Winning four state titles at Leeds before moving to Pell City this year, veteran high school coach Keith Etheridge has seen his fair share of talented prospects along the way. On Saturday he had the opportunity to coach the linebackers for Team Alabama in a victory over Mississippi at Cramton Bowl in the annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game.
Working with the group throughout the week, Etheridge said Auburn commitments K.J. Britt and Tadarian Moultry, Tennessee commitment Will Ignont, four-star Thomas Johnston and the rest of the group really floored him with how well they performed.
In particular Etheridge said that Coach Travis Williams is getting a special pair of players when Britt and Moultry get on campus.
“Every year they are good, but this was a real good group,” the veteran coach said. “Some guys that are real raw and learned a lot this week, and some guys that just knew exactly where they were going and always in the right spot. From top to bottom this is a great group of 'backers, a great group.
“They are going a lot of different places, but I really feel like Auburn has got a great group coming in. They can fly, they play hard, they are very coachable. It’s going to be pretty good down on the Plains for the next four years.”
Showing speed and physicality at the linebacker position all week, Moultry showed up as a pass rusher as well in Saturday’s game with one sack and what should have been another on an obvious intentional grounding that was waved off. With upside galore and a love for the game, Moultry is a player who Auburn is going to love said Etheridge.
“He has a motor that does not stop,” Etheridge said of Moultry. “The only thing that stops him is that he gets winded. We get him out, but when he goes back in he’s 100 MPH. We brought him off the edge and you can see that he created havoc. The thing is you can line him up at linebacker too and he does a good job of reading.
“He was one of our better guys at picking up backs out of the backfield this week. His speed is unbelievable for a kid his size. He’s got so much explosion when he comes off the ball that it’s hard for a tackle to get back and get to him.”
K.J. Britt is from Oxford High School.
A classic inside linebacker, Britt has been a big hitter since he first starting playing at Oxford High and that continued on Saturday, including a huge hit and forced fumble on the Mississippi quarterback. Etheridge said he sees a player who should be a leader for the Tigers for years to come.
“He’s a vocal guy,” Etheridge said of Britt. “He’s a guy that can get people lined up. He runs to the football and he comes with malice. He’s coming to hit you and tear you apart. He’s just a great kid, a great personality. He’s been great to have in the locker room. He keeps everybody up and everybody on their toes and has a good time.”