Why waste any time talking about the state’s top juniors? That group, those 15 and 16-year olds, they are old news. The sophomores are stealing the spotlight. And that’s correct for all of you keeping score at home: These kids will graduate in 2011. They won’t take the field in college (best-case scenario) for three more years. Maybe the economy will be back by then.
Tucker’s James Vaughters is the latest member of the 2011 club, joining others such as Gainesville linebacker A.J. Johnson (Tennessee offer) and Valdosta tight end Jay Rome (UGA, Alabama). Vaughters is 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, sports a 4.0 GPA, and boasts extra early offers from N.C. State and Central Florida.
Since when did Central Florida start offering 2011 kids in Georgia? That’s a good question. I had to ask that to Tucker coach Franklin Stephens. “As you know, [Tucker senior] Jonathan Davis signed with Central Florida. The Central Florida assistant is David Kelley, who used to coach at Dunwoody. He knows all about the quality of football in DeKalb County, and Vaughters just jumped off the film to him.”
There are two common threads with the three super sophs: All play for very successful high school programs and, perhaps more importantly, all three are on teams which had a ton of college scouts looking at film over the last few months. In other words, there were many opportunities for these 2011 clubbies to be noticed. And noticed they were.
Tucker had five seniors sign Div. I scholarships, including defensive tackle Deion Roberson (N.C. State, another Vaughters offer), while Valdosta had offensive lineman Antonio Foster (Georgia Tech) and linebacker Mike Gilliard (UGA). Gainesville has a pair of juniors, wide receiver Tai-Ler Jones and quarterback Blake Sims, with around 40 offers between them.
Surely more sophomores will be offered in the next few months, if not already. Which players are your nominations for the state’s top prospects for 2011?