Junior to Watch: Brannan Southerland
School: Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Chrisitan
Size and speed: Southerland is 6-foot-2, weighs 217 pounds, and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He also boasts a 330-pound bench and a 500 squat.
Statistics: As a junior, he rushed for 550 yards and recorded 143 tackles.
Favorite Schools: Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss.
Skinny: The spotlight figures to get considerably brighter this season for Greater Atlanta Christian’s Brannan Southerland. In many ways, it already has.
Southerland (6-2, 217, 4.5) was the blocking back who helped paved the way for Micah Andrews’ 2,800-yard season in 2002. He was also a tackling machine at linebacker, recording 143 stops on the season.
His play as a junior has already led to scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Wake Forest and Florida, and a number of other major programs appear ready to follow suit.
“Oklahoma and Notre Dame are also very high on him,” GAC coach Jimmy Chupp said. “I think they’re pretty close to offering a scholarship. Notre Dame made it clear to him that he’s going to be one of their top national recruits.”
Southerland is also receiving heavy attention from Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Auburn.
“He’s a great kid,” Chupp said. “Whoever winds up getting him, as a good a football player as he is, he’s an even better person. He’s a delightful kid to be around.”
Unless, of course, you’re on the wrong side of one of his blocks or tackles.
“Branno’s a big, fast, aggressive kid. He’s a big-time hitter and just a vicious blocker when he’s at fullback,” Chupp said.
Which position Southerland will play at the college level remains to be seen.
“When coaches come through here and watch film, they’re usually split down the middle,” he said. “About half of them like him at fullback, the other half at linebacker. But they all agree he could be a great player wherever they used him.
"I think he favors linebacker a little bit, but this could be a bit of a breakout season for him as a running back now that Micah has graduated. He should rush for more than 1,000 yards and show more of his running skills this season. He's got nice speed and agility for a fullback."
In addition to being a top player, Southerland also maintains a 3.2 GPA. Chupp said he’s expected to easily qualify.