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Prospect Review: Region 2-AAAAA

By Barry Every
SouthernPigskin.com
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There is a great deal to be excited about this upcoming season in GHSA Region 2-AAAAA. For starters, three of the five head coaches in the Region are new. But possibly more amazing are the number of prospects holding FBS/FCS offers when compared to the previous two recruiting classes.

There is a great deal to be excited about this upcoming season in GHSA Region 2-AAAAA. For starters, three of the five head coaches in the Region are new. But possibly more amazing are the number of prospects holding FBS/FCS offers when compared to the previous two recruiting classes.

 

Former Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern Head Coach Kyle Hockman shocked everyone when he resigned in order to take the job at Bloomingdale (Ga.) New Hampstead, a team with just one playoff appearance over the last five seasons. In his 11-year career as McEachern’s head man he guided the Indians to a (103-32) mark while winning five Region Titles.

After helping guide Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County to consecutive GHSA-AAAAAA State Titles as Offensive Coordinator; Coach Nathan Clark decided to fill the opening at Guyton (Ga.) South Effingham. During the 2018-19 seasons the Trojans averaged 38.6 points per contest while going (29-1). During the same two-year span the Mustangs managed just 13.4 points per game while going (3-18).

Skipping across county lines from Blackshear (Ga.) Pierce County to Waycross (Ga.) Ware County was Coach Jason Strickland. Last season Strickland led the Bears to their best mark in school history going (13-1). Previous to that he led Fitzgerald (Ga.) to back-to-back State Final appearances in 2015 and 2016.

Surprisingly the longest tenure of any coach in this region is three years. Jesup (Ga.) Wayne County Head Coach Ken Cribb and Statesboro (Ga.) Head Coach Jeff Kaiser begin their third season at the helm of their respective schools. Coach Cribb has done wonders at Wayne County as the Yellow Jackets have won the last two Region Titles while going (8-0). Last year Coach Kaiser led the Blue Devils to the playoffs for the first time in five years.

But this is a recruiting piece boasting the new found talent that Region 2-AAAAA brings to the table in 2019. During the 2017-2018 recruiting cycles the Region produced three FBS signees and five FCS signees. Currently on the 2019 rosters there are nine players with at least one FBS scholarship offer and one with an FCS offer.

New Hampstead had zero FBS/FCS over the last two years; they currently have three players with multiple FBS offers. Sam Brown, one of the most coveted players in the Greater Savannah area holds a whopping 24 offers which include Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee and Wake Forest. Senior speedster Justin McKithen is the lone commitment for the Phoenix. He chose Florida Atlantic over Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky.

Like New Hampstead, South Effingham did not produce a single FBS or FCS signee over the last two years. But hold your horses, or Mustangs, they currently have two seniors that hold 25 or more offers. Offensive tackle Austin Blaske committed to North Carolina State over Boston College, East Carolina, Georgia Southern, Memphis, Navy, UCF and Vanderbilt. Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Day transfer Rocko Griffin also made a verbal  commitment choosing Vanderbilt over East Carolina, Georgia Southern,  Louisville, Troy, Tulane and  Virginia.

 

Statesboro had one FCS signee during the 2018-19 signing classes. They currently have one player committed to a Power-Five school and another with an FCS offer. Defensive back Michael Dixon picked Minnesota over 11 other schools which include Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Kent State, Syracuse and Western Kentucky.

Ware County was the lone school from the Region to produce FBS signees over the last two years. They are also the only school with underclassmen holding current offers. Junior inside linebacker Michael Mincey picked up an early offer from Mississippi State while sophomore quarterback Thomas Castellanos earned a Kansas offer.

Wayne County produced two FBS signees the previous two seasons. They currently have one senior with multiple FBS/FCS offers. Senior linebacker Jalen Barnum holds eight offers which include Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Liberty, Navy and Purdue.
The players mentioned in this story will not be the only FBS/FCS signees. Each team has other players that have yet to have their talents discovered. One thing is for sure, Region 2-AAAAA should be fun to watch in 2019.

New Hampstead Phoenix

Head Coach: Kyle Hockman (1st Season)
2018 Record: (5-6/1-3)
FBS/FCS prospects last two seasons: (0/0)
Current players with at least one FBS/FCS offer: (3)
Prospects with offers:  (2020) Sam Brown (24), Justin McKithen (7), Anthony Thomas (4)

South Effingham Mustangs

Head Coach: Nathan Clark (1st Season)
2018 Record: (2-8/0-4)
FBS/FCS prospects last two seasons: (0/0)
Current players with at least one FBS/FCS offer: (2)
Prospects with offers: (2020) Austin Blaske (25), Rocko Griffin (26)

Statesboro Blue Devils

Head Coach: Jeff Kaiser (3rd Season)
2018 Record: (4-7/2-2)
FBS/FCS prospects last two seasons: (0/1)
Current players with at least one FBS/FCS offer: (2)
Prospects with offers: (2020) Michael Dixon (12), Brendan Jackson (1)

Ware County Gators

Head Coach: Jason Strickland (1st Season)
2018 Record: (8-4/3-1)
FBS/FCS prospect last two seasons: (3/2)
Current players with at least one FBS/FCS offer: (2)
Prospects with offers: (2021) Michael Mincey (1); (2022) Thomas Castellanos (1)

Wayne County Yellow Jackets

Head Coach: Ken Cribb (3rd Season)
2018 Record: (11-1/4-0)
FBS/FCS prospect last two seasons: (0/2)
Current players with at least one FBS/FCS offer: (1)
Prospects with offers: (2020) Jalen Barnum (8)