Growing Commit List Is Turning Out Big Games

A weekly update on the senior seasons of AU's football commitments for the class of 2006 is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn picked up two new commitments in the past week to push the total number of high school players who have pledged to sign with the Tigers to 13, which is an unusually high number for the first week of October.

However, the good thing for the Tigers is that along with quantity, the early returns from their senior seasons suggests that there is also a lot of quality among the ever growing group of commits.

A player who is making more and more big plays each week is Snow Hill High's Benjamin Tate. The explosive back is absolutely tearing up the Bayside Conference and is shredding opposing defenses each time he gets his hands on the football.

This past weekend, in a 64-6 win at Washington High, Tate again put on a show carrying the ball only seven times, but for a ridiculous 202 yards, which averages out to 28.8 yards per carry, and three touchdowns.

For the season the talented back has rushed the ball 38 times for 778 yards, which is 20.47 yards per carry. He has also scored nine rushing touchdowns, a receiving touchdown and has a TD on an interception return.

Another skill player who has been a terror to opposing defenses the last couple of weeks is Peach County's Chris Slaughter. The talented receiver, who is also deadly on special teams, has been making teams pay almost every time he has touched the ball in his last two games.

After scoring all four TDs and pulling down all 156 of Peach's receiving yards last week, Slaughter was at it again in a big 40-37 overtime win vs. regional opponent Washington County.

The 6-3, 170-pounder hauled in three of Peach County's five receptions on the night for 153 of 191 passing yards and caught TD passes of 13 and 85 yards. He also hurt Washington in the kicking game as well when he returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.

The Tigers' newest commitment has also had a strong impact for his team this season. 6-1, 189, WR Terrell Zachery and his Wadley Bulldog are off to a 6-0 start and are ranked onr in Alabama's 1A classification.

Through those six games, the speedy receiver, who also plays a big role on special teams and defense for the Bulldogs, has caught 24 passes for 520 yards, which is an average of 21.7 yards per reception, and has scored six times.

Terrell Zachery, who is the Tigers' most recent commitment, is closing in on the career record for receiving yards in the state of Alabama.

Quarterback commitment Steven Ensminger has been solid and steady in leading his West Monroe team to four straight wins. This week in a 45-6 thumping of district foe Natchitoches Central, Ensminger was 8-12 passing for 126 yards with three TD passes. The quick and agile QB also added another score on the ground for the Rebels.

After a big win over rival Ribault High last week, First Coast high kept the winning streak alive with a victory over Englewood. However, unlike last week when the passing game was a non-factor, Alex Rose was able to play a much larger part in the action this time around. The 6-2, 177-pound receiver caught two touchdown passes for his team in the 34-12 victory.

On the defensive side of things, Bart Eddins was able to help Trinity Presbyterian get back to its winning ways with a 17-6 upset win over fourth-ranked Geneva. In the win, which pushes Trinity's record to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the region, Eddins recorded nine tackles and three sacks.

Through six games the 6-4, 260-pounder has recorded 39 total tackles from his defensive tackle position, which is second on the team behind linebacker Penton Shook. He also has nine sacks for 40 yards in losses, which leads the team, and has recovered two fumbles and blocked a field goal.

Another defensive commitment, linebacker Hendrick Leverette, is also helping lead his team to great results in 2005. Leverette, who filled in very well at running back for the first few games of the season due to an injury to the team's starter, is back to playing defense for the 5th-ranked team in Mississippi's 5A classification.

The 4-0 Warriors got another big win on Friday night pounding Jackson Wingfield 62-16, in their region opener. In last week's 35-14 win over Clinton, Leverette recorded 12 tackles from his linebacker position. This week, although he has not gotten the official stats yet, he believes he had between 10-15 tackles and forced a fumble.

Hendrick Leverette is racking up tackles for his Oak Grove team despite not playing deep into games because his team's wins are usually blowouts.

Things have just not been able to get on track for Zaccheus Etheridge's Charles Henderson team this season. A week after falling just short of a huge upset of 6A power Enterprise in overtime, the Trojans went on the road against a young Booker T. Washington team, but couldn't make the plays when they counted and fell 23-21 to the Eagles. Etheridge, who has been making a solid impact for the Trojans in the rotation at running back along with on defense, added another touchdown in the ground game on an eight-yard run in the loss.

Lovejoy High's Mario Fannin was unable to play this week in a 26-7 loss to Fayette County and that certainly showed in the Wildcats' offensive production. However, the multi-talented athlete says he is healing well following an ankle sprain he suffered in the second half of last week's loss to Starr's Mill, and notes that he should be able to suit up again this Saturday against Union Grove. In the shortened effort against Starr's Mill, Fannin says he was able to rush for 156 yards on 17 carries and hit 9-18 passes for 87 yards and a TD.

Three defensive linemen round out the pack of AU commitments, including one of the Tigers' two latest commitments, Opelika High's Zach Clayton, and all three were able to help lead their teams to big wins over the weekend.

Kareem Crowell helped his Godby High team, who beat district rival Rickards High 35-21, move its record to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the district. Greg Smith and his Northeast Mississippi Community College team moved their record to 2-0 on Thursday night with a huge 41-0 win over Itawamba Community College, and Clayton helped plug the middle for Opelika to help keep the Bulldogs undefeated and rolling at 6-0 with a monster 56-0 win over a Smiths Station team that is not as undermanned as that score might indicate.

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