Back Prospect Review: Westside at Appling County

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Prospect Review: Westside at Appling County

By Barry Every
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Recruiting expert Barry Every breaks down the top prospects from last week's matchup between Westside and Appling County.

Baxley, Georgia – Inclement weather grounded the Macon (Ga.) Westside prolific aerial attack as they completed just 10 of 21passes for 102 yards. On the other hand, this was an ideal scenario for Coach Tomberlin’s ground and pound assault. Baxley (Ga.) Appling County rushed for 340 yards and four touchdowns on 52 carries on their way to a 28-7 first round playoff victory. The Pirates attempted just one pass in the contest.
Backfield mates RJ Conaway and Sharode Roberts carried the bulk of the load for the Pirates; the pair combined for 232 yards on 34 carries. Appling’s ground game dominated the second half, controlling the ball for nearly 20 of the 24 minutes. Defensively, the

Pirates was led by junior linebacker Tyrell Gibson who recorded a dozen tackles, two TFL’s, one sack, and one QBH.
With the loss Westside finishes the season (6-5/4-2). On the bright side Coach Risper has never had a losing season in his 11 years at the helm. It may surprise some unfamiliar with the Seminoles that they have made the playoffs ten of the last 11 years.

Appling County (9-2/4-1) will now head north to take Jefferson (Ga.) (9-1/6-0) in a GHSA-AAA second round matchup. This marks the first time since 2014 that the Pirates have made it to the second round.  Expect this game to be a bare knuckle fight to the end as neither team is prolific through the air. The teams have combined for over 6,000 yards on the ground.

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

Westside Seminoles

Jadarius Mann, 6-3/245, DL (2020)

Offers: None

Comments: This should be a new name for most recruiters as Mann is only in his second year of football. The hardwood star recorded seven tackles, most of which were away from the tackle box. He demonstrated excellent mobility and really packs a wallop. Bodies fly in all directions when he uncoils from the hips. Mann has an excellent frame and could easily gain the necessary weight to play the interior defensive line at the next level. He could also project as a 3-4 defensive end.  Mann will most likely have to go the junior college route as he projects as a non-qualifier at this time.

Jayland Parker, 6-2/212, LB (2020)

Offers: North Carolina State Commit

Comments: Parker recently committed to North Carolina State over 28 other FBS offers. It was easy to see why, as he surely looks the part of an inside linebacker with the athleticism to play outside. On the night he took part in ten tackles in an effort to thwart the Pirate rushing attack. He showed excellent lateral movement and the size to bounce around the tackle box. Parker possesses long muscular arms and has an athletic lower half. Unfortunately I was unable to evaluate his ability to drop in coverage as Appling County only attempted one pass. For those looking to see his cover skills, I recommend watching his junior highlights, a season in which he recorded two interceptions while recovering 11 fumbles.

Appling County Pirates

RJ Conaway, 5-10/220, FB (2020)

Offers: None

Comments: Conaway should be considered the spark plug of the Appling rushing attack. I witnessed for the second time this season that he was the back that got things rolling in the Pirate rushing attack. Down 7-0 early in the second quarter, Conaway broke off consecutive 17 yards runs, the latter for a touchdown. On the night this he hit paydirt three times while rushing for 138 yards on 19 carries. Conaway is just so physical running between the tackles and really does a great job of keeping his feet moving. It’s not uncommon to see the scrum pile moving as a mass while defenders try to wrangle this baby bull. For anyone looking for a bulldozing fullback with over 1,000 on the SAT, Conaway may be your guy.

Tyrell Gibson, 5-11/185, OLB/SS (2021)

Offers: None

Comments: I’ve seen Appling twice this season and this is the guy that stands out the most with his play on the field. The junior kept the game close in the first half by racking up a whopping nine tackles. Gibson shows great instincts and the closing speed to keep runs to the outside in check. He really knows how to come down hill, swinging from the hips and stopping ball carriers in their tracks. Gibson also looks really smooth dropping in coverage as he was 20-yards downfield several times, shutting down the middle third of the field. He most likely projects as a hybrid OLB/SS at the next level. Through 11 games he leads the Pirates with 87 tackles, 35 more than the second leading tackler.

Sharode Roberts, 5-11/200, RB (2021)

Offers: None

Comments: Roberts is one of three 600+ yard rushers for Appling County; He is also the team’s third leading tackler with 46 stops. This big every down back toted the rock 15 times for 94 yards. No run was more impressive than his second quarter 10-yard jaunt that saw several defenders bounce off his body armor. Defensively he recorded three tackles, two PBU’s and a tackle for loss. All along I’ve been thinking Roberts is a running back at the next level but he does have the size and ability to project as an ILB in college. He has quick feet and always seems to fall forward for additional yardage when being brought down. As a linebacker, Roberts is definitely athletic enough to drop in coverage.