Recruit's Been Double Trouble for Opponents

Defensive tackle Josh Chapman talks about his team's state playoff matchup against Vestavia Hills and his strong play this season.

Hoover, Ala.—Coming into the 2006 football season much of the talk surrounding Hoover's defensive line centered on big Kerry Murphy. With the Bucs preparing to face Vestavia Hills this Friday night in a rematch of an earlier meeting it is Auburn commitment Josh Chapman who has become the dominating force for Hoover's defense as the Bucs work towards what they hope will be their fifth consecutive state championship.

Heading into Friday night's contest Chapman has been better than advertised for the 12-1 Bucs. Second on the team in tackles with 87, the 6-1, 280 Chapman has fought through constant double teams to do his damage in the middle. He's also done his fare share of damage in the backfield as well with a team-high 17 tackles for a loss.

Position coach Chris Davis says that Chapman's play has been extraordinary this season because of the attention he's received in the middle of the Hoover defense.

"This is my last year and I'm trying to leave it all on the line," Chapman tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I know what it means to play for Hoover. All of the players that come back tell me about how big this year is. I know I'm going to end up missing this because playing in college won't be anything like playing in high school so I'm just trying to lay it on the line."

Chapman is likely to get all the attention he wants this week with the powerful Rebels coming to The Hoover Met to face the Bucs for the right to play for the Class 6A title next week at Legion Field. In the first meeting Vestavia held the lead for a good portion of the game before Hoover escaped with a 28-24 victory on the road. This time the game is at home, but Chapman expects the same type of battle.

"We're looking forward to it," Chapman says. "Vestavia is a rival for us. Most people consider other schools our rival like Spain Park, but it's not a rival unless someone beats you. Vestavia always plays you hard. They may not have as many athletes. They have probably one guy that is being recruited, but they play their guts out because they've been raised to be a Rebel from youth leagues on up. They always play us hard."

Chapman is a big athlete who tested out very well this summer at several camps and combines.

On a roll heading into the game, Hoover has dominated its opposition in the first three weeks of the playoffs, winning 44-0 over Pell City, 31-0 over Thompson and last week 37-14 against Homewood. Chapman says the veterans on this team have the Bucs ready to finish out the year on a high note.

"We feel pretty good about where we are, but we know we can get better every game," Chapman says. "We're feeling pretty good about our team. Everybody is sticking together and pulling close with one another."

The Thompson game was a special one for Chapman and Davis alike. As Chapman's position coach Davis says, his play against the Warriors that night was one of the better games he's seen out of a defensive tackle. Finishing with 12 tackles Chapman completely dominated the line of scrimmage to help Hoover to the victory.

"When we played Thompson we had a special game plan for those guys," Chapman says. "Me and the other defensive tackle Andrew White (junior), he has played real good and stepped it up since Kerry got hurt and stepped right into the shoes we needed him to fill, we were making a lot of plays."

Saying he's hoping to schedule his official visit for the second week in January, Chapman and fellow Hoover Buc and Auburn commitment Ryan Pugh are busy working on several teammates to try to get them to Auburn as well. One of those is Murphy, but Chapman says they're not pushing real hard because in the end it has to be his own decision.

"We have a lot of players here that are being recruited," Chapman says. "We don't really try to persuade anybody to go, but of course we want all of the guys to come play with us at Auburn. It's all up to Kerry where he wants to go. Nobody knows where he wants to go except for him."

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