5-9/165 North Cobb

Deangelo Yancey 6-2/197 Mays

Demarcus Robinson 6-2/205 Peach County Simmons Says: Robinson has good size, exceptional hands, above average speed, and he can block. He is a do-itall wide receiver and he has a chance to play very early in college.

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TIGHT END A.J. Jackson 6-5/240 Lovejoy Simmons Says: Jackson is a big athlete that stood out early in his high school career. He has continued to grow into his frame and gotten better as an all around tight end. He has long arms, he can create mis-matches, and he has strong hands as a receiving tight end.

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Mikey Bart 6-3/240 Buford

Darren Dowdell 6-4/225 Grady

Adam Ledford 6-4/235 Brookwood

Barret Burns 6-4/220 Woodstock

Evan Engram 6-3/205 Hillgrove

Greg Taboada 6-5/240 Marist

Jordan Davis 6-4/220 Thomson

Will Erwin 6-4/230 Dalton

Bill Tecknipp 6-5/235 Eagles Landing

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Center Jordan Dunham 6-1/285 Stephenson

Cory Helms 6-4/290 Milton

Deandre Wise 6-2/280 Alpharetta

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Josh Cardiello 6-2/285 Buford Simmons Says: Cardiello is one of the top technicians in the state of Georgia. He plays tackle now, so he will be asked to make the move inside on the next level and he should make the move with ease. He is a very intelligent lineman, he is physical, and he is a leader.

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OFFENSIVE GUARD Brandon Kublanow 6-3/295 Walton Simmons Says: Kublanow is known as ‘The Finisher’ and ‘Bull’ by most and those nicknames come because of the way he plays the game of football. He is a very intense offensive lineman who finishes his blocks, who drives opponents off the ball, and who plays until the whistle blows.

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Andy Dodd 6-4/300 Pepperell

Andy Kwon 6-3/270 North Gwinnett

Michael Selby 6-3/273 Washington County

Jeremi Hall 6-4/318 Tri-Cities

Joshua Outlaw 6-4/280 M.L.K.

Brett Steverson 6-5/315 Fitzgerald

Griffin Klyatt 6-3/315 Valwood

Nhigel Phillips 6-4/325 Griffin

Alex Stoehr 6-2/285 North Gwinnett

Alan Knott 6-4/270 Sandy Creek

Hakeem Porter 6-3/330 Monroe

Dominique Threatt 6-2/316 Tri-Cities

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


OFFENSIVE TACKLE Delando Crooks 6-4/270 Carver-Atlanta

Will Jones 6-6/301 Academy of Richmond County

Patrick Dalton 6-6/345 Whitewater

Maverick Morris 6-5/280 Coffee

Jujuan Dulaney 6-4/255 McEachern

John Paul Reed 6-4/317 Landmark Christian

Eason Fromayan 6-5/275 Milton

Michael Raiford 6-6/282 Heritage

Edmend Banks 6-7/290 Stephenson

Jordan Harris 6-5/317 Dutchtown

Devondre Seymour 6-5/315 North Gwinnett

Aaron Black 6-6/250 East Paulding

Josh Harris 6-4/290 Milton

Maurice Swain 6-6/290 Lagrange

Aulden Bynum 6-5/270 Valwood

Octavius Jackson 6-5/280 Colquitt County

J.P. Vonasheck 6-6/265 Camden County

Shamire DeVine 6-6/335 Tri-Cities Simmons Says: DeVine is a big bodied offensive tackle that moves well. He can run block, pass protect, and he still has a lot of room to improve. He will continue to get stronger and become more dominant as he adds strength.

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DEFENSIVE TACKLE Montravius Adams 6-4/300 Dooly County Simmons Says: Adams is one of those kids coaches want leading their team off the bus every Friday night. He is an imposing figure on the high school level and he is not just about looks. He is extremely quick off the ball, he has a lot raw ability, and he has a very high ceiling.

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Marcus Adams 6-0/270 Tri-Cities

Deandre Johnson 6-3/320 Northgate

Joe Purter 6-3/270 Shaw

James Ellison 6-1/290 Harris County

Larry Matthews 6-3/271 Taylor County

Antonio Riles 6-4/270 Archer

Kelsey Griffin 6-2/295 Mill Creek

Jimal McBride 6-3/281 Ware County

Jay Woods 6-2/280 Jackson

D’Von Isaac 6-4/275 Henry County

Tony Porter 6-2/285 Peachtree Ridge

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DEFENSIVE END

Robert Nkemdiche 6-4/270 Grayson Simmons Says: Nkemdiche is the number one prospect in the country across the board and not many like him come along. He is extremely gifted athletically and he could play a number of positions effectively on the next level. He reminds me of Julius Peppers, one of the top ends in the NFL.

Justin Akins 6-4/235 Jackson

Zach Barnes 6-4/220 Grayson

Davin Bellamy 6-5/225 Chamblee

Danny Ezechukwu 6-3/245 Arabian Mountain

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Ryan George 6-2/245 Salem

Rakim Peters 6-2/225 Appalachee

Carnell Hopson 6-2/250 South Paulding

Austin Roberts 6-5/290 Northside Warner Robins

David Johnson 6-1/248 Lithonia

Isaac Rochell 6-5/265 Eagles Landing Christian Academy

Carl Lawson 6-3/245 Milton

Sean Spencer 6-3/260 Northgate

Jacarthy Mack 6-3/205 M.L.K.

Johnny Thompson 6-3/215 Appalachee

Shaun McGee 6-3/245 Brookwood

Terrance Waugh 6-3/238 Henry County

Courtney Miggins 6-4/245 Miller Grove

Khairi WatheAlexander 6-2/245 Stephenson

Naim Mustafaa 6-4/235 Alpharetta

Brian Whitaker 6-2/220 Westside Macon

Chris Palmer 6-3/255 Collins Hill

Jonathan Wynn 6-4/220 Stephenson

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Mohamed Camera 6-2/205 West Forsyth

Tony Jones, Jr. 6-1/215 Greater Atlanta Christian

Reggie Carter 6-2/230 South Gwinnett

Mario Mathis 6-2/240 Thomasville

Kight Dallas 6-1/220 Arabian Mountain

Juston Mincy 6-0/215 Southwest Dekalb

Jarrad Davis 6-2/235 Camden County

Dustyn Moore 6-1/210 Heritage

Paul Davis 5-10/190 Cairo

Grant Smith 6-1/225 Milton

Zane Fields 5-11/225 Lovejoy

Kristopher Smith 6-1/210 Flowery Branch

Carlos Garrett 5-10/190 M.L.K.

Steven Stipe 5-11/191 Pierce County

Drew Gibson 6-1/225 Trinity Christian School

Lorenz Suttles 6-2/190 East Paulding

Johnny O’Neal 6-2/230 West Laurens

Corey Griffin 6-3/200 Sandy Creek

Kyle Williams 6-2/220 Parkview

Nigel Bowden 6-1/240 Central Macon

Quinten James 6-2/230 North Cobb

Troy Wyche 6-0/210 Riverdale

LINEBACKER

Trey Johnson 6-1/220 Central Gwinnett Simmons Says: Johnson burst onto the scene as a sophomore and he keeps getting better. He has gotten bigger, stronger, and faster over the years, and he constantly is around the football.  He is a solid tackler, he takes good angles, and he can make the calls from the linebacker position.

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CORNER BACK Shaquille Wiggins 5-10/160 Sandy Creek

Shon Akins 5-9/175 Norcross

Demetris Causer 5-10/170 Ware County

Trey Cheek 5-10/170 Archer

Darius Curry 6-1/190 Flowery Branch

Rashard Fant 5-11/160 Our Lady of Mercy

Derrick Farrow 5-10/185 Bleckley County

Taurean Ferguson 5-10/180 Jonesboro

Ricky Frazier 5-11/180 Troup County

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J.J. Green 5-8/185 Camden County

Deandre Singleton 5-11/170 Archer

Ali Groves 5-10/175 Stephenson

Cameron Sutton 6-0/185 Jonesboro

Rico Johnson 5-11/180 Swainsboro

Cinwon Whitehead 5-10/180 Booker T. Washington

Tiquan Lang 5-10/185 Lowndes

David Kamara 5-11/183 Grayson

Michael Minter – 5-11/165 McNair

Demetrius Monday 5-11/185 Arlington Christian School Noel Padmore 5-11/170 Flowery Branch

DiQuan Roberts 5-11/170 Harris County

Brendan Langley 6-1/185 Kell Simmons Says: Langley has the size at corner that cannot be taught. He is over 6-feet tall, he has long arms, and he gets his hands on a lot of balls thrown to the receiver he is covering.  He can play physical, he has good ball skills, and he is a good tackler 1on1.

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Saftey Tray Matthews 6-0/200 Newnan Simmons Says: Matthews is known most for his viscous hits. Alec Ogletree is now a star at the University of Georgia and Matthews is compared to that former Newnan star.  Matthews really closes on the ball well, he has good hands in the secondary, and he is someone receivers look for when coming across the middle.

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Cortez Leonard 5-11/195 Callaway

Charles Mack 6-1/180 Wesleyan

Rashad Mathis 6-1/195 Valwood

Quincy Mauger 6-0/195 Kell

Vonn Bell 6-1/190 Ridgeland

Makail Grace 6-2/190 Wilcox County

Donnie Miles 5-11/195 North Gwinnett

Marcus Albert 6-0/185 Banneker

Marlin Hall 6-2/175 Worth County

Kwame Peek 6-1/190 Rockmart

Brandon Facyson 6-2/190 Northgate

Marqui Hawkins 6-1/190 Carver Columbus

Hector Stanback 5-11/185 M.L.K.

Kasey Gaines 5-10/170 Grayson

Donovahn Jones 6-2/185 Dutchtown

Jeremy Tyler 6-0/175 M.L.K.

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Athlete Juwaan Williams 6-0/180 Tucker Simmons Says: Tucker always has athletes and Williams is one of the best in the state of Georgia.  He plays quarterback for the Tigers, but will either play wide receiver or safety on the next level. He is very athletic, he is versatile, and he can play offense and defense well.  He has good speed, he is a smart player, and his future position on the football field will likely not be determined until he gets to college.

Donovahn Jones 6’2/185 Dutchtown

Curtis Martin 5’10/195 Northside Warner Robins

Carlos Garrett 5’9/190 M.L. King

Jacob Carter 5’10/180 Heritage-Catoosa

Arshon Spaulding 6’1/175 Glynn Academy

Quincy Mauger 6’0/200 Kell

Jacoby Wiley 5’8 200 Stephens County

JoJo Spahn 5’11/170 Ola

Chase Alford 6’2/215 Heritage

DiQuan Roberts 5’11/165 Harris County

Jeremy Uzee 5’11/185 Allatoona

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KICKER Joseph Ardrey 5’11/180 Richmond Academy

Canon Rooker 5’10/150 Richmond Hill

Brendan McGowan 6’0/165 Lovett

David Petroni 6’0/170 Buford

Andrew Roberts 5’11/155 Luella

Connor Rovoeau 6’0/210 Peachtree Ridge

Zach Wachholz 5’8/150 Archer

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Harrison Butker 6’3/180 Westminster Simmons Says: Butker was one of the best kickers in the country last season with 16 of 17 field goals made with the only miss coming from 59 yards. He also helped the defense with 80% of his kick-offs resulting in touchbacks. He’s currently being recruited by several division one schools and is ranked #1 on prokicker.com

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


40+ Juniors to Watch this Season

Class of 2014

Raekwon McMillan 6-2/235 Liberty County

DeShaun Watson 6-3/180 – QB Gainesville

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Myles Autry – 5-11/170 – RB – Norcross Quick Hitter: Very quick feet, slippery out of the backfield, and speed to take it the distance. Kendall Baker – 6-6/270 – OT – Marist Quick Hitter: Could play defensive line in college, but projects better as an offensive tackle because of size, length, and feet. Kalvarez Bassert – 6-1/175 – CB – Camden County Quick Hitter: Lengthy corner who has good feet and reacts well to the ball when thrown his way.

Reuben Foster generated chatter very early in his high school career when he started out at Troup County and McMillan has done the same down at Liberty County. McMillan is one of the most physically-impressive linebackers in all of the south and he will have a chance to play very early in his college career.  He is an imposing figure in the middle of the Panther defense.  He delivers big hit after big hit and he became a national recruit very early in his high school career.  He has traveled around some by growing up in a military family, but he seems to have settled down in Hinesville, Ga. and he will be one talked about a lot the next two seasons.

Trae Bonner – 5-11/180 – S – Luella Quick Hitter: Can play both sides of the ball and be used a return man, but most natural position looks to be free safety. Orlando Brown – 6-7/340 – OT – Peachtree Ridge Quick Hitter: Son of former NFL OL Orlando Brown, Sr. and has size to attract many college coaches. Myron Burton – 6-3/186 – WR – Peachtree Ridge Quick Hitter: Great hands, good body control, and a natural football player that knows the game. Adam Choice – 5-10/195 – RB – Thomas County Central Quick Hitter: Plays quarterback in high school, but is a natural running back with balance, power, and speed. Josiah Coatney – 6-4/261 – DE – Chapel Hill Quick Hitter: Very strong defensive lineman who could play inside or outside on the next level. Jermane Conyers – 6-3/280 – DT – Ridgeland Quick Hitter: Could be an end in a 3-4 front or a tackle in a 4-3 front. Chavis Dickey – 6-4/297 – OT – Peach County Quick Hitter: Versatile offensive lineman who could play tackle or guard in college.

Watson is a gifted athlete who many knew very early that he would be special. Entering Gainesville High School, people talked about Watson as a football player, basketball player, and just what type of athlete he is.  He has lived up to all of that hype and surpassed some expectations at this stage as well.  He had well over 4,000 yards of total offense as a sophomore and was named the AAA Player of the Year.  As a prospect, he is exciting to watch.  He can throw, he can run, and he can make big plays in a lot of different ways.  He committed to Clemson in the summer of 2011, but schools will not give up on this elite athlete.  Expect schools from across the country to recruit Watson through Signing Day 2014.

Dedric Dukes – 6-0/200 – LB – Tucker Quick Hitter: Strong and physical player who has played with his hand down at Tucker, but ideal inside linebacker. Denzel Franklin – 6-1/185 – ATH – Pace Academy Quick Hitter: Versatile athlete who has moved around a lot on the high school level, but will play defensive back in college. Wesley Green – 5-11/180 – CB – M.L.K. Quick Hitter: Confident corner who loves to play press coverage, but has shown the ability to play off the ball too. Tyler Harris – 6-3/205 – QB – Pierce County Quick Hitter: Big arm, good size, and best football is ahead of him. Nick Glass – 6-2/205 – S – St. Pius Quick Hitter: Physical player with good size and he could be a big safety or linebacker on the next level. Terry Googer – 6-3/204 – WR – Woodward Academy Quick Hitter: Long and rangy wide receiver who attacks the football and has strong hands. C.J. Leggett – 5-11/195 – RB – Chattahoochee Quick Hitter: Strong running back with good power and ability to move laterally.

Written by Chad Simmons (Fox Sports/Scout.com) Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

Cortez McDowell – 6-2/185 – S – Locust Grove Quick Hitter: An aggressive safety who closes on the ball well and looks to initiate contact.

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40+ Juniors to Watch this Season

Class of 2014

Lamar & Lance Austin Lamar County

Elliot & Evan Berry Creekside

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DOUBLE TROUBLE This set of twins are very similar in a lot of ways. They not only look very much alike, but they play the game of football alike, they have that same toughness, they have very similar speed, and they both know how to make plays on the football field.  If there is one that is a little more versatile, it may be Lance, but both he and Lamar will likely receive the same scholarship offers, will be recruited equally as hard, and they will likely be paying college football at the same school.  Lance could play running back or defensive back and Lamar is a little more of a true cover guy at the cornerback position.

Krenwick Height – 6-2/187 – WR – Wayne County Quick Hitter: Physical receiver who knows how to catch the ball well in traffic. Demarre Kitt – 6-1/185 – WR – Sandy Creek Quick Hitter: Has good combination of size, speed, and hands at wideout. Chris Murphy – 5-10/175 – CB – Harrison Quick Hitter: Good cover corner who understands the position and shows good feet. Tez Parks – 6-1/185 – S – Callaway Quick Hitter: Has played all over for the Cavaliers, but likely to end up at free safety on the next level. Treyvon Paulk – 5-10/200 – RB – Milton Quick Hitter: Very strong running back that runs best downhill. Milan Richard – 6-3/215 – TE – Calvary Day Quick Hitter: Nephew of Herschel Walker, but good enough to make a name for himself because of size and hands. Dallas Rivers – 5-11/190 – RB – Tucker Quick Hitter: Runs well behind his pads and gets good yards after initial contact. Korie Rodgers – 6-2/205 – LB – Buford Quick Hitter: Instinctive linebacker who doesn’t take many extra steps to get to the ball carrier. Nick Ruffin – 6-0/180 – S – St. Pius Quick Hitter: Good athlete with skill-set to play on either side of the ball, but may project better at defensive back. Elijah Staley – 6-7/205 – QB – Wheeler Quick Hitter: Two-sport star that will have both basketball and football offers.

When talking about expectations, if you have the last name Berry and you play at Creekside High School, then there are going to be expectations. Eric Berry, now an AllPro in the NFL laid the groundwork and he was telling many in his high school days that his twin brothers would be better than him.  Both came in and played a lot right away and both are very talented.  Elliot is the thicker of the two and he has played running back, linebacker, and defensive end for Johnny White and the Seminoles.  He made a lot of plays off the edge at end as a sophomore, but will likely be a linebacker in college.  Evan started at quarterback as a freshman, but his home will be in the defensive secondary like his older brother.  He could play corner, but projects more as a free safety right now.  Both watched Eric emerge as a star in high school, a national recruit, and saw him handle the pressure of being one of the best, and the twins both act older than what they are.

D.J. Smith – 6-0/185 – CB – Walton Quick Hitter: Physical corner that has good ball skills and can make 1on1 tackles. Adrian Washington – 6-0/220 – RB – Cedar Shoals Quick Hitter: Athlete with size and ability to play running back or linebacker on the next level. Andrew Williams – 6-4/235 – DE – Eagles Landing Christian Academy Quick Hitter: Long and lead rush end who gets up the field well and knows how to pursue the football. Stanley Williams – 5-9/190 – RB – George Walton Quick Hitter: Extremely quick running back that changes direction well and can make plays in space. Juwon Young – 6-3/230 – LB – Albany Quick Hitter: Defensive end in high school, but great size and has the athleticism to transition to outside linebacker in college. Cole Garvin – 6-0/190 – QB – Sandy Creek Garvin is a coach’s son who knows the game. He makes good decisions and he throws a very catchable football. Grant Haley – 5-10/175 – CB – Lovett Haley is a versatile athlete that could end up playing at a number of positions in the next level. He could play corner, slot receiver, or running back. Cameron Seward – 6-1/195 – ATH – Westminster Seward is a kid who could shine on either side of the ball in college. Some may like him as a wide receiver and others may recruit him to play safety or linebacker. Chris Laye – 6-5/232 – TE – Lambert Laye is a prototypical tight end who can block and catch the ball well.  He is still growing and could emerge as one of the best at his position in 2014.

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CLASSOF2015 Cole Garvin 6-0/190 QB – Sandy Creek Garvin is a coach’s son who knows the game. He makes good decisions and he throws a very catchable football. Grant Haley 5-10/175 CB – Lovett Haley is a versatile athlete that could end up playing at a number of positions in the next level.  He could play corner, slot receiver, or running back. Cameron Seward 6-1/195 ATH – Westminster Seward is a kid who could shine on either side of the ball in college. Some may like him as a wide receiver and others may recruit him to play safety or linebacker. Chris Laye 6-5/232 TE – Lambert Laye is a prototypical tight end who can block and catch the ball well.  He is still growing and could emerge as one of the best at his position in 2014.

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Tyler Queen 6-1/207 QB - North Cobb Queen has all the tools to be one of the top quarterbacks in the 2015 class.  He knows the game very well, he can make all the throws now, and he is only going to get better. Photo courtesy of Tracy Queen Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

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THE FUTURE

INSIDE THE CLASS OF 2016

Landon Rice Darlington Tigers DE When you talk about defensive ends you want them tall, aggressive and smart.  Landon is all of that and then some.   His upside is through the roof as he is an old school football player.  At 6’4 240lb Rice  can turn the corner or overpower a tackle, if you need him to move inside he can do that as well as he is very tough against the run.  He is the most complete defensive lineman in the state

Tobias Little Mays Raiders RB/MLB Freakish athlete coming into high school.  6’2, 227 and runs in the high 4.6.  Sky is the limit for his potential.  Can either be a corner stone at linebacker or a bruising running back.

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THE FUTURE Dylan Singleton - Archer Tigers RB/KR/PR/SS Speed, vision and power, Dylan is a rare breed.  Has been dominating since his youth football days.  Every allstar game that he has played in Dylan has ended up stealing the show.  On defense he is the closest we have seen to Eric Berry.  Insanely physical at the point of contact, great open field tackler.  In the return game Dylan can become another weapon as he has the vision to take any kick to the house   Issac Natua - Buford Wolves TE/DE 6”3, 235 Tight End is headed to Buford.  The big man has great hands and is physical in the running game as a blocker.  Will see some time as a defensive end but will make more of an impact as a Tight End   Malik Staples - St. Pius Lions LB/RB Physical running back that runs with a low pad level and know how to put his foot in the ground once he sees an open hole.  Playing at St. Pius will be good for him, as we all know the Lions run the ball.  At the linebacker position Malik can flat out hit, he is like a guided missile when pursuing the ball carrier.   Kyle Davis - Archer Tigers QB/S Great size at the QB position coming in as a freshman.  If he continues to grow he will be a QB with Cam Newton size.  Standing at a chiseled 6’2, 210 Kyle has an opportunity to become one of the top dual threats in the state.  He is also a ball hawk at safety   Randercous Davis - Mays Raiders - ATH Known as “Dreke” to his friend Davis is already a local legend in GA.  Reminds many people of Percy Harvin with his speed and how he makes one move and instantly is up the field.  Mays will have a rare talent on their team   Zerrick Cooper - Jonesboro Cardinals - QB A tall, lanky QB at 6’2 180, Zerrick has been playing the QB position since he was 8 years old and has developed into one of the best quarterbacks in the country (very similar player to Cedar Grove’s Jonathan McCray).  At an early stage Zerrick is very good at moving in the pocket, staring into the blitz and hitting the open receiver   Khalil Ladler - Stephenson Jaguars - Safety Like Stephenson needs any more talent they are about to add a gem.  Khalil can play either safety position.  Physical enough to play down in the box and fast enough to man the middle of the field for the defense.    Benjamin Frazier - Buford Wolves - DT/OL Big, strong defensive tackle.  Has made many headlines with is participation in multiple all-star games.  Playing at Buford will only help his case, as he will be with a great coaching staff.  He can clog up the middle against the run like no other, as he is an immovable object.  Has potential to be a game changer from the defensive tackle position.

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BORN TO COMPETE ™ is not simply a video company. BORN TO COMPETE ™, or otherwise known as B2C, offers a full range of services from video coverage, editing, and production to photography, graphic design, and marketing including websites, logos, etc. Founded in 2008, a young Georgia trio had a unique idea, create the ESPN experience for youth sports. It was a simple idea with unbridled potential but getting local youth sporting programs to buy in would be a challenge. Armed with an old Sony camera and an exciting concept, the group secured their first local partnership with Clayton County. The Clayton County staff, although the first, was not the only group to embrace and help grow the young company. BORN TO COMPETE ™ has been encouraged and promoted by leagues and teams all over Georgia and the nation. A golden opportunity arose at the end of 2008, when popular Atlanta DJ, Frank Ski, allowed the start up to provide media coverage for the Frank Ski Foundation Youth Football Tournament. Although the road to success was an unpaved dirt road with no street signs, BORN TO COMPETE ™ through grassroots growth has worked diligently to construct a positive venue for young athletes to showcase their skills and share with their friends and family. The trio is reminded every day by their own children how important their work truly is. They are fully committed to ensuring that the youth are always put first in everything they do. As a social business, BORN TO COMPETE ™ is committed to empowering young athletes by instilling a solid sense of self-worth and achievement. This objective is managed by offering a series of awards available to

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the youth based on merit and athletic and scholar achievements, such as the Player of the Year (by sport) and the Youth Spotlight. By involving parents, communities, coaches, and all supporters, B2C is ensuring that every child has enough hands to lift them up. Everyone plays an integral role in ensuring that the children succeed and B2C likes to do their part. Their belief is that through the acknowledgement and celebration of children’s triumphs, we can offer the future a group of well-rounded, goal oriented young individuals. Now with four years under their belt, the growing company is on the move. BORN TO COMPETE ™’s media coverage has expanded to include several states including North Carolina, Arizona, Texas and Tennessee and now includes not only the mainstream sports of football, baseball, and basketball but has also added lacrosse, swimming, mixed martial arts, wrestling, and volleyball to the list. Their staff has grown from a team of three to a staff of ten and has had the opportunity to support prestigious sporting events such as the 2011 Football Hall of Fame with Deion Sanders and his youth football team, The TRUTH and the Frank Ski Kids Foundation Youth Bowl. Through consistent hard work and a pure dedication to the youth, B2C has also had the opportunity to partner with NBC affiliate, 11 Alive to produce a weekly highlight segment entitled the “BORN TO COMPETE ™ ™ High School Game of the Week”. They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery…and there are many admirers of the FIRST youth sports media company. However, BORN TO COMPETE ™ is not done breaking the mold yet, they are just getting started. Through their innovation and constant push to support and encourage youth athleticism, you can be sure that this company has some great things to come!

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Presented by

CCFL

Clayton County Football League A couple of years ago the county took over this league.  Koboi Simpson has proved to be one of the best league presidents in the state as he has created a very competitive league and brought structure to it.  From a football viewpoint, CCFL has one of the better 12U Divisions in the state since their kids are allowed to play with no weight restrictions.  Which helped produce on the most talented teams in recent memories with North Clayton Eagles in 2010.  

Teams 2 Watch North Clayton Eagles Riverdale Blackhawks Jonesboro Gators

GFL

Gwinnett Football League Considered as one of the largest youth football league in the nation.   They have successfully produced the best feeder program in the state by creating a working relationship with high schools in their county.  This year their 14U Division is going to be brutal.  They will field 3 of the top ten teams in the state.  

Teams 2 Watch

Peachtree Ridge Lions Dacula Falcons Buford Wolves

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GMSAA

Georgia Middle School Athletic Association They have created a great working relationship with high school just as the GFL and now their players are starting to get nation wide recognition for their play on the field. Last year they had two players that were considered All Americans and arguably the best Tight End in the country.  

Teams 2 Watch McEachern Indians Roswell Hornets Walton Raiders

GXYFL

Georgia Xtreme Youth Football League The home of the last two Frank Ski Youth Bowl Champions.  GXYFL has quietly put together one of the top leagues in the state.  Now they have a flagship program with the GA Thoroughbreds and flagship team with the Union Grove Wolverines.  

Teams 2 Watch GA Rebels GA Thoroughbreds

Gresham Park Rattlers

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Presented by

MAYFL

Metro Atlanta Youth Football League How do you describe one of the most competitive leagues in the state?  Multiple B2C Player of the Year winners, multiple B2C Champions, multiple B2C Coach of the Year award winners.   They were having athletes commit to colleges in 8th grade before it became popular.  With their move to single age MAYFL will only increase their dominance.  

Teams 2 Watch Atlanta Vikings Ben Hill Tigers

Central DeKalb Jaguars Welcome All Park Panthers

NWGYFL

Northwest Georgia Youth Football League Hiram, Douglasville and Milford are very competitive but everyone knows that Acworth has been the king of this league for a very long time and it won’t change. You can usually pencil Acworth in for winning at least four championships every year from 6U through 10U.

Teams 2 Watch Acworth Warriors

Douglasville Tiger Cubs Hiram Hornets

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SCFL

Southern Competitive Football League They haven’t been around for a very long time but they have come to be one of the top leagues in the state led by the administrative staff.   With the addition of the Tucker Lions SCFL is looking to take a step forward as becoming the premiere league.  All eyes will be on this league as the put the Frank Ski Bowl favorites Fayette County versus Tucker in the first game of the season.  

Teams 2 Watch Tucker Lions North Henry Tigers

Fayette County Blue Devils

YFA

Youth Football Alliance No league has been flown under the radar than this one.  They have steadily grown over the past two years.  They have teams that are staples in their league and they have just picked up one of the more prominent association in the country with Deion Sanders TRUTH organization.   

Teams 2 Watch Hapeville Hornets

DeKalb Yellow Jackets Redan Raiders

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Road to the B2C Championship Series and Frank Ski Youth Bowl

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8U Division Last year saw Acworth Warriors continue to make their dominant run as they only have one loss in the past two years.   With back-to-back state championships Acworth is looking for a third one.   This year they will have a new coaching staff but they will still have reigning B2C Player of the Year Tysen Benford.  The team that will look to give them a challenge will be Central DeKalb Jaguars the same team they played last year in the B2C Championship.   Acworth absolutely dominated the championship game but Central DeKalb does have the players to be competitive with the Warriors. McDonough won the SCFL last year after a difficult regular season they were able to put it together in the playoffs and come away with the championship.   Look for Locust Grove to be the sleeper team and possibly challenge Acworth and Central DeKalb.   9U Division North Paulding is the team that everyone wants to see elevate as they have some new coaches in their ranks from Acworth.   McDonough will always be in the race as Coach Chad and his trademark “Chad Ball” will always keep his team in the game.  Also having the reigning B2C Player of the Year Legend Doggett on your team is always a plus.  North Henry has a scheme that was a little bit advanced for the kids last year at 8U, now they move up to 9U and the kids are starting to understand the offense better which will result into more points.  Archer is a fairly new program but they were able to quickly evolve as the won the GFL Championship last year at 8U.  The team everyone will be looking for is the Coach Blackwell lead CD Jaguars.  The reigning B2C Coach of the Year and his staff have moved up and they look like a welloiled machine headed into the season.

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012


10U Division This is the age group that everything changes and kids not only start to understand the passing game but they are better open field tacklers and most importantly the lineman start to understand to use their hands.  So now coaching plays more of a role since you can’t just give it to your fastest kids and hope to outrun the other team.  The mystery of this division is the Atlanta Vikings, two years ago that team was considered one of the best in the state regardless of the age group.  They defeated 8 of the top ten teams ranked in the state and no ever came within 28 points of them.  That was a different time and a different coaching staff, now Coach Wright takes over from the legendary Coach Tommie.  Coach Wright has all the pieces it just a matter of can he put them together.  South Forsyth War Eagles have one of the top quarterbacks in the state, they will build their offense around him but can their defensive line hold up.  West Forsyth might have changed their name but they wont change the way they play.  This team is lead by their massive offensive line.  Sandy Creek can easily end the season ranked #1 if they accept the challenges laid down by the other teams.   They picked up the best defensive lineman in their age group; he is big, fast and aggressive.   If Sandy Creek knows how to use them their defense should be one of the best in the state.   Central Dekalb Jaguars return the B2C Player of the Year Deshon Stoudermire, every time the Jaguars needed a big play Stoudemire was there.  He led them all the way to the a B2C State Championship in an epic game against West Forsyth in which he has a Charles Woodsonesqe interception return for a TD.  

11U Division No team will face as much pressure coming into the season as the South Cobb Ravens. The have the best player in Trevor Smith, a great group of skill players and a line that can blow holes through a wall.   This is their division to lose and the development of their coaching staff might make this team more scary than most people can imagine.  Locust Grove will be competitive as they are always in the mix. The Gwinnett Chargers will also be int eh fight.   The dark horse will be Dacula Falcons and Lawrenceville Black Knights from the GFL.   Dacula was in a battle for the first time as the Black Knights took the Falcons to the limit in last year GFL championship game at 10U.  There is only one birth per age group to make it to the B2C Championship out of the GFL, it will be interesting to see who makes the trip.  

Georgia Gridiron Guide | 2012

12U Division The pomp and circumstance are out for this age group as everyone has been waiting years for this group to make it to the 12U Division.  You have an amazing group of teams.  All of them are training for one goal and that is to make it to the Frank Ski Youth Bowl.  Starting with Ben Hill Tigers, they have the talent and probably one of the best defensive linemen in the state but can they take that talent and finally win a championship.  If they make it out of the semifinals into the MAYFL championship game can they win the big one?   The Atlanta Vikings are the enigma as Coach Tim takes over the 12U division for that organization.  Last time he coached this team he led them to the Frank Ski Bowl and lost in what many consider the best Frank Ski Bowl ever.   All eyes will be on Glenwood Panthers and Union Grove Wolverines as they are always in the mix and not to mention that the Wolverines are the defending Frank Ski Bowl champions.  Fayette County brings back Rico Frye, last year B2C Player of the Year in the 11U Division.   He is a silky smooth runner with power.  The great thing about Fayette County is that they might have the best coaching staff in the state and that makes Rico Frye even more dangerous.   Watch out for North Clayton as this is the age group where the Clayton County league starts to flex their muscles with their teams.   

14U Division This is the year of the Quarterback as this division has some very good ones.   The TRUTH, Peachtree Ridge, Wheeler, Johns Creek, Tucker, Mill Creek and McEachern QB’s will have all of the high school coaches paying attention to this age group.  Never has there been a group like this with this much talent.  All of those teams will be expected to compete for their league championship.   It is very possible that when this group becomes Juniors in high school people will look at this class being one of the better Quarterback classes in the nation.   As far as the teams go there is no one out there right now that should be able to beat the McEachern Indians.  They are deadly, they can run with power, their passing game is unmatched.   If they have any weakness is that they are prone to give up big plays on defense, which almost hurt them last year in the GMSAA Championship game.  Ever since that heartbreaking lost to Johns Creek in 2010 in the GMSAA Championship.   The Indians have been on a warpath and have destroyed everything in their way.

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The Inside Guide to High School Football In Georgia

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The Official Sneak of the 2012 Georgia Gridiron Guide  

Inside guide to all things football in Georgia

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