Grayson’s Kori Gaines could not believe it when the ball came his way yet again.
He had already snatched away two interceptions from Dacula last Friday night and now here came yet another pass. This one was traveling the trajectory of a miniature rainbow. To Gaines that ball looked like a pot of gold.
“It was just this little blooper,” Gaines said. “All I had to do was step under it and catch it.”
He did, and Gaines’ third interception put the finishing touches on another dominating night for the Grayson defense. They cruised on to a 44-0 victory.
And so it has gone for Gaines this season. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound BYU commitment patrols the back line of a stifling defensive unit. He lives off the occasional scraps the Rams’ fierce front seven happens to let through and picks off the occasional errant aerial.
“I definitely credit our D-line and the linebackers [for the big night],” Gaines said. “It’s great to play behind them. They put massive amounts of pressure on quarterbacks and that definitely helps me out tremendously.”
Grayson’s front seven is anchored by three other potential D-1 prospects. Defensive tackle Shawn Green (6-2, 280) has already committed to Georgia Tech. Tech, Auburn, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and UAB are all looking at 6-foot, 250-pound linebacker Terry Williams. And defensive end Joseph Champaign (6-1, 250) is getting looks from BYU, Navy, Air Force and Stanford, some mid-majors and several Southern Conference schools. Solid high school players are interspersed throughout the defense.
It has proven to be a winning formula for the Rams, who are 3-0 and ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA.
But that group will be put to the ultimate test tonight when they face off against South Gwinnett. The Comets feature a no-huddle, spread offense that averages 49 points and has some college prospects of their own. Leading receiver Jonathan Krause is a Vanderbilt commitment. They have a sharp junior quarterback running the show in Kent Rollins and a pair of big-play backs in Aaron Wimberly and Trevon Walker.
Gaines said the key will be “a total defensive effort” like they had against Dacula.
“Last year and this year [the defensive backs] have been perceived as the weakness of the defense,” he said. “Dacula wanted to test us, especially me. They’d been talking about me a little bit. So I had to go out there show what I could really do.”
In the meantime, other Division I teams haven’t taken their eyes off Gaines. Despite his commitment to BYU, he’s still drawing some recruiting interest. And Gaines has left the door cracked open just enough to make it interesting.
“I’m definitely committed to BYU and it’s a strong commitment,” Gaines said with a grin. “But I’m not limiting my options.”
Gaines is one of numerous prospects that will be in action across the state tonight. I’ll tell you about some of the others later today. Meanwhile, let me know who you’re eager to see play tonight.