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January 24, 2006

Junior to Watch Blog: 1/24

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*Spoke with the father of Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic's standout junior quarterback John Brantley Monday and the 6-3, 185 pounder has picked up another offer, this one coming from Louisville. Brantley now sports over 10 offers coming from the likes of Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma and several more. He was a Class 2B second team all-state pick this fall, passing for 2,835 yards with 41 TDs and just five interceptions, leading Trinity Catholic to a Class 2B state title, and should have the Celtics primed for possibly even a bigger season in '06, with 17 starters returning.

*Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland is consistently one of the top programs in Florida in terms of producing D-I talent and next year should be no different. Headlining the Bucs' Class of 2007 is 5-9, 160 pound cornerback Kenny Wilson, who is the younger brother of Mainland's stalwart this year, all-state athlete Tony Wilson, who will sign with Georgia next week. Kenny was an all-county pick as a junior, totaling 60 tackles and four interceptions with his reported 4.41 speed in the 40. He could see time at running back next year for John Maronto's Bucs.

Playing opposite Wilson at cornerback this past year was another D-I Class of 2007 prospect in 5-11, 165 pound Orkeys Auriene. Also a starter at wider receiver, Auriene is a talented athlete with great versatility. "He has excellent ball skills, cover skills and quickness - he's a great cover corner," says Maronto.

Other Mainland players to watch for in 2006 include 6-3, 305 pound OL Victor Campbell, 6-3, 195 pound DB/athlete Bruna Foster, all-county K/P Kevin Holland, 6-1, 210 LB/safety Robert Slater and QB Derek Taylor, a 6-2, 185 pounder.

*Next figures to be a big year for talent in South Carolina, and one team to watch will be the Columbia (S.C) Dreher Blue Devils, who return one of the state's most elusive offensive weapons in 5-8, 185 pound RB Nick Bethea. A varsity player since his freshman year, Bethea had is biggest season to date in 2005, rushing for 1,506 yards and 17 touchdowns, totaling 226 yards and two scores on 10 catches, and also returning two kickoffs for touchdowns.

Bethea attended the NIKE Camp at Athens this past spring and showed the speed that has made him such a dangerous threat in open field, clocking a 4.57 40 and a 4.37 shuttle on his way to a 58.49 SPARQ Rating, numbers he hopes to improve at this spring's NIKE Camp. Bethea ran for 1,439 yards and scored 19 total touchdowns as a sophomore in 2004.

Also back for the Blue Devils in '06 will be talented LB Rashad Flowers, a 6-0, 195 pounder who had 136 tackles as a junior.

*San Antonio (Texas) MacArthur battled to a 5-5 mark a year ago in tough District 26-5A, but looks for better days ahead as head coach Van Fuschak welcomes back three players he feels could be Division I recruits in the Class of 2007. Headlining the returnees is all-district safety Marc Kinney, a 6-1, 185 pounder who led the team in tackles last year with 80 and also had five sacks. Another player that coach Fuschak projects as a Division I recruit is versatile RB Jonathan Craig, who was a second team all-district pick as a junior, rushing for 600 yards and adding another 500 yards receiving. Another player that colleges will keep tabs on is 6-4, 300 pound OL John Shussler.

*A running back to keep an eye on in Michigan next year will be Muskegon (Mich.) Mona Shores' 6-0, 175 pound Lawrence Kimble. Kimble announced his presence as a player to be reckoned with last October 7th versus Zeeland East, when he ran for a state-record-tying seven touchdowns in a little more of a quarter's work.

Kimble rushed for 220 yards and five scores in the first quarter alone in that game and then added two more touchdowns on his only carries in the second quarter before taking a seat on the bench, finishing the game with 12 carries for 324 yards and the seven scores.

Kimble finished the season with 1,540 yards and 21 touchdowns on 170 carries. "He's the best, most explosive running back I've coached in 10 years," says Mona Shore head coach Ken Rose.

*Statesville (N.C.) West Iredell went 8-5 in 2005, advancing to the second round of the State 3-A playoffs, mostly on the arm of 6-4, 194 pound QB Dewain Clark. Clark threw for 1,941 yards and 22 TDs in '05, while also rushing for 424 yards and three more scores.

"Dewain's an outstanding prospect," says West Iredell head coach Mark Weycker. "He's got great arm strength and movement skills."

Two other players to keep an eye out for at WIHS next year will be senior 6-5, 310 pound DT Antonio Allison and standout Class of 2008 cornerback Bobby Morrison, a 5-10, 180 pounder who totaled 78 tackles and two picks as a sophomore.

If you are a coach or parent that would like to get a top junior involved with the NIKE Camps,
NIKE Combines or Elite 11 Quarterback events, or featured on the Junior to Watch Blog, email Brian Stumpf if you are located in the Eastern or Central part of the country ([email protected]) or Greg Biggins ([email protected]) if you are in the West.

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