October 3, 2007

Ga. Notebook: Checking in on top juniors

Several juniors in Georgia are receiving interest from major programs.

This week, we take a look at the prospects and the schools that are recruiting them.

Last season, Chattahoochee sent Clint Boling to the University of Georgia. This year, Chattahoochee defensive lineman Justin Smith has committed to Arkansas, and safety Elton Ford is picking up interest.

In other news, 2009 quarterback Brendan Cross has several suitors. Cross is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound QB who likes to throw in the pocket. However, he is definitely mobile enough to get outside if the pocket breaks down.

He has a nice arm, good touch and he is a smart player. He played some as a sophomore and he is now the full-time guy under center.

Cross is hearing from schools such as Auburn, Vanderbilt, Louisville and North Carolina State. He doesn't have any favorites at the time.

Jonesboro has two offensive prospects to watch - offensive tackle Darius McKeller and wide receiver Jason Griffin.

McKeller is a 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive lineman who also is a solid basketball player. He moves well on his feet, and he has the long arms college coaches look for at that position. Georgia Tech, Alabama, LSU, Virginia and Louisville are just some of the schools showing early interest in McKeller.

Griffin is not only a threat at receiver, but he is an honor student with a 4.0 GPA. He stands a little taller than 6 feet 1 and he weighs 178 pounds. He has good hands, a long body and he is an offensive threat for the Cardinals. Schools like Louisville, Georgia Tech and Boise State are sending letters Griffin's way.

Georgia Tech commitment Chris Jackson plays at Henry County, and late bloomer Alakan Thomas is another player there who is starting to get attention in the 2008 class.

The juniors who stood out recently for Henry County were wide receiver Jamal Patterson, quarterback Drew Little and tight end/wide receiver Jim Teknipp.

Patterson has been talked about by some as one of the top receivers in Georgia next year. He has a great frame for receivers - he is a solid 6 feet 2 and weighs in near 190 pounds. He has long arms, powerful legs and he runs routes well. His game speed is good, and he knows how to find the end zone.

North Carolina, Florida, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Auburn and Wake Forest are showing interest early. Patterson visited Florida last weekend for the Auburn game.

Little is nothing like his name. He's 6 feet 5 and he weighs 239 pounds. He is a true pocket passer, and one of his biggest strengths is making quick decisions. Little threw for more than 500 yards last week against Perry.

He plays in a spread offense where he throws quick passes, and he has the arm it takes to make those throws. One facet of his game he is working on is mobility. He will be a bigger recruiting target if he improves his footwork.

Georgia Tech offered Little a scholarship when he visited for the Clemson game. Along with the Yellow Jackets, Notre Dame, Florida, Clemson and Rutgers are giving him a look.

A prospect that just moved into Henry County from Ohio is Teknipp. He is playing some receiver and tight end now that he is eligible, and he could get some looks next year. He is close to 6-3 and 200 pounds. He showed great body control, solid hands and the ability to block on the practice field.

Westside Macon has a number of potential prospects in the 2009 class, led by Julian Burnett and Danny Madison. Burnett is a tackling machine at linebacker, and Madison is a wide receiver.

Burnett is a smaller linebacker (5-9, 212), but he plays big. He is quick to the ball, he is a strong hitter and he sheds blocks pretty well. Burnett is a strong player for his size; he benches 400 pounds and squats 515 pounds. He is already hearing from schools like Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama, Florida State and Georgia.

Madison is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound receiver that knows how to go get the football. He has shown the ability to catch the short pass and turn it into a big play. Madison loves to be physical. He camped at Alabama last summer, and the Tide has been on him strong since.

Other prospects to watch at Westside are defensive end Kory Threatt, defensive tackle Chris McMullen, running back Marcus Wilson and quarterback Orrin McFadden.

Arguably one of the top 2009 interior offensive linemen is Johnnie Farms of Perry. Farms is a powerful guard at 6 feet 3 and 290 pounds. He has great leg drive, pure strength and he really knocks his opponent off the ball. Farmer has already picked up an offer from North Carolina, and he is receiving interest from schools like Georgia, Florida, Auburn and Boston College.

Houston County is home to another promising lineman, 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive tackle prospect Justin Kitchens. He is a long, rangy lineman that has a lot of room to grow into that frame. He has very long arms, he looks athletic on film and he has improved a good bit from last year. His academics are strong as well, and he is getting early attention from many ACC and SEC schools.

Warner Robins has been a powerful program over the years, and its top prospect in 2009 is likely to be kicker David Clark.

Clark performs all the kicking duties for Warner Robins; he punts, handles place kicks and has shown a strong leg on kickoffs. He has averaged 42 yards a punt, and has made a 52-yard field goal. He could end up being the top kicker in Georgia next year, and one of the best in the south.




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