Takeaways from the Georgia state championship games
ATLANTA — Over a two-day period inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, 16 teams played for state championships this week. There were some performances that jumped out, and analyst Chad Simmons shares some of them.
LUNDY’S A LOAD
If you are looking for a player that made a bigger name for himself this week, it is DJ Lundy of Irwin County.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound athlete rushed for 127 yards on 15 carries and added half a dozen tackles on defense. Lundy is a jumbo-athlete who could project at a number of positions on the next level, from running back to linebacker to H-back. He is a football player.
When you look at Lundy, you may just think size, but he ran a couple of sweeps on the perimeter that showed the type of speed he has. He has offers from Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State and South Carolina, so it is not that schools are sleeping on him, but he is not getting the talk he deserves.
The young man out of Irwinton (Ga.) made a strong statement on a big stage Tuesday.
HASELWOOD LIKES THE SPOTLIGHT
With 10 seconds to go in its game Cedar Grove was down 13-7, and at that time Jadon Haselwood only had one catch. That changed over the next 7 seconds.
Haselwood lined up in the slot, ran a post and scored a touchdown on a 22-yard catch with 3 seconds to go in the game. That tied the score, then Cedar Grove went on to make the extra point, giving the Saints a 14-13 lead over Peach County.
If you look at the stats, you would think the five-star wide receiver didn't stand out. But if you watched the game, then you know he did. He made a couple of big tackles at safety, including one hit that caused a fumble. He had the kickoff return of 60 yards with less than a minute to go that set up that winning drive — making guys miss, hurdling over defenders while crossing midfield.
His shoes were the talk of the day for the first 59-plus minutes of the game, but in the end Haselwood showed why he is a highly ranked prospect that Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma and Tennessee are fighting for.
Haselwood will announce his decision at the All-American Bowl on Jan. 5.
FUTURE GOPHERS SHINE
Minnesota had not one, but two commits playing for state titles this week, and both won. And both played big roles on the defensive line in their team’s victories.
The first to play was Rashad Cheney, a former Alabama and Georgia commit. He committed to the Gophers during his official visit last weekend. He was strong up front all game. He was in the backfield often, finishing with seven tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack. Griffin is labeled as a tweener by some, but he could be moved around the defensive front on the next level.
Cedar Grove won 14-13 in dramatic fashion over Peach County, and Cheney played a big role in that.
A lot of recruiting fans know about Cheney, but DeAngelo Griffin (now Carter) deserves to be talked about a lot more. Lee County shut out Northside Warner Robins 14-0, and Griffin (Carter) was disruptive all evening.
The Minnesota commit finished with five tackles, three-and-a-half tackles for loss and two-and-a-half sacks. He accounted for the opponent losing 27 yards. He lined up at defensive end in the three-man front, and his quickness stood out all night. He is agile for his size, and it was on display.
Ideally, Griffin (Carter) is an interior defensive lineman at his size (6-1, 295 pounds), but he showed Tuesday night that he can move. Do not be surprised if some other schools check on him as we approach the Early Signing Period after that performance. He has been committed to Minnesota since June.
VOLS COMMIT WAS VERY DISRUPTIVE
Who knows where Roman Harrison will play on the next level. That is a question Jeremy Pruitt and his staff will have to figure out, but the Vols could have found a diamond in the rough.
Harrison is a 6-2, 240-pound athlete with long arms and quickness who plays nose guard for Bainbridge. The Bearcats finished 5-5 in the regular season, but went on a five-game winning streak in the playoffs to win a state title. After three overtime periods, Bainbridge beat Warner Robins 47-41 Tuesday evening. Harrison was a big reason why.
He was almost unstoppable. Warner Robins tried to block him with two offensive linemen all night, but did not have much success. He was constantly pressuring the quarterback and getting into the backfield. He flashed quickness off the ball and a spin move that the opponent had no answer for. Playing interior defensive line, Harrison finished with seven tackles and a sack. He had over half a dozen pressures, too.
One of the biggest plays in the game was when Bainbridge blocked a field goal at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime. Harrison was in the backfield immediately.
The question will remain about what position Harrison settles in to. Some feel he is a stand-up linebacker who can rush the passer. Some feel he will add weight and become a defensive end that plays with his hand in the dirt. There are even some who feel Harrison could push 300 pounds and be a quick interior lineman. It will be fun to watch as he develops on the next level, but this can be said with certainty: Tennessee found a good one.
OHIO STATE COMMIT DOES IT ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL
Steele Chambers may not have put up gaudy numbers, and he may not have had a lot of breakaway runs, but the Ohio State commit was a top performer on the biggest stage. For the second season in a row, Blessed Trinity won a state title, and Chambers was a big reason why.
He hardly ever left the field. Chambers was the leader on defense, finishing with five tackles and a tackle for loss. He was used to blitz off the edge, he made some big solo tackles and he was very active all night.
On offense, Chambers carried the ball 22 times for 100 yards, and they were 100 tough yards. He was grinding through arm tackles, falling forward and moving the chains in key situations.
Chambers did not score the touchdowns for his team in this contest, but his number was called often - and he produced. Staying on the field, delivering on both sides of the ball and leading his team to back-to-back state titles was impressive.
2022 ATHLETE TO KNOW
What a game it was. Bainbridge beat Warner Robins 47-41 after three overtime periods Tuesday, and Deyon Bouie was a big part of that.
Oh yeah, Bouie is a freshman.
Bouie is a 6-1, 170-pound athlete who started at cornerback and played some wide receiver and on special teams. We never want to say too much, too early, but Bouie has a chance to be an elite prospect in the 2022 class.
Tennessee was the first to offer him over the summer. Bouie is teammates with Tennessee 2019 commit Roman Harrison, and they were at camp together when Bouie earned the offer. He said Georgia and Oregon have offered in the last week. Expect many more to follow.
Early in the second half, Bouie intercepted a pass and took it back 30 yards for a touchdown. He added half a dozen tackles and a tackle for loss.
YATES IS MORE THAN A RUNNER
You have to respect Jordan Yates’ legs, but you better respect his arm, too. Many have looked at Yates as an option quarterback because he does run, and he committed to Georgia Tech when Paul Johnson was the head coach running the option offense.
There is more to Yates than that.
There were a lot of college coaches on the sideline Wednesday, and quite a few were talking about his arm, touch and composure as a passer.
As expected, it wasn’t just his arm that impressed. He made a lot of plays. He scrambled, he ran with toughness, he made things happen when plays broke down. Yates could attract a lot of attention because of the coaching change on the Flats.
Milton defeated Colquitt County 14-13, and Yates had 177 yards passing and 119 yards rushing. He is a dual-threat quarterback who can make plays through the air and on the ground. Yates has received an offer from Cincinnati since Johnson stepped down, and adding other new offers would not come as a surprise.
Yates said he is still unsure whether he will sign with Georgia Tech next week.