ATLANTA - High School football kicked off in Georgia this weekend and many highly touted 2008 prospects began their senior seasons. Prospects like Notre Dame commitment Jamoris Slaughter, Georgia commitment Toby Jackson and uncommitted defensive back Darrell Simmons were just a few we covered this weekend.
The prospect that took center stage was Class of 2009 athlete Jonathan Davis of Tucker (Ga.).
Davis is a 5-foot-9, 205-pound starter at running back and inside linebacker for the Tigers. He transferred to Tucker this year from St. Pius where he tallied up 198 tackles and ran for 998 yards as a sophomore.
Against Miller Grove on Friday night, Davis made a statement on the first play when he sprinted to the sideline to meet the receiver head-on after he caught a tunnel screen. That nasty hit sent the crowd into a buzz early and that was just what Davis had in mind.
"I just love to hit, I love to get the crowd into the game and I love to make plays," said Davis.
But it wasn't the only play Davis would make.
In the first half alone, Davis had eight tackles, three tackles for loss and four big hits. That was only on defense. On offense, he had touchdown runs in the first half of 71 and 49 yards. He ended the first half with 143 yards rushing on just five carries.
Davis ended the first half with a huge hit where he blitzed up the middle and hit the quarterback before he could even hand the ball off. That put Miller Grove at their own one yard line, so they took a safety the next play and went into the half down 29-0.
The second half was much of the same. The first play from scrimmage for Tucker, Davis burst up the middle breaking multiple tackles before cutting across the field for 51-yard run. He then capped off that drive with a six-yard touchdown and that concluded his night on offense. He finished with 193 yards on seven carries and three touchdowns on offense. He had 12 tackles with four tackles for a loss on defense.
Tucker is happy to have this junior on their side.
"He means a lot to the team," said senior Neiko Lipscomb, who had one-reception for 26-yards and a touchdown against Miller Grove. "We love the way he is stepping up and helping our team. We are all about the team here and we know if he is not stepping up, then another person will. This was his game though, he played great."
One prospect that did not have a chance to shine was four-star safety Jamoris Slaughter. He is known for making big plays and delivering big hits, but the offense never got to him at safety because the Tucker defense didn't let it.
"This was a good win for us and this is what practicing hard did for us," Slaughter said. "I think we really played well. I did not get to the ball a lot, but I didn't have the chance."
"My opportunity did not come this week to make a play, but I think it will next week when we play our big rival Maris. That is the game we are focused on now."
Tucker easily handled Miller Grove Friday with a 43-0 win. They had close to 500 yards of offense while Miller Grove right at 100 yards. The Tigers were dominant from the beginning and led by Davis.
Fowlkes steps up, but he is not enough
Stephenson is known for competing for state titles year in and year out in Georgia and this year is no different. They may not have the marquee name on the prospect list like they have in the past with names like Marcus Ball, Kregg Lumpkin, Perry Riley, but they have a good team with good balance.
The Jaguars were going up against Banneker in week one and the Trojans are led by defensive end Steven Fowlkes and defensive back Darrell Simmons.
Fowlkes has already committed to Tennessee and Simmons is still looking. Both of those young men came to play, but they did have enough to stop the Jaguars.
Stephenson took advantage of turnovers, penalties and mistakes. The game ended up 28-0, but it played out much closer than that and that is what Simmons is trying to take from the game.
"We played hard and played tough, but we gave up too many big plays," he stated. "We were really in the game the entire time, but they made the plays and we didn't. When we did make a few plays, we would have penalties bringing them back. We just need to stop the penalties and stay in our position and we will get better."
The score looks bad, but future Volunteer Fowlkes shined bright. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound rush end showed why Tennessee went after him.
He did what he could to help the Banneker defense keep Stephenson out of the end zone and his play was strong. Fowlkes ended the night with three tackles, two sacks and three tackles for a loss. He also caught two passes on offense.
Banneker Head Coach Benny Crane was happy with his performance and thinks very highly of Fowlkes.
"Steven is a real player and I hope he starts getting the recognition," Crane said. "He played great for us and I think he needs to be in one of those all-star games at the end of the year."
"He works hard, he completes and he made some plays for us Friday night. He is a good one for us and he is the real deal."
Simmons did his part too showing why he has offers from over thirty schools. He finished the night with eight tackles and around 50 yards of total offense. Wide receiver is where he lines up this year after playing quarterback last season.
Sloppy conditions didn't hold Jackson back
It has not rained much in Georgia at all this summer, but as soon as football season gets here, the rains come. Multiple games were delayed, called early and played on wet fields due to the storms that rolled through the Peach State this week.
That weather sat down on the city of Griffin Thursday night when the Griffin Bears opened up their season against Lithia Springs. The storms started before kick-off and the rain did not let up until four-minutes to go in the game.
"It was tough to go through that delay before the game," said Toby Jackson after his Griffin Bears defeated Lithia Springs 23-0 is a sloppy, sluggish and ugly opener.
The game was slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. and it was delayed around an hour due to inclement weather. Once the lightening strikes subsided, the game began.
The anticipation was there for the first regular season game in Georgia, but the weather did not help. The rain stayed throughout the game and it caused fumbles, bad passes and a game that was played sloppily by both squads.
A slippery field did not slow down four-star Rivals250 defensive end Toby Jackson though. He was in on seven tackles and had a sack. He showed a relentless effort and he was happy with his performance.
"I think I played pretty good, but I know I can always do better. It was hard to play in the rain while getting double and triple teamed, but I was able to make a few plays."
"I think I showed I could play the run and the pass tonight and that was what I was working on all summer. I think I played pretty well, the team played well and we can get a lot better this year."
Toby was not the only Jackson that shined for the Bears on Thursday. His younger brother Kentorious Jackson led the Bears in rushing with 85 yards on six carries, including a 35-yard scamper down the sideline in the third quarter that put the game away.
Jackson is a 6-foot, 188-pound athlete that will likely be a defensive back in college. He plays running back, safety and sometimes corner for Griffin.
Griffin's head coach Steve Devoursney was happy with the win, but he knows his team has to improve to get to where they want to at the end of the season.
Recruiting Notes on prospects this week
Slaughter: He is one hundred percent committed to Notre Dame. He said before the game Friday night that he was out to represent the Irish. Slaughter will be in South Bend this weekend for his official visit. He predicted the Irish would defeat Georgia Tech 31-14.
Lipscomb: Four schools remain in the mix. It is between Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Michigan State. He has only visited Georgia to this point and he wants to visit his four finalists once before making his decision.
Jackson: Sill committed to Georgia, but he will take his five official visits. He is in Athens this weekend for the Oklahoma State game. He plans to visit Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and Miami and he is trying to decide on the a fifth.
Simmons: Miami leads with Alabama right behind them. Those are clearly his top two, but he will be in Clemson Monday night. He said, "I am going up there to really see FSU." The Seminoles are a school he is looking at as well. He hopes to decide soon.
Fowlkes: Solid to Tennessee. You can't put it any other way. He is love with Rocky Top and the Vols have a prospect that is truly committed to them.
A handful of names to remember for 2009…
Jonathan Davis, Kentrious Jackson and Deon Roberson are 2009 prospects to watch. We mentioned Davis and Jackson in the report and Roberson is a 6-foot-2, 285-pound explosive big man. He is an interior defensive lineman that has a lot of potential.