football Edit

Simmons’ Takeaways: Underclassmen shine in Alabama and Georgia

Gabe Irvin
Gabe Irvin (Rivals.com)

The state of Alabama completed week four and the state of Georgia is now two weeks into the 2020 high school football season. Rivals.com's Chad Simmons took in one game in each state -- Montgomery (Ala.) Park Crossing at Montgomery (Ala.) Carver and Buford (Ga.) at Acworth (Ga.) North Cobb. He shares his thoughts from the two contests.

HEADLINERS

Curry made the move from Tennessee to Georgia over the summer and he is an imposing wide receiver. He is physical, he showed he is willing to block on the perimeter and he got behind the defense on a couple of occasions in this contest. He creates quite the duo on the outside for North Cobb, and the Virginia Tech commit has size and strong hands to take to Blacksburg.

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Buford’s offense was contained much of this game, but Ervin still managed to rush for 86 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. The Nebraska commit ran hard and showed patience in this contest. He is not a speed back, but a back with power, one who runs best north-south, and he is a commit the Husker staff is really excited about.

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Gooden is a defensive lineman committed to Wake Forest. He has been described as a “tweener” due to his frame, but is an impact player up front. He could project as a five-technique or add a little weight and become a quicker three-technique with the ability to get penetration on the next level. He made a handful of plays in this game, showing his quickness and hustle.

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Williams is a bigger defensive back and he wasn't tested too much in this contest. He has the look and ability to project as a big cornerback, someone who could play the STAR position, or even line up at safety when he gets to Lincoln. The Nebraska commit is put together physically, he is an aggressive defensive back and he will come out of Buford prepared to compete on the next level.

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UNDERCLASSMEN

Perry, a Rivals100 talent in the 2022 class played as expected — maybe even a little better. Numerous things stood out — first step off the ball, strength, and ability to shed blocks to name a few, but his aggression and violence showed all game. He played hard, and although he was moved around a lot on defense, he stayed involved. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and many other southern schools are in pursuit early, but do not sleep on Ohio State. The Buckeyes have connected early with Perry.

Pope is an all-around athlete. He is being recruited primarily as a safety, but could be a wide receiver in college as well. In this game, he also boomed a 70-yard punt, then he is a talented baseball player too, so this young man is a gifted athlete. He made a big touchdown reception late in the game to make things interesting, and he did so over two defensive backs. He has great instincts, his ball skills are plus and he is a physical player. Notre Dame offered in august, and others like Arkansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ole Miss and South Carolina have offered.

Singleton is a 2023 quarterback on the rise. He played some as a freshman, and he was talked about as a young talent to know this time a year ago, but this season, the team is his. He is off to a great start, and against Buford, he finished with around 300 yards total offense and two touchdowns. He is a dual-threat quarterback that rushed for over 100 yards in this game and he runs with authority. He is a tough athlete that likes to run hard, but can also throw a beautiful deep ball. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech have offered, and expect others to jump in, in the coming months.

Smith is a junior linebacker that immediately passes the eye test. He is in that 6-2, 215 pound range with good length and instincts at the linebacker position. He is built to play inside linebacker on the next level with his size, ability and north-south style of play. He was in on numerous tackles and often around the ball against North Cobb. He started getting recruited his freshman year and holds offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida State, Kentucky, Michigan State, Nebraska and others.

Smith is a 2023 defensive lineman at Carver and he is as athletic as they come at his size. He was in the backfield numerous times due to quickness, he showed speed chasing the ball down back side, and he is only going to get better. Heading into the game, he held offers from Auburn, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. He has since been offered by Georgia. Smith will add many more. He is on track to be one of the top defensive linemen in his class.

SLEEPERS

Gaston has offers from schools like Austin Peay, Jacksonville State and Kennesaw State, but Power 5 schools might want to take notice of his play this fall. He is making plays at a high level, and on Thursday night, he did not disappoint. Gaston returned a kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown and he almost returned a pass he picked off as well. He is an athlete that can be moved around in the secondary.

Moss is about to draw some major attention. He is a 6-3 wide receiver with length and he finished with 130 yards and two touchdowns Friday night. He is a glider on the football field and I expect schools to start taking notice of his ability and potential on the next level. He can high-point the ball, he has strong hands and he is sneaky when talking speed on the field. Moss is very under-recruited at this time.

Rudolph is a three-star prospect on Rivals, so it is hard to call him a true sleeper, but I feel he is still a little under-recruited. He has offers from schools like Austin Peay, South Alabama, Troy and a few others, but he is better than his offer list. He was active in this game, a game that came down to two defenses making plays. Park Crossing held a talented Carver team to two touchdowns and Rudolph was a big part of that. He is a physical linebacker, he plays with violence and he should add more offers this fall.

OTHER NOTES

Park Crossing three-star defensive end Jayden Jones did not play in this game. He is currently out nursing an injury.

2022 speedster running back Victor Venn flashed speed when he got the ball. The Buford three-star did not break the big run this game, but he is an all-purpose back to know with a list of offer.

Buford was missing some key defenders, but Victor Payne is another one in the 2022 class to keep an eye on. He is a long, rangy athlete who likely plays outside linebacker on the next level. Early offers in from Arizona State and USC.

North Cobb safety Nasir Howell had a pick six in this game, and that helped seal the deal. He is committed to North Dakota State.

Isaiah Bond is a 2022 athlete at Buford who made plays on both sides of the ball in this game. He is elusive with the ball and he can cover in the secondary. He has offers from schools like Massachusetts, Nebraska and Wake Forest.

UCF commit Matthew Alexander anchors the middle of the defensive line for Buford. He is a big body that is tough to move.

Amari Wansley is a FAU commit and he will be one that makes noise early. He is a physical defensive back with great awareness and a leader in the secondary.

There are numerous underclassmen to know at Buford, and one is quarterback Dylan Wittke. He is a 2023 prospect with a big arm and mobility. Buford played three quarterbacks in this contest and Wittke made a nice throw on the move when his number was called.