Football Recruiting: Georgia Tech and UGA offer football scholarships to different Pepperell High linemen

If you're a football prospect and your phone rings on Friday with the 404 area code, it could be Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson calling (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

If you're a football prospect and your phone rings on a Friday with the 404 area code showing up on Caller ID, it could be Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson calling with some good news (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

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.

Would it be wise for a college to offer Pepperell OL Kyle Harris to get inside position on his sophomore teammate, DL Dakota Ball?

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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.

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26 comments Add your comment


April 5th, 2010
12:52 pm

Pepperell has sent many good players to UGA..Lynn Hunnicutt(early 70’s-Previous state champ coach at Pepperell and now head coach at Model)..Randy Johnson-OL-All American in 1975..John Allen-starting lber in mid 80’s..Todd Wheeler-all sec Center and captain of Dooley’s last team and Jonathan Kilgo


April 5th, 2010
1:17 pm

Sidney Ford was one of the best high school RB’s to ever play in Georgia. Pepperell HS and GT.


April 5th, 2010
1:38 pm

There was the Pepperell grad from a few years ago who had signed w/Vandy (I’d call that a major school, being in the SEC) who never got to go. Can’t remember his name, but he was convicted on a sex-with-a-minor thing, even though the girl said it was consensual. His conviction was subsequently over-turned, but I don’t know if he ever attended Vandy. Anybody know what happened to him?


April 5th, 2010
2:01 pm

Oh, brother. A sophomore? This is out of hand.

rxdawg79, I remember tht kid. I’ve wondered what happened to him, too.

Say it Aint So

April 5th, 2010
2:04 pm

If you traveled 71 miles NE of Atlanta I’d bet you never will reach Pepperell HS.

My nephew in Baton Rouge is

April 5th, 2010
2:08 pm

Seriously, I have a 13 year old nephew who plays middle school football and also basketball and catches for the Legion baseball squad. He is 6′2″ and weighs around 210 can bench about 325 and will be a great tight end or linebacker …………….let us go ahead and offer him too. Who knows? LSU or NW/SW/NE/S Central Louisiana will recruit him too.

This is nuts.

Go Dogs.

Tuck Fech

April 5th, 2010
2:28 pm

Why play in the ACC (All Coast Clear) when you can play for THE SEC!


April 5th, 2010
2:44 pm

Why play in the ACC (All Coast Clear) when you can play for THE SEC!

Because the ACC has great schools with very solid football teams.


April 5th, 2010
2:48 pm

Vandy signee in ? was Marcus Dixon-Sex with underage girl..Ended up at Hampton and was on Cowboys roster last year.


April 5th, 2010
2:54 pm

My son scored 5 touchdowns in the yard yesterday on long pass completions. Think CMR will call and offer him? He is in the second grade. This is silliness.

[...] Read more: Football Recruiting: Georgia Tech and UGA offer football … [...]


April 5th, 2010
3:06 pm

Maybe they should start looking down south at the 5A champs. They are repeating champs for a reason.

[...] Football Recruiting: Georgia Tech and UGA offer football scholarships to … Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) Not much happens in the zany world of college football recruiting on Fridays. Shiflett was surprised to see the telephone ringing last Friday. … See all stories on this topic [...]

Delbert D.

April 5th, 2010
7:36 pm

CMR would offer a guy whose initial offer was by Ga. Tech? Yeah, right.


April 5th, 2010
8:14 pm

Dawgs may well offer Kyle Harris..Dakota Ball’s family are, I believe UGA fans..He’s a Jr. next season-Not that early!..Pray for Christian Lemay to be a Dawg!


April 5th, 2010
8:39 pm

Good call Coach Johnson.

Fire Paul Hewitt !


April 5th, 2010
9:59 pm


April 5th, 2010
10:16 pm

Kyle Harris nice high school run blocking…. like to him in pass pro with DE in 4point stand.
By the way, what was the school in the all black with the (big #72), that whole coaching staff need to be fired. The total defense was out of position… 72 should’ve been over the ball not at DE. Mays pray for size like that, but they all want play in the show band.



April 6th, 2010
1:10 am

I coached Ken Irvin and Franky Fletcher from Pepperell as well. Franky was the AA state player of the year in 1990 and He and Ken went on to play at Memphis. Ken still may hold, the NCAA record for blocked punts in one game against Arkansas. Also Ken started at corner for the Buffalo Bills for several years.

Look out for the youngsters at Pepperell. I was at a tire store a couple weeks ago and a kid walks in as big as a door. Serioulsy, 6-5 265. He was the owners grandson. He talked to me about meeting a scout from Rivals that day at school along with two other of his classmates. He was laughing about being the smallest one of the bunch. I figured he was a junior so I asked him if he had any offers yet and he said not yet. I asked about the other two that were bigger than him and he said not yet. I thought these guys must be really bad to be that big and not get an offer from ANYONE. Then his grandad tells me that they are all 3 freshmen.

[...] UGA and Georgia Tech offer different Pepperell High linemen [...]

[...] opprobrious footballer Kyle Harris was offered by Colony Tech over the weekend. Meanwhile, intermediate antitank face Dakota Ball — [...]

[...] UGA and Georgia Tech offer different Pepperell High linemen [...]

Rome Jacket

April 8th, 2010
9:52 pm

Sidney Ford was a great football player at Pepperell and GT til he had some health issues at GT.

Go Jackets!


June 23rd, 2010
2:48 pm

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May 2nd, 2011
9:42 pm