Back Prospect Review: New Hampstead at Ware County

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Prospect Review: New Hampstead at Ware County

By Barry Every
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Here are some of the participants from the contest that displayed the size, athleticism and football acumen worthy of attention from college recruiters.

Waycross, Georgia – For the fifth time this season the Ware County defense held an opponent to a touchdown or less, downing Region 2-AAAAA foe Savannah (Ga.) New Hampstead 21-7. The Gators were led by linebackers Logan Braucht and Michael Mincey who were part of a defense that recorded 14 QBH’s, three sacks and forced two turnovers.

This contest was much closer than the score indicated as the teams were knotted at seven with less than six minutes left in the final quarter. A short field after a short punt resulted in a 45 yard drive capped off by junior Ladedric Castellanos’ three yard touchdown scamper. To make matters worse for the Phoenix, a controversial fumble ended any chance of a comeback.

Below are some of the participants from the contest 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 seven players were chosen for this piece, 16 potential prospects were included in the XOSDigital Weekly report. This report goes directly to 200-plus DI college coaching staffs, most of which are FBS or FCS. The bottom line is college coaches are the ones that need to embrace your skills, not fans.

New Hampstead

Jurel Armstrong, SS/ATH, 5-8/172 (2020)
The slightly undersized safety proved to be one of the toughest players on the field. He racked up nine tackles, three TFL’s, one FF and one FR. Almost every tackle was near or behind the line of scrimmage. Armstrong does a great job of reading the run/pass option and then closing the gap quickly. He is simply not afraid to come up in run support while laying it all on the line physically. Armstrong has excellent change of direction, instincts and can breakdown in space. The question is whether he can project as a boundary corner or possible offensive player. He does have three picks while having accounted for five offensive touchdowns this season. To speak plainly, this young man is a straight up football player!

Sam Brown, WR/ATH, 6-3/185 (2020)
Brown is the most heralded prospect on the Phoenix roster with an early offer from South Florida. The three-sport star surely looks the part as he possesses tremendous length and incredible top end speed. On the evening Brown played receiver and safety recording three tackles while catching two passes for 16 yards. Watching him run routes you can see the sharpness of his cuts as he explodes out of his break. Brown has the speed to stretch the field and the hips to possibly project as a giant cover corner. Coming into this showdown Brown was averaging over 28 yards per reception and he has a 99-yard pick six to his resume. Somehow he has to get more involved offensively, that being said the New Hampstead signal caller didn’t have a whole lot of time as he was running for his life most of the night.

Justin McKithen, WR, 5-10/155 (2020)
McKithen came into the contest leading the Phoenix in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. Versus Ware County he ended the evening as the most productive wide out with five catches for 73 yards. McKithen has extreme quickness and the speed to get behind the defensive secondary. Right now he is slight in stature, so adding more muscle mass will be paramount to his recruitment. McKithen has very good body control and the ability to make yards after the catch. He should project as a small shifty slot receiver that will be dangerous in space, and of course the ability to stretch the field vertically is also a big plus.

Ware County

Logan Braucht, ILB, 6-0/212 (2019)
The Citadel commit did not disappoint; Braucht finished the contest with a team leading 11 tackles. He also added three QBH’s, two TFL’s, one sack, one FF and scored a touchdown on the offensive side of the ball. Possibly his most impressive play was his tackle near the opponent’s sideline.  As he was bringing the ball carrier to the turf you could hear him yell to his nearby teammates to strip the ball. Braucht exudes the toughness and thickness to bounce around the tackle box and make plays at the next level. On this night he also proved to be a mad blitzer, wreaking havoc on the Phoenix passing attack. He is the type of intelligent hard-nosed leader that may a captain one at The Citadel.

Thomas Castellanos, ATH, 5-11/190 (2022)
There was some doubt whether the freshman phenom would even play in this game, having sustained a minor injury the previous week. All rumors fell to the wayside when he trotted out for the Gator’s first offensive possession. Thomas finished the evening seven of 12 for 78 yards and one touchdown pass while rushing for 64 yards on 16 hard fought carries. Castellanos has excellent overall body structure and the drive to make yards after contact. His size, build and athleticism will allow him to project at several positions in college. It’s too early in his development to determine if he is a dual threat signal caller or not. For those unfamiliar with this freshman; Castellanos has accounted for 1,494 yards of offense and 19 touchdowns. Not bad for a freshman at the GHSA-AAAAA level.

DeMarco Gibson, CB/WR, 6-1/175 (2019)
Gibson has been doing the double-dip as a senior working on both sides of the ball. At corner he recorded four tackles and had a game ending interception versus New Hampstead. Offensively he caught one pass for 16 yards, that lone catch extended what ended up being the game winning drive. Gibson was taller and thicker than first thought. If a college can project him as a big corner his stock could take off very soon, especially considering he already has a 1000 on the SAT. Even if Gibson is not a corner in college he clearly has the length and frame to play safety. He has excellent ball skills and is the type of defensive back that could end up being a defensive difference maker. His lone offer at this time remains Alabama A&M.

Michael Mincey, ILB, 6-1/205 (2021)
Maybe a bit of a kept secret outside of Waycross is sophomore sensation Michael Mincey. Through nine games Mincey is the team's second leading tackler and believe or not he was second on the Gators in stops versus New Hampstead with ten. He also recorded a tackle for loss and quarterback hurry. For a young linebacker Mincey has good length and a powerful frame that can easily hold more muscle mass. He has excellent lateral movement and will run through ball carriers. This is an athlete that may be able to play inside or outside backer at the next level. His skillset also lends itself to starring on all coverage teams. Look for him to be the other underclassman that brings college recruiters to Waycross.