Back Prospect Review: Clinch County at Irwin County

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Prospect Review: Clinch County at Irwin County

By Barry Every
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SP Recruiting Expert Barry Every breaks down the top prospects from last week's clash between Clinch County and Irwin County.

Ocilla, Georgia – Two heavyweights from the GHSA-A (Public) ranks went toe-to-toe for four quarters, both left battered and  bruised, with Ocilla (Ga.) Irwin County pulling out a 14-0 win over Homerville (Ga.) Clinch County. At times it looked like neither fighter wanted the win, but just enjoyed bludgeoning each other like gladiators. The Indians turned the ball over three times while the Panthers gave out four gifts.

Clinch’s single-win attack rushing attack was dormant most of the evening and the airways were completely shut down as the only three passes that connected were to Indian defenders. Junior two-way star Gabriel Benyard was the leading pilferer, picking off two passes and forcing a fourth quarter fumble that was returned 70-yards by senior defensive end Ja’Quez Marshall.

Benyard also had the awareness to pick up one of his teammates fumbles, as the dynamic speedster raced 80-yards for the first score of the game. The Indian defense also did its job holding Clinch star-athlete Tyler Morehead to 87 yards on 24 carries. Morehead came into the contest as one of the top rushers in the State.

Irwin County has been here before, knocking off Clinch County in the regular season, only to have the Panthers exact revenge in the State Championship game. Will 2019 be different for the Indians? Watching this swarming SEC style defense, one has to think that a championship may finally be within reach.

From here on out its Region 2-A play for both squads. Clinch County (3-1/0-1) will host Rochelle (Ga.) Wilcox County (4-0/1-0) while the Irwin County (3-0/1-0) receives a visit from McRae (Ga.) Telfair County (2-2/0-1).

Below are my top performers from each team based on their performance and athletic potential. Though only six players were chosen, a dozen players from this contest were included in the weekly XOS Digital Prospect Report. This report is distributed to over 200 DI through DIII colleges.

Clinch County Panthers

Craig Harris, 6-1/325, DT (2021)
Offers: None
Comments: A massive space-eater that proved to an immoveable object in the second half. Harris recorded six tackles, one TFL and recovered an Irwin County fumble. Sledding was tough for the Indians as Harris along with his teammates really bottled up the tackle box. Even when playing high Harris is hard to knock off his haunches. His wide powerbase gives him serious stability. But Harris is not simply anchored in place as he can move laterally to make plays. He most likely projects as a zero-technique at the next level in a 3-4 defensive alignment.

Tyler Morehead, 5-11/190, RB/ATH (2021)
Offers:  (5) Cincinnati, Florida State, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Western Kentucky
Comments: Morehead came into the contest with 511 yards rushing, but Irwin was dead set in not letting the junior dominate the game. He finished the contest with just 87 yards rushing on 24 carries out of the famed Clinch County Single-Wing attack. This thick back pounded his way for every inch of real estate he could get, managing just one run over ten yards. That being said I was utterly impressed with his defensive prowess. Morehead seldom came off the field, recording eight solo tackles from the outside linebacker/strong safety position. There is no doubt that he projects as a running back at the next level, but after this game he may also project as a strong safety.

Irwin County Indians

Gabriel Benyard, 5-9/175, CB/ATH (2021)
Offers: None
Comments: There is always one guy on the winning team that seems to have done everything to attain victory. Well, Gabriel was that man in this battle of #1 versus #2. He recorded three tackles, one TFL, one FF while intercepting two passes. He also added 121 yards and one touchdown on five carries. Benyard was responsible, one way or another, for both Indian touchdowns. He possesses incredible lower body structure and has speed to burn. He most likely projects as a true cover corner at the next level, though he could be a free safety. He is a name I implore college coaches to put on their recruiting boards.

Garland Benyard, 6-2/185, OLB (2021)
Offers: None
Comments: The longer of the Benyard brothers recorded seven tackles, four TFL’s and one sack while carrying the ball three times for 16 yards. Garland has a great lean frame chalked full of quick-twitch muscle fiber. He has quick feet and good closing speed. He could project as an outside backer at the next level or a possible in-the-box safety. He doubled as a blocking tight end and came oh-so close to blocking a field goal attempt and a punt.  His skillset lends itself to excelling on coverage teams at the next level. With all the colleges that came through Ocilla in the spring it’s hard to believe that neither Benyard brother holds an offer at this time.

Jamorri Colson, 5-11/170, ATH (2020)
Offers: (20) Auburn,  Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Purdue, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia
Comments: In this SEC-Style Indians defense Colson may be the fastest player on the field. He left his mark on both sides of the line of scrimmage rushing for 77 yards on ten carries while catching two passes for 55 yards. Defensively he added four tackles and intercepted a pass. His length and skillset allow him to project as a tall corner, possible free safety or even a receiver at the collegiate level. His versatility is probably why he has so many offers at this time. He can cut on a dime and really accelerate while possessing very good ball skills.

DJ Lundy, 6-1/225, DE/OLB (2020)
Offers: (18) Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Pitt, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech,  Wake  Forest, West Virginia
Comments: This was Lundy’s first full game of the season after healing from a minor knee injury. From his standup defensive end position he wowed the home faithful with seven tackles and one TFL. Last year’s leading rusher only played one snap on offense. There is no doubting his physical presence as the two-time State Wrestling Champion definitely looks the part of a defensive difference maker. He probably projects as an inside linebacker in college, but has value a jumbo-sized running back in short yardage situations. Right now he is simply stronger and more athletic than his opponents and that should carry over into the college ranks.