Back Prospect Review: Long at Pierce & Clinch at Turner

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Prospect Review: Long at Pierce & Clinch at Turner

By Barry Every
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Recruiting expert Barry Every breaks down the top prospects from two games last week.

Friday night Region 2-AAA leader Blackshear (Ga.) Pierce County (7-0) was able to dispatch hapless Ludowici (Ga.) Long County (0-7) 49-0. The athletic backfield duo of Dee Bethea and John Jones combined for 234 yards rushing and four touchdowns on just 16 carries.

On the season The Bears have outscored their opponents 322 to 21. The Blue Tide on the other hand has managed just 27 points while rendering 271. Despite the lopsided result both teams boast players with the ability to play college ball.

Saturday was a battle of Region 2-A squads looking to improve their standing in the GHSA Power Ratings. Defending GHSA-A (Public) State Champions Homerville (Ga.) Clinch County held a 20-0 halftime lead over Ashburn (Ga.) Turner County and ended up cruising to a 41-12 victory.

Surprisingly the Panthers single-wing attack produced over 150 yards through the air. This was also one of the hardest hitting games I’ve seen all season as the athletic trainers may have been the busiest participants during this midday matinee.

Below are some of participants from the contests that displayed the size, athleticism and football acumen worthy of attention from college recruiters. Some of the standouts are not household names, but could be in the near future.

Though only eight players were chosen for this piece, over 30 potential prospects were included in the XOSDigital Weekly report. This report goes directly to 200+ DI through D3 colleges. The bottom line is college coaches are the ones that need to embrace your skills, not fans.

Clinch County

Jeremiah Johnson, WR, 6-7/200 (2020)
Johnson rotated in throughout the game, let’s face it the Panther Single-Wing attack is not prone to passing. That being said Johnson managed two catches for 42 yards. None was more impressive than his 28-yard catch on fourth and nine early in the third quarter. Johnson went over the top of the smaller defensive back and literally took the ball of his helmet. He has God-given talent with superior height and long frame, Johnson must command the ball being thrown his way. How is that done, working hard in practice and giving 100-percent on every play, regardless if it’s a pass or not. At this time Johnson possesses offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Trezman Marshall, ILB/ATH, 6-1/230 (2019)
Marshall had a pedestrian type performance, mostly playing defense and rotating in at quarterback throughout the game. My guess is the coaching staff is limiting his reps so he makes it through the entire season. Last year he missed over half the season with a shoulder injury. Anyone who saw his performance in the 2017 State Championship Game knows what this raging bull means to Clinch County. Versus Turner County he ran for 40 yards and one score on nine carries while completing three of four passes for 29 yards. Defensively he racked up three tackles and a sack. His most impressive play was his fourth down conversion late in the third stanza. Instead of taking the easy way out and heading out of bound, after gaining the necessary two yards, he turned it up-field and trucked a Rebel defender. This behemoth is simply not easy, nor fun to tackle. Marshall has verbally committed to the Georgia Bulldogs.

Tyler Morehead, ATH, 5-11/175 (2021)
This is a name all recruiters at the FBS and FCS level need to put on their short list. He has become the main signal caller in the single-wing, which really translates as a running back that sometimes throws the ball. Morehead ran the ball 13 times for 83 yards and had a pair of scores while completing six of seven passes for around 130 yards and a touchdown. He also had an eight yard catch, returned a punt over 20 yards and a kickoff over 40 yards. Morehead has nice size, quick feet and very good top end speed.  He can make defenders miss in the open field and outrace defenders to the edge. His skill set will allow him to project as a running back, slot receiver or defensive back. Look for him to be the next heavily coveted prospect just west of “The Swamp”.

Long County

Kendall Lovett, ATH, 6-2/185 (2019)
Lovett missed nearly a quarter of play with a shoulder contusion and didn’t play in the fourth quarter with running clock. But it was easy to surmise that this young man is by far the best athlete and prospect on the team. Lovett did not play any defense but was left running for his life from the quarterback position. He still managed 68 yards on 12 carries while completing three of seven passes for 48 yards. Lovett possesses excellent length and can really accelerate to top end speed rapidly. He most likely projects as a long safety at the next level, the position he played last year. He currently has one NAIA offer, but has the grades and skills to play at the FCS level on a full-ride in my opinion. Lovett sports a 3.4 GPA and a 1010 on the SAT, which should interest colleges requiring higher than the minimum NCAA academic standard. Unfortunately Lovett may finish his varsity career (0-20) which surely won’t help his cause.

Pierce County

Dee Bethea, RB/ATH, 6-1/190 (2019)
Bethea didn’t play football as a junior, but seems to be making up for lost time. Through six games he has carried the ball 26 times for 502 yards and eight scores, while adding 11 receptions for 259 yards and four touchdowns. Versus Long County Bethea touched the ball six times for 97 yards while hitting paydirt four times. No play was more impressive than his 36-yard touchdown scamper early in the second quarter as did his best Jim Brown impression breaking tackles. Bethea possesses very good size and has tremendous top end speed. The three-sport star finished third in the GHSA-AAA 100-meters this past spring. He most likely projects as a big running back or possible safety at the next level. Bethea is putting up eye-popping numbers worthy of FBS and FCS evaluation.

Avery Jernigan, OL, 6-4/280 (2020)
This is one good looking offensive lineman in pads. Jernigan has excellent overall body structure with a wide powerbase and long thick arms. Friday night he played three quarters at left offensive tackle. In the Bear’s Wing-T attack, run out of the pistol formation, he is asked to cut block a lot. But on more than one occasion he was able to display his nimble footwork and power by running his feet after engagement. He has the athleticism to get to the second level and should project as an offensive guard or center at the next level. Jernigan boasts Power Five offers from Auburn, FSU, Louisville, Nebraska, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. That list will only expand as the road grader sports a 4.0 GPA.

John Jones, RB, 5-10/175 (2019)
Jones is the workhorse of the Pierce County offensive attack having carried the ball 70 times for 724 yards and 11 touchdowns through six games. He has also caught four passes for 57 yards and a score. Jones was bigger in person than perceived on film. The quintessential all-purpose back didn’t disappoint versus Long County toting the rock 11 times for 156 yards and a score. His most impressive play was his first quarter 93-yard touchdown jaunt; unfortunately it was called back for holding. Jones demonstrated good vision, excellent change of direction and very explosive top end speed. He projects as an all-purpose back at the next level. Right now his lone offer is Valdosta State, but that could change once more schools evaluate his film.

Turner County

Quevan Lawson, DE, 6-5/195 (2019)
Lawson sticks out amongst a crowd as he is the tallest member of the Turner County squad. The long and lean pass rushing specialist recorded four tackles and two sacks in three quarters of work versus Clinch County. He had to leave game after one of his huge tackles for loss, as his head smacked the turf. Lawson has a tremendous frame and could fill out and be that traditional weakside defensive end at the next level. He is also athletic enough to possibly project as a 3-4 outside backer. His biggest assets are his length and quick-twitch muscle fibers that allow him to catch plays from behind. Lawson does a nice job of using his long arms to keep offensive lineman off his body. He currently holds double digit offers which include FAU, Kent State, South Florida, Southern Miss, Tulane and UNLV.