Pepperell High, located 71 miles northeast of Atlanta, has suddenly emerged as one of Georgia’s hottest stops for college scouts.
Junior offensive lineman Kyle Harris was offered by Georgia Tech over the weekend. Meanwhile, sophomore defensive tackle Dakota Ball — who is a candidate to be one of the state’s top prospects for 2012 — already boasts extra early offers from UGA, Alabama, Clemson, Maryland and Tennessee.
It’s big news for the Lindale school, which hasn’t had a graduate play major-college since punter Jonathan Kilgo signed with UGA in 1999.
“Yeah, there’s a lot going on these days, and we have some other young kids who are very promising, too,” Pepperell coach Jeff Shiflett said.
The big news in town is Georgia Tech’s offer to Harris. Not much happens in the zany world of college football recruiting on Fridays. Shiflett was surprised to see the telephone ringing last Friday. It was Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson on the line, ready to officially extend the offer.
“Kyle is the kind of kid that they want on the offensive line,” Shiflett said. “He’s a good run-blocker, he moves very well, and he is explosive with his hips. Kyle is a good fit for what Georgia Tech is doing on offense.”
Talent has never been an issue for Harris, but some SEC and ACC schools have expressed concerns over his size. However, after a grueling winter lifting weights, along with a growth spurt, Harris now stands at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds. “I think everybody is finally seeing that (Harris) is going to be a bigger kid, probably somewhere around 280-290 pounds when he gets to a college campus,” Shiftlett said.
What else do colleges like about Harris? He has a mean and nasty streak. “I’ve had several scouts tell me that he’s one of the more physical offensive linemen that they’ve seen in this class (for Georgia prospects),” Shiflett said.
Harris also has offers from Maryland, Louisville, and Cincinnati. He has serious interest from Florida State, Clemson and Georgia, among others. Harris recently traveled to Georgia to watch spring practice.
“With Georgia, they want to see where he fits,” Shiflett said. “I know a lot of colleges, including Georgia, are looking for the big offensive tackles. I think Georgia is trying to project whether he can play center or guard at that level. A lot of colleges will be coming to our spring practices in May to take a closer look at (Harris) in action.”
Meanwhile, Pepperell’s grand prize may be Ball, who is a 6-2, 285-pound defensive tackle. He is only a sophomore, but already has offers from UGA, Alabama, Tennessee, Maryland and Clemson. Ball (3.6 GPA) and Harris have talked about playing together college.
“Dakota has a real, real good motor,” Shiflett said. “He is a kid that works extremely hard. He is really strong in the middle for us at defensive tackle, and he also plays tight end for us. He’s a real athletic kid at his size. A lot of colleges are getting into the 3-4 defensive schemes, so (Ball) would be a good fit in those.”
What are this weekend’s plan for the Pepperell pair? Harris will be taking the ACT test, while Ball is attending UGA’s G-Day game. Next week, Ball will be traveling to see Alabama’s spring football game.
RELATED ARTICLES (Click on link below):