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Brunswick’s Promising Future

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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Brunswick High School, located in south Georgia, has a number of talented prospects poised to make noise on the national scene.

After two daunting years spent in Georgia’s Region 1-AAAAAA, widely known as one of the toughest regions in all of high school football, the future is certainly looking bright for head coach Victor Floyd and the Brunswick Pirates. 

Reclassifying down to a seemingly more manageable AAAAA classification is not the only reason that the Pirates are optimistic about the future prospects of their program, however.

Brunswick, thanks in large to the efforts of its veteran head coach, has greatly increased the athletic talent at its disposal in recent seasons. Seven Pirates football players signed letters of intent to participate at the collegiate level this past National Signing Day, and it appears that number will continue to rise in the near future.

None of the Pirates’ most recent signees are set to enroll at a current FBS institution – though several could end up playing at college football’s highest level. That also appears like a trend that will change as early as National Signing Day in 2015.

Class of 2015 defensive back Carlos Pickett was selected as an honorable mention all-region selection following a standout junior season in which he was also selected to participate in the AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl at the end of the year.

A versatile defensive back, Pickett was frequently moved around in the Brunswick secondary to fully take advantage of his playmaking abilities.

“Carlos has been a valuable asset to the program in general,” Coach Floyd commented to Southern Pigskin. “He’s very similar to Justin [Coleman], who played for us a couple of years ago and who is at Tennessee now.  I didn’t use him offensively as a junior, but I will use him a bunch as a senior. I think he’ll excel well at the next level. He has the physical ability to both corner and safety, and I think he will excel at the next level because he is an excellent competitor and he is a good student.”

Though he has yet to receive his first official offer, it appears that one could be coming his way in short order.

Pickett is set to visit North Carolina for the Tar Heels’ Junior Day on March 1, and he has received strong indication that an offer could be coming his way when he arrives in Chapel Hill. He has also been in regular talk with coach at Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and notes that the Bulldogs coaching staff has also indicated that they could be close to offering.

Once Pickett does receive his first offer, he will already have a firm leader at the top of his list of schools.

“I like North Carolina,” Pickett responded when asked about an early favorite in his recruitment. “I just like that they producing defensive backs, and it also a good academic school.”

As Pickett continues to make his rounds at various college programs, coaches are sure to begin flocking to the Coastal Georgia region to check out his elite skillset. His ability to play multiple positions at the next level, as well as his propensity for finding himself near the football are skills which are highly-coveted by college programs throughout the country.

Such positive attention bodes well for the other college-bound players in the Brunswick program. In particular, a trio of elite 2017 prospects – ATH Shawn Smith, OL D’Antne Demery and OL/DL Jabori Williams – stands to benefit the most from the increased coaching traffic circulating through the school. 

Despite playing in one of the nation’s toughest regions this past fall, Smith, Demery and Williams each managed to make profound impacts at their respective positions as true freshmen, which no easy task when competing against powers such as Camden County, Colquitt County and Valdosta.

Coach Floyd, who certainly has sent his fair share of talent to the collegiate ranks during his tenure as a head coach, is quick to acknowledge the fact that his players in the class of 2017 have a chance, with proper dedication and commitment, to be very special.

“This freshman class has a chance to be a special group,” Floyd stated. “Those are just three of the young men. There are some other guys who could develop and really make that class special, but there is some development that has to go on. But these three young men have all of the physical tools already as ninth graders for what any Division I school is looking for. It’s just a matter of nurturing and bringing them along at a normal pace. Just from a development standpoint, there are so far ahead physically that you just have to keep them on pace and allow them to grow mentally, and they will have a chance to play at the highest level.”

Williams, who was a two-way player for the Pirates in 2013 lining up at left guard and defensive end, already stands at six-foot-four, 258 pounds as a first-year high school player. His blend of size and quickness lends itself to keeping both positions as viable options when he reaches the next level, depending on how his frame fills out over the next three seasons.

Playing in the trenches is understood to be a tall task for any first-year player at any level of football. But even with his dearth of overall playing experience, Williams was pleased with how his freshman campaign played out for the Pirates.

“I believe that it went better than I thought it was going to go,” Williams commented. “I learned that you have to go out and play hard and give it all that you’ve got, because those guys are big and strong.”

Having already been indoctrinated to life as a football player in a talent-rich part of the country, Williams is intently focused on improving his game during the offseason.

“I have been going to weight class, running on the track and just doing a lot of mental reps,” he continued. “Coach Floyd has been doing a great job. He’s been helping me get my feet faster and he’s making sure that I stay in the weight room.”

Williams’ development will be paramount for the Pirates as they move forward, as fellow class of 2017 prospect Shawn Smith is poised to take over under center with the departure of Region Offensive Player of the Year Cory Dixon.

Smith spent his freshman season at Brunswick High as a wide receiver, showing off his speed and athleticism on the perimeter.

Due to the fact that he was just coming out of eighth grade, Smith admitted that he did not initially think that he would be able to make much of an impact for the team as a freshman. As it would turn out, however, he would end up being thrust into action very early on.

“It was very physical for me because I was a freshman just out of eighth grade,” remarked Smith of his 2013 season. “I had to step up because a few receivers got hurt. I was just working as hard as I could to show them that I could be a contributor on the varsity team.”

Because he is currently being classified as an athlete as a collegiate prospect, Smith will have the opportunity to not only display his prowess throwing the football, but to showcase his ability in the running game as well. As his six-foot frame continues to fill out with additional work in the weight room, Smith will emerge as a dangerous dual-threat option with the football in his hands.

As things currently stand, the 2017 Brunswick prospect generating the most buzz in the recruiting world is offensive lineman D’Antne Demery.

Already an imposing physical specimen at six-foot-five, 305 pounds, Demery has already impressed numerous scouts and collegiate coaches with his performances during the camp circuit last summer.

Attending camps at Auburn, Georgia and Vanderbilt, Demery was singled out by the coaching staffs for his superior performance at those events. He also was able to visit the Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, although he did not participate in the Crimson Tide’s camp.

Noting his potential as a future elite prospect, the college coaches with whom Demery came into contact did not hesitate to heap praise and constructive criticism in his direction.

“They were telling me that I have a nice frame, and they think that in the future I will be a nice football player,” Demery said. “But they also said that I need to continue to work on my footwork and coming off of the football a little quicker.”

Demery has already been blessed with prototypical size for the position, but that does not mean that he is not working hard to continue to transform his body. He currently says that he tries to work out two times a day in order to try to improve his strength and his footwork in the trenches.

Though it is still very early in his playing career, Demery has already been noted by a multitude of various outlets as a top 50 prospect nationally in the 2017.

Even still, he says that he is not paying attention to what the recruiting analysts have to say about his prospects for the next level.

“I don’t really pay attention to all of that,” Demery said of the recognition he receives. “It motivates me, but I just try to stay focused and not allow people to get in my head with all of that talk.”

Regardless of which of Brunswick’s future college stars you speak with, it is easy to see that the future is looking very bright for the Pirate program.

Brunswick has already shown that it is a school capable of producing elite gridiron talent (Detroit CB Darius Slay is a former Brunswick star), and it appears that the school has an even better crop of athletes poised to make noise at the college level in the coming years.

College coaches across the country are sure to be making the Golden Isles a “must-stop” destination when venturing out on the recruiting trail.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.