September 26, 2007

Ga. Notebook: Top teams to face off

[rl]This is a big week for high school football in Georgia. Some of the top teams will be squaring off, and a number of prospects will have their chance to shine against top competition. The headliner will be the Norcross-Peachtree Ridge matchup, where arguably the top secondary will try to cover the top receiving corps in the state.


Norcross is the new No. 1 team in AAAAA this week, and they will be tested immediately by defending state co-champion Peachtree Ridge.


Peachtree Ridge has a secondary full of top prospects, while Norcross is led by its receivers. Seniors Brice Butler (USC commit) and Devonta Bolton (Alabama commit) lead the way, but juniors Prince Kent and Matthew Autrey will be big recruits in 2009.


Butler says Norcross will be ready to play Friday night.


"We are real excited about the game this week," he said. "We know it is a big game, but we are just taking it like another week. They are the defending state co-champs, but they have a new coaching staff and they are not the same team now.


"They have a good team and we are working hard preparing for them. We have watched some tape on them and I saw their scrimmage against Northview, so we have an idea what they have. Our receivers are mentally and physically tough and we will are all big, tall and can make plays. We have good speed and we look forward to the challenge."


Butler said he and his teammates aren't worried about having targets on their backs.


"On being No. 1, I honestly did not want to be that just yet, but I think we are more ready for it than we were last year. We got a little complacent last year and we will not let that happen again this year. We are much more mature and much more ready now."


The Lions' defensive backs are led by Derrick Bryant (LSU commit), Brandon Sanders (Ole Miss commit) and Cameron Demps (Virginia Tech commit).


The future Hokie plans to lead the way for the Lions secondary as they face a strong group of receivers this weekend.


"Our secondary is pretty good and we will be prepared this week," said Demps. "We have not really been tested much this year, so we are ready for the challenge. We just want to get pressure on the quarterback so he has to rush his throws. That will give us a good chance to make some plays. If we get the chance, we will do something.


"We are hungry and ready because we feel we have something to prove now. We feel we are the best team in the state, so we will go into the game confident and not back down."


Other matchups to watch


Greater Atlanta Christian will travel to Buford as two teams in the AA top 10 tussle.


Four-star Georgia commitment Christian Robinson of GAC will be going against a talented group of Wolves led by Notre Dame commitment Omar Hunter, Georgia Tech commitment T.J. Pridemore and South Florida commitment Demetris Murray.


A few underclassmen to keep an eye on are juniors Dallas Lee of Buford and Blake Southerland and Bobby Petrino of GAC. Each school also has a class of 2010 prospect or two that will likely be a highly recruited prospect in another year. Buford's standout sophomore is Duante Carr, and GAC players Julian Horton and Stephen Atwater are class of 2010 prospects to watch.


Another crosstown rivalry that features one of Georgia's best in 2008 against one of the best of 2009 is Cass versus Cartersville.


Cass is led by four-star Rivals100 athlete Richard Samuel. Cartesville is led by Rivals100 junior to watch Donavan Tate.


Samuel is committed to the University of Georgia, and he could play running back or linebacker. Tate, listed as an athlete, is getting attention from most ACC and SEC programs. He is known as one of the top major league baseball prospects in the country as well.


Big Uzzi visits Bama


One of the most versatile linemen in the state of Georgia this fall is 6-foot-4, 300-pound Omoregie Uzzi. He is being recruited to play offensive and defensive line.


Uzzi has offers from more than 15 major programs, and he has yet to narrow his list. Over the past three weekends he has visited Georgia, Georgia Tech and Alabama.


Uzzi is an honor roll student, and he has handled the recruiting process very well. He wanted to make his decision early, but he decided late in August that he wasn't to commit. He is not sure what he will do now, but he is not ruling out a decision in the near future.


"I am just going to commit when I feel I am ready," said Uzzi. "It will really just happen when it happens. I just want to be sure before I make my decision."


Virginia and Auburn are two of the other schools being considered by Uzzi, but he has not eliminated anyone just yet.


"I want to give everyone a chance and I would like to see what each school has before I make my decision. I still want to get up to Virginia if I can to see their campus, but I am not sure when that will happen."


Right now he is just taking things day to day. He has helped Chamblee jump out to a 3-0 record. Uzzi missed the first game due to an ankle injury, but he is back in action.


"I just had an ankle sprain, but it was nothing serious," Uzzi said. " I am mainly just playing offensive line now, but I will be back playing both ways when we get into region play.


"We are just playing good right now, but we have some tough games ahead."


Three juniors shine for Emaunel County Institute


Defensive lineman J.C. Lanier is one of three 2009 prospects that are playing well for coach Milan Turner.


Lanier is a 6-foot-3, 335-pound nose guard that really played well in a three-overtime win over Toombs County. He had 10 tackles, three tackles for losses and a couple quarterback pressures. He also played offensive tackle and he led the way for a huge night by WaShaun Ealey.


Ealey is a 5-foot-11, 205-pound back that finished the night with 260 yards rushing, three touchdowns and two blocked punts. He also plays linebacker and some defensive end for the Bulldogs.


Another top junior that played well last weekend is linebacker prospect Dexter Moody. He is a 6-foot-1, 215-pound athlete that can run. He had eight tackles and broke up a pass against Toombs County.


All three of these juniors are Division I prospects. Lanier already has offers in writing from Clemson and Georgia Tech. Ealey and Moody are receiving interest from most schools in the South. Look to hear a lot more about this South Georgia trio over the coming year.


Quick hitters on uncommitted quarterbacks


Tyler Bass: "I have about nine or 10 offers now. Purdue, Indiana, East Carolina, Tulane, Middle Tennessee State and Southern Miss have offered. Louisville has started recruiting me pretty hard now, too."


"I am not really thinking about the process much now. We are 4-0. When we get to be about 11-0 or 12-0, then I will start thinking about it more. I want to focus on my season and then take my visits before committing."


Zach Thomason: "I have not picked up my first offer yet. I just visited Jacksonville State last week and Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia Southern and some other schools have invited me to games, too. I hope to get out to some more soon. Kentucky is really recruiting me hard, so I want to get up there.


"We have really been shooting ourselves in the foot this year. We have just made too many mistakes and we have a young team, so it has hurt us. I have been playing all right, but we are young up front, so teams have really been coming after us. It has been tough."


Kurvin Curry: "Central Michigan and Duke are the only offers I have, but I think Alabama-Birmingham and Georgia Southern are close. They are really recruiting me hard.


"I have visited Georgia Southern and Clemson early this year. I had a good time at both schools and I plan on getting out some more when I have time later in the season.


"My favorites are Georgia Southern and Central Michigan right now. If Georgia Southern offers, then I will probably end up there. They are recruiting me as an athlete and everyone else wants me as a quarterback."


Dustin Taliaferro: "East Carolina, Tulane and Southern Miss have offered me so far, and I would say Duke is the school closest to offering me right now. Those are really the only four schools recruiting me at this time.


"I went up to ECU a couple of weeks ago when they played North Carolina and I had a good time. That is the only school I have visited this fall. I liked the atmosphere and the stadium was sold out, so that was nice.


"We just lost last week, but I think that is good for us actually because it will get us much more focused like it did last year before we won the state championship with Peachtree Ridge. Other than that, we have been playing pretty well. We just need to keep improving each week now."


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