Friday Night Lights has had long history with successful Coach Rush Propst

Friday Night Lights checks out some top prospects in Georgia

ROSWELL, Ga. – Rush Propst knows talent. The former Hoover and current Colquitt County (Ga.) coach has sent guys like John Parker Wilson, Josh Chapman, and many others off to college football and, in several cases, to the NFL. Propst has always been a great friend to this column, and despite his team’s tough 0-4 start, was quite forthcoming when talking about several prospects. More on that later.

Propst and his Packers defeated Roswell 30-13 last December for the 2015 GHSAA 6A title. The rematch was one the home standing Hornets had been waiting on since then, and Roswell downed the Packers and Propst, 34-3.  That 30-game win streak CCHS had coming in to the year is an afterthought. To the categories:

TOP PROSPECT: Once committed to the Crimson Tide, Roswell safety Xavier McKinney is coveted by a number of D-1 programs.

Said Hornets Coach John Ford:  “He’s a voracious worker. He works hard in the off-season on his craft, his speed, strength, and agility.”

Added the always candid Propst: “I think he’s a great athlete, but we took advantage of him last year in the state championship game and made him uncomfortable in some things he was doing. Jeremy (Pruitt, Alabama defensive coordinator) and I have talked, and I don’t know if Alabama still wants him, or not. I know Kirby (Smart, Georgia head coach) is back in on him.”

McKinney, Scout’s no. 17 safety, is primarily considering South Carolina, Ohio State, Clemson, Auburn, and Georgia. He was spotted on local TV highlights recently returning a kickoff for six points. Make no mistake about it: he can play. He is also a talented punt returner.

SENIORS WHO SHINED: Roswell quarterback Malik Willis (6-2, 188) is a first-year starter already pledged to Virginia Tech. Running back Sheldon Evans (5-10, 188) made all-state as a junior. He has offers from Arkansas State, South Alabama, Georgia Southern, Middle Tennessee, and many others.  West Virginia leads for 6-2, 207-pound wideout Jayden Comma, while corner LeAnthony Williams (6-0, 177) is firmly committed to Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers. This is a talented, senior-laden squad at Roswell.

For the Packers, the top senior prospect is safety Shawn Shamburger (6-0, 190), who is Scout’s no. 21 guy at his position nationally. He is leaning to Auburn, but Florida and South Alabama among others are in the mix here.

JUNIORS TO WATCH: Propst has an outside linebacker named JJ Peterson who is 6-2, 203 and plays sideline to sideline. Propst said, “He’s a great athlete. There’s nothing he can’t do. I’ve had three Parade All Americans, and he’s as good as anybody I’ve ever coached.” 

Added Ford: “(Peterson) is outstanding and he’s one of the best players in the state of Georgia in his defensive class. He’s got a motor, he plays hard with great agility and great speed and strength, and he can play a bunch of different positions.”

Schools in the running for Peterson include Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Clemson. It’s a list that will grow. He is Scout’s no. 4 outside linebacker. He will have options. Many.  Unofficially, he had ten stops, four tackles for loss, and three sacks. Suffice it to say Pruitt knows about Peterson.

For the Hornets, tight end Tyneil Hopper is a rangy target at 6-3, 215, but will need to put on weight to play SEC football. Said Ford: “He’s strong, he’s got length, and he’s going to keep growing into his frame. He’s almost 6-4, and he’s got freaky hands; just absurd hands.” Schools involved with Hopper at this point include Alabama, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. He was open once for six on a corner route, but Willis overthrew him. He is an effective seal blocker in the Hornets’ running game.

SUPER SOPHS:  Definitely keep an ear out for Colquitt County’s Ty Leggett (5-10, 172). He’s part of the future for Propst, as is his freshman teammate Daijun Edward, who is quick and tough at 5-11, 195.

HOW ‘BOUT THEM BURGERS: Well, they were hot and fresh off the grill, but a bit over-cooked to suit my taste. Also, let’s get some mayo on the condiment table, please and thanks.

HOW ‘BOUT THAT MEATLOAF:  Avondale Estates, Ga., is home to Our Way Café, a classic “meat-and-three” home cooking joint on East College Avenue, just down the street from the Waffle House Museum (you can’t make it up). Regulars at Our Way have several favorites, including tender pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce and classic baked chicken. I like both, but my favorite is the meat loaf topped with tomato sauce. It goes well with mashed potatoes and gravy, butter beans, and/or green beans. The meat loaf is delectable, tender, and comes in a hearty serving. The corn bread and sweet tea are spot on, too. Busboy Al always has a kind word for guests, especially the regulars. He works for tips, too.  I highly recommend this place. Let’s work on not over-cooking that gravy, though.

NEXT UP: My alma mater, Stone Mountain, broke an over-a-year losing streak last week by thumping rival Clarkston. My Pirates chances are not good when they travel to Pace Academy, which features talented junior offensive guard Jamaree Salyer along with a pair of SEC-committed senior linemen.  Burger and restaurant reviews will continue, as they will all year, since FNL 2016 is hitting new stadiums almost every week.

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