The Grey Knights

After being part of a defense that guided Atlanta (Ga.) Grady to a 13-1 mark in its best season in 52 years, linebacker Brandon Thurmond (6-2, 196, 4.6) and defensive end Tony Bryant (6-3, 225, 4.6) will be checking out Arkansas this weekend with numerous other prospects.

The University of Arkansas football program heads into the weekend with 13 verbal commitments in its 2006 recruiting class, but is expected to add several more by the time the weekend is over.

Some 18 prospects are expected in today through Sunday for official visits with Ashdown wide receiver Dee Williams 6-3, 201) and Rosenberg (Texas) Terry safety Adrian Davis(6-4, 195, 4.6) both stating that they are likely to give the Razorbacks a pledge while on the visit.

One of the others who could be pulling the trigger this weekend is Atlanta (Ga.) Grady defender Brandon Thurmond (6-2, 200, 4.6), who is coming off a 2005 season in which he had 117 tackles and over 20 sacks while playing defensive end for the Grey Knights.

"Brandon has great speed and heart and just flies to the football and tries to make every play from sideline to sideline," Grady head coach Ronnie Millen said. "His biggest asset is his desire to be in on every play and he never ever takes one off."

Thurmond, who visited Kentucky last weekend, will play outside linebacker in college and is visiting this weekend along with Grady defensive end Tony Bryant (6-3, 225, 4.6).

"We're really looking forward to getting up there," Thurmond said. "Arkansas had a lot of offer and I have a lot of respect for their coaches and their program."

Thurmond, who has a 3.3 grade point average and has scored 1,040 on his SAT, first heard from Arkansas back in early November and has been recruited by Arkansas assistant Tracy Rocker.

"They told me they had seen some tape on me and really liked what they had seen," Thurmond said. "Then they called me back in early December as we were in the playoffs and said we want to offer you a scholarship.

"I was pretty pumped about that offer and it made me play even harder and then the Kentucky one came in and several other schools started showing interest," Thurmond said. "It's something I take very seriously because I want to be the best I can be in the field and in the classroom and make the best situation for myself."

Thurmond, who recovered five fumbles and caused two more and was named to the first-team all-city squad, said his Kentucky visit was nice.

"I enjoyed it," Thurmond said. "It was more about fhe football side than the academics side. I think Arkansas is going to be more about both and I am looking forward to that."

Grady had a perfect 13-0 season golng and reached the Class AA state playoff semifinals for the first time since 1953 before losing 42-20 to Calhoun in the Georgia Dome, who also entered the game 13-0.

It was a year in which Grady absorbed several players from former rival Crim, when the school shut down.

"We had a great season, all came together and I tried to be a leader for our team on and off the field," Thurmond said. "I tried to get out defense to play every play and not take any off and for the most part that happened in every game. I think some of the guys did let the emormity of being in the Georgia Dome get to them a little bit."

The Grey Knights became a highlighted team in Atlanta, spinning their own version of Remember The Titans and putting out a defense that did not allow more than 14 points until the last game.

"We did become the talk of the town and all the other city schools were rooting for us against the outsiders," Thurmond said. "We had former players coming back and it was a just a wonderful deal for all of us."

Thurmond, a 300-meter hurdles champ, will be putting on about 20-30 pounds once he gets to college.

"The fact that he has that speed and that desire, if they get him up their and put that weight and strength on him, " Millen said, "he could end up being a guy that plays on Sundays. He's that good."

Byrant (6-3, 225, 4.6) had 84 tackles and 9 sacks this season despite not being able to play defense for five games and only playing on the offensive line because of a finger injury.

"He was an asset on both sides of the ball for us this season and I think he can play either place in college," Millen said. "He is a big strong kid who plays with great tenacity and is going to be a very good college player."

Bryant played football his sophomore season, but concentrated just on basketball as a junior.

"Then he came to realize there aren't many 6-3 power forwards in either college on the NBA and he would be better off playing football," Millen said. "So he came back out this season, bought into what we are doing and just had a tremendous year and made himself into a college prospect."

Tony Bryant

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