Note: You can watch Grayson vs. North Gwinnett live at 7:30 p.m. Friday in an online webcast at http://www.wsbtv.com/thursdaynightfootball
Robert Nkemdiche vs. the son of NFL All-Pro Richard Seymour.
Two of the state’s top recruits will go head-to-head when Grayson High School plays North Gwinnett at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the second round of the state playoffs.
Nkemdiche is the nation’s undisputed No. 1 prospect as a 6-foot-5, 284-pound defensive end from Grayson. He’s backed off his early commitment to Clemson, and now considering Ole Miss (where his older brother plays), among others.
DeVondre Seymour is a 6-5, 290-pound offensive tackle for North Gwinnett who is the adopted son of the NFL All-Pro for the Oakland Raiders. The younger Seymour claimed early offers from UGA, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina, among others, but has kept a low profile in the recruiting world over the last six months.
Nkemdiche has an advantage over Seymour — despite his famous bloodlines and stellar measurements – because he is a relative newcomer to football.
“In my 32 years of coaching, I don’t ever think I’ve seen a kid with the kind of size and athleticism as Robert Nkemdiche,” North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire said. “That’s a tall order for anybody trying to block him …
“Let’s just face it: He’s going to get the better of anybody he plays against. You just hope he doesn’t make so many plays that it kills your momentum in the game.”
Sphire expects Grayson to move Nkemdiche all around the defensive front, including some appearances at nose tackle.
Seymour plays right offensive tackle, while sophomore Mitch Hyatt is the team’s starter at left offensive tackle. Hyatt is 6-6, 260 pounds and considered one of the state’s top 20 college football prospects for 2015.
“He’s incredible for a sophomore,” Sphire said. “He’s got all the right demeanor, all the right work ethic, and all the intangibles you’d want in a kid. He’s got the bloodlines. His uncle played for Clemson when they won the national championship.
“What’s interesting is that we were able to move Seymour to right tackle because of a sophomore like that. Now Mitch has learned some lessons this year, but he’s come around and has held his own.”
Hyatt is further along as a sophomore than former North Gwinnett standout Ja’Wuan James, who starts at left tackle for the University of Tennessee and is ranked as a top NFL prospect. James was a basketball player who came out for the high school team as a sophomore.
“Ja’Wuan had unbelievable potential but he was just learning the game,” Sphire said. “Mitch is a football guy. He comes from a football family. His uncle played at Clemson, and he came to us as a football guy. When Mitch was out here last spring, he was going to war in the Oklahoma drill where Ju’Wuan at that stage was soft because he was a basketball player still learning the game of football.
“Mitch is a great kid, extremely coachable, never whines or complains. You wouldn’t know if he was hurt. He’s got a great football mentality as a sophomore where Ju’Wuan had to learn to be a football player when we got him.”
Hyatt’s coach expects him eventually to be just as a highly recruited as James.
Many colleges will be looking at tonight’s film when Hyatt matches up against Nkemdiche.
“North Gwinnett will be the offensive line we’ve seen all year,” Grayson coach Mickey Conn said.
Other senior prospects to watch tonight:
Tonight’s game will be televised live on WSB-TV/Me-TV 2.2, which can be found on the following cable systems by channel number: Comcast 248 (Metro Atlanta, Calhoun, Rome), Charter 126 (Metro Atlanta, Athens), Windstream 871 (Dahlonega, Hiawassee, Cornelia, Commerce), ETC 190 (Ellijay, Cherokee, Pickens, Gilmer, Fannin), Plantation 601 (Green, Putnam) and Knology 168 (West Point). The re-broadcast will be shown at 1 a.m. Friday night on WSB-TV on Ch. 2.
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