Prospects Bountiful At Opelika Jamboree

While they didn't play as much as everyone would have liked Thursday night, several future stars were on display at Opelika's Bulldog Stadium.

Opelika, ala.--In one of the top football jamborees in the South this year, the Opelika Bulldogs played host to the Prattville Lions and the Hoover Bucs Thursday night in a showcase of 6A football in Alabama.

All three are ranked in the preseason top five in their classification and the occasion gave each coaching staff a chance to work out some of the kinks on their teams heading into the opening of the season next week.

Host Opelika features big fullback/defensive tackle Tez Doolittle. A 6-3, 255 mountain of a player, Doolittle uses better than 4.8 speed in the 40-yard dash to dominate games from his fullback position. He will also see time at defensive tackle for the speedy Bulldogs this season. Thursday night he was rather quiet in his limited time on the field with four carries for just six yards in one half of football against Hoover.

While Doolittle has been the most talked about Bulldog of the preseason, safety Montavian Collier could be a well-known name for college recruiters before the season is done. A basketball player by background, Collier returned to the football field this spring for the first time since the ninth grade and hasn't come off the field on defense since then. At 6-2, 211 pounds with 4.5 speed, Collier can be an imposing figure from the free safety spot as both a hitter and physical presence. Surprisingly, he plays the pass like a seasoned veteran as he showed Thursday night with two interceptions in the first half of football against Hoover. The second he returned 75 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the scrimmage.

Collier (9) talks to junior defensive back Jeremy Gray (8) as the Bulldogs break the huddle Thursday night. Collier is being recruited by several schools around the South after putting on on impressive performance at this year's Jackson Hospital Capitol City Combine.

Most who follow in-state football recruiting know about Hoover receiver Chad Jackson, but they might not have known him Thursday night. Normally number one, he wore number eight because of a problem with his jersey. That didn't help to hide him too much though as he caught three passes for nearly 100 yards and two touchdowns while working with mostly the second offensive unit for Hoover Thursday. The 6-2, 200-pound Jackson is clearly one of the better high school receivers in the entire country and is looking at several schools in the South, including Auburn. Right now the top competition appears to be Florida with Alabama and others in the running.

In a photo taken during his junior season in a game vs. Mountain Brook, Chad Jackson prepares to throw a double pass down the field. Jackson and fellow in-state standouts Jayson Swain and Matt Caddell are considered among the top receivers in the South.

Jackson's teammate, cornerback Labrose Hedgemon, is one of the top prospects in Alabama as well this season. A classic cover corner at just 5-9, Hedgemon has a great feel for the ball in the air and is super fast in pads. He is currently looking at Auburn along with other schools in the South.

Prattville, after turning out a strong senior class of players last season including Auburn's Will Ward, is in the process of reloading this season. With just 15 seniors on the team, the coaching staff used Thursday night as a chance to get some of the younger players some much needed playing time. Three players who stood out and will be names to watch in the future are fullback Ty Griswold, defensive end Kevin Hamilton and tight end Travis Mcall. All three are juniors.

Prattville defensive end Kevin Hamilton will be one of the top juniors in Alabama this season.


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