MONDAY MORNING REWIND
Welcome to the “Monday Morning Rewind.” Every week for the rest of the football season we’ll revisit players, plays and games that caught our attention over the weekend. These are just things I saw and heard, so please feel free to offer your insights and observations.
Let’s get to it.
Da’Rick Rogers needs to step up for Vols
We didn’t get to see much from five-star wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers in the Tennessee opener but that’s likely to change in the coming weeks. The Vols saw their top two receivers go down with injuries in the 50-0 win over Tennessee-Martin. Gerald Jones, who is also the Vols punt returner, suffered a broken hand and will be out at least two weeks. Denarius Moore, who led the Vols with four catches for 66 yards and a 58-yard TD run on Saturday, sprained an ankle and is questionable this week.
That should thrust Rogers and Justin Hunter, another highly-touted freshman receiver, into the spotlight as UT takes on Oregon and Florida in the next two games. Rogers was the only one to have a catch Saturday (one for nine yards) but both players were impressive at times in camp. There is one possible wrinkle for Rogers. He is due in court on Sept. 14 to face a pair of misdemeanor charges from Bar Knoxville brawl this summer.
One Tennessee freshman from Georgia who is already making an impact for the Vols is Rajion Neal. The 5-11, 205-pound running back out of Sandy Creek had nine carries for 83 yards, including a 40-yard run.
George Morris: A name to know at Central Gwinnett
If you don’t attend Lawrenceville’s Central Gwinnett High School you probably haven’t heard of George Morris. That’s because he was playing JV football last season. But he’s on the varsity this year and new coach Todd Wofford is glad about that.
Morris, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound running back/slotback, accounted for 417 yards offense and four touchdowns in a 34-31 win over Chapel Hill this past Friday. Morris did it on 29 touches: 9 catches for 216 yards and 3 TDs, 18 carries for 160 yards and another score, and two kick returns for 41 yards. Methinks future opponents might start keying on No. 27 for the Black Knights.
Of course, somebody was having to get the ball to Morris. Sophomore quarterback Eman Westmoreland was 22-of-28 passing for 375 yards and four TDs. Westmoreland has 705 yards passing and six TDs in the first two games.
Brian Randolph a busy man for Kell
I bet Brian Randolph was a tired camper Friday night. The AJC Super 11 selection and Tennessee commitment was credited with 25 tackles and scored two touchdowns — including a 91-yard kick return — in a 20-10 win over Etowah.
Xzavier Dickson going long for Griffin
Maybe Griffin should think of moving Xzavier Dickson to quarterback. The AJC Super 11 defensive end threw an 82-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nile Daniel on a tight end reverse in the Bears’ 40-3 win over Upson-Lee Friday night. Dickson’s arm strength is the stuff of legend in Griffin. He’s said to be able to hurl the ball 80 yards in the air and coach Steve DeVoursney uses Dickson to simulate kickoffs in practice.
New names emerge at P’tree Ridge, Roswell
I covered the Roswell-Peachtree Ridge in the WSB Channel 2 Sportszone Game of the Week this past Friday in Suwanee. I went into it eager to get a look at the Lions’ twin linebackers, Tanner and Tyler Botts, and Roswell tailback Martez Sumler, and those guys did not disappoint. But I came away impressed by several players I knew little of beforehand.
I knew Justin Watts was an excellent kicker and punter for Peachtree Ridge but I had no idea how good an overall athlete he was. He stood out at defensive back, slotback and kick returner as well. Junior defensive back Christian Goodlet (6-0, 170) was making plays — and big hits — all over the field and sophomore receiver Joe Horn Jr. (you might’ve heard of his NFL dad of the same name) had a leaping catch and scored a TD on a reverse.
For Roswell, sophomore Andrew Kwateng was extremely impressive filling in for Sumler in the second half. And middle linebacker Taylor Beckman was a defensive force for Hornets, who are way better on that side of the ball than the final score might indicate. Peachtree Ridge (2-0) won 24-17.
Georgia QBs show their stuff
Georgia true freshman quarterback Hutson Mason came into Saturday’s game with 2:42 left in the third quarter immediately hit Logan Gray with a 26-yard TD pass on his first play from scrimmage. According to UGA, that makes him only the seventh FBS quarterback of all-time to throw a TD on his first attempt. For the game Mason was 2-for-5 for 33 yards. That’s a long way from where he began last season as a senior at Lassiter, with no FBS scholarship offers.
Equally impressive was South Carolina freshman Connor Shaw of Flowery Branch. Shaw got significant playing time behind starter Stephen Garcia in the Gamecocks’ opener against Southern Miss last Thursday. He finished 4-of-5 passing for 32 yards and a touchdown and had seven rushes for another 31 yards.
Depending on circumstances, the two could end up going head-to-head this Saturday.
Etc: Isaiah Crowell struts stuff for coaches
Carver-Columbus tailback Isaiah Crowell, the No. 1 back in the state, lived up to his billing this past weekend. In a marquee matchup with Buford, Crowell had 22 carries for 188 yards and a touchdown. The highlight was his 90-yard TD run in the 14-0 Carver victory. Georgia head coach Mark Richt and running backs coach Bryan McClendon were there to see, along with coaches from Auburn, Tennessee and others. . . .
Tai-ler “T.J.” Jones had an impressive debut for Notre Dame. The 2009 Super 11 athlete from Gainesville had three catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. . . . True freshmen to get in the scorebook for Tech on Saturday included running back B.J. Bostic (5-30), safety Isaiah Johnson (4 tackles, 1 for loss) and linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu (1.5 tackles). . . . For Georgia, OLB T.J. Stripling had one tackle and fullback Zander Ogletree had one reception for seven yards. . . . Andre Sims, who is committed to Michigan State as a defensive back had seven receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver in Brookwood’s 45-28 victory over Collins Hill.