Counting down to the state's top athletes, part II

It's a talent-rich year in the state of Alabama, and some experts predict as many as 50 players could sign Division 1A scholarships. <I>BamaMag.com</I> continues its countdown of the state's Top Thirty athletes. <br><br>Today, numbers 11 through 20.

# 20, Michael Jamar, Linebacker

6-3, 205, 4.55, Huntsville, Alabama, Butler High School

Michael Jamar

A powerful force at linebacker Jamar meant as much to the defense at Butler as teammate, Kenneth Darby (2001 Alabama signee) did to the offense. He is an enforcer who attacks blockers and sheds them with ease.

Jamar has great speed to the outside and was credited with 143 tackles and 25 sacks as a junior.

He was very impressive at the Nike camp in Tuscaloosa and his workout has landed him on several pre-season All America teams. Jamar loves the weight room and has terrific strength.

He lists Alabama as his leader followed by Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State, Arkansas, and Southern Miss.

# 19, Demarcus Waldrop, Safety

6-0, 195, 4.40, Pinson, Alabama, Pinson Valley High School

Demarcus Waldrop

A four year starter in high school, Waldrop is a one man wrecking crew on defense, finishing his junior campaign with 142 total tackles, nine sacks, and two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns. He plays linebacker in high school, but Waldrop projects as a strong safety/rover on the college level.

Clocked at 10.7 for the hundred meters (electronically timed), Waldrop is a talented pass defender. He consistently runs a 22.0 or faster 200 meter time.

Waldrop has camped at Florida State, Ole Miss, Auburn, and the Nike (Tuscaloosa) camp this summer.

He carries a 3.3 overall GPA and has made 19 on the ACT. Waldrop is strongly considering Alabama (offered), Florida State, Auburn, Ole Miss, Florida, and Mississippi State.

# 18, Brett Byford, Offensive Line

6-4, 275, 4.90, Hartselle, Alabama, Hartselle High School

A top notch offensive lineman who averaged five pancake blocks per game Byford excels at drive blocking, pass blocking, and he can also pull on sweeps.

Byford is a good all-around athlete, starting at shortstop for his high school baseball team. He was selected his teams most valuable offensive lineman as a junior after grading 87% blocking efficiency in a very strict system.

Rated a solid prospect by the recruiting gurus, Byford is still being evaluated by the Tide staff. Byford lists Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Stanford, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt as schools he's interested in.

# 17, Eric Gray, Cornerback

5-11, 180, 4.50, Trinity, Alabama, West Morgan High School

Eric Gray

A special player that is so talented that they created a position of defensive athlete to make sure he made the All State Team, Gray shared the backfield with Chauncey Malone (2001 Alabama signee slated to attend Hinds Junior College) his entire high school career so far. But his senior year the spotlight will become his sole property.

Gray had a stellar junior campaign that really caught the eyes of many college scouts across the south. He could be a tailback in a one-back set, or he could beef up and play fullback. Plus, Gray could play either safety or the cornerback position on defense.

He sports a 35-inch vertical jump which will allow him to defend and jump with any receiver in the South.

Gray camped at Auburn and attended the Alabama Team camp.

Alabama is a big leader, but Ole Miss and Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Arkansas have outside shots.

# 16, Tyrone Prothro, Athlete

5-10, 175, 4.44, Heflin, Alabama, Cleburne County High School

In a year when the state is loaded with game breakers, Prothro may be the most elusive and dangerous player of them all. He is gifted enough to play running back, receiver, or cornerback in college.

Prothro had 152 carries for 1031 yards and 11 Tds rushing, and he grabbed 27 passes for 508 yards and six Tds. He also had a combined 32 punt/kickoff returns for 804 yards and five Tds. That totals 22 touchdowns in all, plus he even threw for a touchdown in the state championship game.

On defense, Prothro averaged only three plays per game, yet he finished with six interceptions as a junior.

Prothro is a very powerful and strong player for his size and, he also sports a 39-inch vertical jump.

His best friend is Todd Bates who plays at Alabama. Prothro lists his favorites as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, and Florida State.

# 15, Chris Felder, Cornerback

5-11, 167, 4.49, Thomasville, Alabama, Thomasville High School

Chris Felder

A first team Class 4A All State selection and also an All Area pick as a junior, Felder was asked to play quarterback for his school due to the fact that he is the best athlete on the team. He responded with 224 yards rushing and three TDs, while passing for 664 yards with seven Tds. He also returned one kickoff for a touchdown.

On the college level Felder's future appears to be at cornerback, where he showed quickness out of the break, good make up speed, and a willingness to come up and make tackles. On defense he totaled 53 tackles with two interceptions.

Felder has already committed to sign with the Tide, following his uncle, Shannon Felder, and his former teammate, Anthony Madison, to Alabama.

Felder camped at Alabama as a junior and he was offered on junior night at the school. He committed on the spot.

# 14, Terrence Jones, Linebacker

6-1, 201, 4.50, Northport, Alabama, Tuscaloosa County High School

Terrence Jones

Voted the Most Valuable Defensive Player each of the last two seasons, Jones led the team in tackles both years. He is very active from his inside linebacker slot and he is fast enough to disrupt sweeps and passes to the outside.

He was selected first team All State and All West Alabama after a junior season in which he had 110 tackles and seven sacks.

This season he'll also get some work on offense at tailback.

Nicknamed "Red," Jones is favoring Alabama over LSU, Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Georgia Tech.

# 13, Mitchell Thomas, Linebacker

6-2, 215, 4.49, Smiths, Alabama, Smiths Station High School

Mitchell Thomas

A pre-season candidate for top linebacker in Alabama, Thomas is instinctive, aggressive, and intense.

Thomas starred at tailback last season and also runs track for his school. He runs the 55 meters in 6.95 seconds and placed 8th in the state in that event.

It's possible that he and teammate Michael Hill (a defensive lineman) will choose to sign with the same college team.

Thomas is expressing interest in Alabama (offered), Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Auburn, and Florida.

# 12, Justin Moon, Offensive Tackle

6-6 1/2, 295, 5.28, Guntersville, Alabama, Guntersville High School

Justin Moon

A highly motivated and dedicated player, Moon worked extremely hard over the summer to improve his game. He plays right tackle and has a reputation for staying low, getting tremendous leverage, and showcasing great footwork.

Moon is quick enough to handle most defensive ends and has a 21" vertical jump.

He made All County and All Region as a junior.

Moon carries a 3.7 GPA and took the ACT in February.

Playing for Alabama had always been a dream of Moon's, and when the Tide offered he committed quickly.

# 11, William Roach, Wide Receiver

6-1, 196, 4.55, Killen, Alabama, Brooks High School

Another athletic quarterback who will likely move to receiver or defensive back in college, Roach is a slashing runner who was very hard to sack due to his elusiveness.

Roach is the brother of Freddie Roach (linebacker at Alabama), Tim Bowens (formerly at Alabama), and Quentin Bowens (former Alabama signee). He is considered the best athlete of all his brothers.

Roach tore his MCL in the first quarter of the first game his junior season and had to miss all but the final five games of the year. However, his production in that short time was remarkable.

Despite the injury, Roach made the All County and Honorable Mention All State teams.

Roach lists Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. He's said to like Tennessee, but sources close to him indicate he could just as easily end up at Alabama.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Look for the conclusion of BamaMag.com's Top 30 list in coming days, as we count down to the best athletes in the state this season.


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