Back Prospect Review: Life Christian at Lee County

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Prospect Review: Life Christian at Lee County

By Barry Every
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The anticipated matchup boasted over 20 prospects with at least one FBS/FCS offer.

Leesburg, Georgia – Friday night two-time Defending GHSA-AAAAAA State Champion Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County hosted Chester (Va.) Life Christian Academy. The anticipated matchup boasted over 20 prospects with at least one FBS/FCS offer. Lee County walked away from this defensive slugfest with a 27-0 victory.

Neither team could establish much via the ground game as they combined for 17 yards rushing on 44 attempts. Defensively Lee County recorded an incredible 20 tackles for loss which included eight sacks. They were led by linebacker Baron Hopson.  The junior took part in ten tackles, 3.5 TFL’s and 2.5 sacks.

Offensively Life Christian managed 187 yards through the air, but numerous penalties negated any real scoring threat. The Trojans were able to convert two first half fumble recoveries into touchdowns.

Lee County was also aided by a superior kicking game as senior Austin Beaver nailed two field goals while averaging 40 yards per punt. He also managed five of six touchbacks; with the lone miss being an onside kick attempt to start the second half.

Life Christian Academy (0-1) will be in action this Friday versus Washington (D.C.) Coolidge (0-1). The contest is slated to take place at Virginia State University.

Lee County (2-0) heads north to take on GHSA-AAA power Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County (1-0) in a battle of Trojans.  Peach County knocked off Lee County region foe Warner Robins (Ga.) Northside 21-13 this past week.

Below are my top performers for each team based on their performance and athletic potential. Though only six players were chosen for this story, over a dozen players from this contest were in the weekly XOS Digital Prospect Report that goes directly to our 200+ DI through DIII college clients.

Life Christian Academy Eagles

Gerrien Christopher, 6-1/210, SS/ATH (2020)

Offers: (10) Campbell, Hampton, Liberty, Marshall, Morgan State, North Carolina-Charlotte, Southern Miss, Temple, UMass
Comments: Unfortunately Christopher played just one half due to an undisclosed injury. He was still able to leave his mark on the field recording four tackles, one sack while catching two passes for 38 yards. Christopher has a solid build and will most likely project as a strong safety or linebacker at the next level. He demonstrated excellent lateral movement and the willingness to come up in run support. His ball skills will also come in handy, making him a potential difference maker on defense. This is a guy that is really looking to come downhill on unsuspecting ball carriers.

Michael James, 6-0/200, WR (2020)

Offers:  (5) Liberty Commit
Comments: James was one of the few offensive bright spots for the Eagles Friday night, catching three passes for 97 yards. He possesses very good body control and is willing to go up in traffic to make a play on the ball. His top end speed looks very good as he could project as a big slot receiver or a wide out. He was open on several occasions deep down field but unable to hook-up with either Life Christian signal caller. James also showed some wiggle in the open field which allowed him to evade would-be-tacklers. This thick receiver is definitely a solid pickup on the recruiting trail for FBS fledgling – Liberty.

Marvin Reed, 6-2/175, FS (2020)

Offers: (3) Jackson State, North Carolina Central, Southern
Comments: Though not as highly touted as some of his teammates, this long and lanky free safety really impressed on Friday night. What stood out most was his inclination to come up in run support and lay the hammer. In addition to his vertical closing speed, Reed can really run sideline to sideline. His length and speed allow him to lock down the middle third of the field. I was impressed enough with his skillset and potential that I watched his junior highlights. Wow is all I can say! Not only will Reed come up and strike; he is a ball hawking centerfielder that can change the outcome of a game. Depending on his academic status this young man could be the most under recruited player on his team.

Lee County Trojans

Austin Beaver, 5-8/145, K (2020)

Offers: None
Comments: Beaver was lights out as a sophomore converting 13 of 16 field goal attempts while leading the Trojans to their first State Title. Last year as a junior he again guided Lee County to a State Title but his accuracy fell off a bit. Well, I can tell you right now he is back in the groove! Friday he nailed both field goal attempts (32, 37) and was perfect on his extra points. Every kick got up quickly and split the uprights. He also impressed on kickoffs going five of six on touchbacks. Three of those kickoffs brought rain. The lone miss was not actually a miss but an onside kick attempt. Beaver has added punting duties to his repertoire and averaged 40-yards with his rugby style kicks. He is definitely someone that colleges from DII to FBS level should keep on their radar.

Baron Hopson, 5-11/221, ILB (2021)

Offers: (8) Duke, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska, Pitt, Vanderbilt
Comments: Hopson is one of the most heavily recruited prospects in all of South Georgia for the class of 2021. He has been a starter since his freshman season and epitomizes the term student-athlete with a 4.33 GPA. He definitely left his mark in this contest taking part in ten tackles, 3.5 TFL’s and 2.5 sacks. He also added two QBH’s, one FF and one FR. What impressed me most was his hustle to the boundary and on passing plays 25 yards down field. He fills the middle of the defense with fury and will lift ball carriers out of their shoes. Hopson is strong, thick and a straight up slobberknocker inside backer. As you can see his academic acumen and gridiron prowess has already attracted national attention.

James Hopson, II, 6-0/180, WR (2020)

Offers: None
Comments: James, like Baron, is a true student athlete boasting a 4.0+ GPA and a 31 on the ACT. But it’s time his feats on the gridiron get some recognition. Hopson was the go-to-guy for the Trojans hauling in six passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. He was able to make plays over the middle of the field in heavy traffic. Hopson attacks the ball with his hands and displayed excellent top end speed on his 35-yard touchdown grab. It’s really hard to believe he possesses zero offers at this time considering his grades and ability to make plays for the two-time defending 6A Champs. He will project as a slot receiver with good size and the ability to vertically get behind defenders.