Just off the shores of gorgeous Lake Sinclair, approximately 90 miles southeast of Atlanta, sits Georgia Military College, a small junior college with loads of football talent from Ohio to Virginia to Florida. This is a team that could beat a number of Division I football programs.
More important than the score or the game will be the GMC standouts BYU will be recruiting; or the GMC players that are interested in being recruited by BYU.
I watched GMC's game last week against Valdosta State's junior varsity team. It was no contest and GMC pummeled Valdosta State 56-3. With the number of walking wounded on BYU's team at recent year highs, you might expect a similar result against the injury-plagued Cougars.
Todd Bradford, BYU's Co-Offensive Coordinator, arranged the game against this Georgia team he had been recruiting players from while a coach at Middle Tennessee State. I understand why. After watching this team and coaches, they are a well coached, disciplined team with intense players and coaches, impeccably good manners and great lovers of good football.
Will BYU offer any of these standout players? I don't know, but I can tell you some of them will definitely be playing for major Division I football schools year next year.
GMC runs the same 3-3-5 base defense as BYU. Most of the GMC players don't know much about BYU, other than it is a religious-affiliated college that is traditionally offensive-oriented. They also know about Steve Young. I asked the GMC players that if offered a scholarship to play Division I football in the West, would they go? All answered without hesitation, "Yes, sir." Remember, these are military guys, very structured in their answers, with no equivocation.
Here is my recruiting breakdown of the GMC team by class.
DEMETRIUS HODGES, a GMC cornerback, has already verbally committed to Virginia Tech.
TIM AUTRY, Uncommitted: A 6-0, 215-pound defensive back. Autry reportedly has 4.3-4.4 forty speed and it showed. He hits hard and has great lateral quickness. Smart "angling moves" (instincts) to the ball. He reminds me a little of Norm Nixon, BYU defensive back on the 1990-1991 teams, though quicker and slightly shorter. Tim has received primary recruiting attention from Louisiana State, Memphis and Middle Tennessee State. He wears No. 24 and is from Daphne, AL.
Gavin Willingham, Uncommitted: A 6-2, 195-pound defensive back. Gavin runs a 4.5 forty. He is currently playing with a cast on his wrist-forearm, but he still plays the middle like he owns it (think Francisco). He's the DOG or Cougarback on the team. Gavin is also being recruited by the same schools as Autry. Willingham and Autry seem to hang together on the sidelines, so you get the sense they may end up at the same school. They both have the talent to "go together" in a package deal, if you will. Gavin wears No. 22 and is from Hepzibah, GA.
Adrian Holloway, Uncommitted: A 6-2, 190-pound wide receiver. Fast, but not Soelberg speed. Runs a 4.5 forty. Runs precise routes and has great hands. What I like most is he has a serious attitude (intense) and has long arms with great leaping ability. Not reticent or fearless across the middle. Adrian wears No. 18 and is from Fort Myers, FL.
Bryan Belvin, Uncommitted: A 6-2, 215-pound outside linebacker. Fast with 4.4 forty speed and probably the best blitzer on the team. Contacted by about 10 colleges, but no firm offers yet. Brian wears No. 20 and is from Bradenton, FL.
Merci Falaise, Uncommitted: A 6-5, 315-pound offensive tackle. Excellent pass protection skills with quick feet and a very smart player. No one got by him all night. Recruited by Clemson, Kentucky and Kansas. Merci wears No. 69 and is from Washington, GA.
WAYMON FORD: A 5-11, 170 pound cornerback and kick returner. He ran a 92 kickoff return for a touchdown last week. He is a great looking athlete with a tremendous attitude and intensity. All I can say is "Wow" in describing Ford. This kid has serious talent. Runs a 4.3 forty and generally locked down his side of the field as a starting freshmen corner opposite Virginia Tech bound Hodges. He is a shorter and faster version of Jernaro Gilford. He wants to play, hit and run. If I were a college recruiter, I'd be talking to this kid NOW! Waymon wears No. 19 and is from Suwanee, FL.
MICHAEL STURGIS: A 6-0, 180-pound defensive back. Sturgis is very quick and has a nose for the ball carrier. Closes very quickly. Hits harder than his weight would indicate. Flies all over the field and is fearless. Michael wears No. 15 and is from Fort Myers, FL.
JARVIS WILLIAMS: A 5-9, 190-pound starting tailback who is very quick. Not certain about final stats, but he gained between 150-200 yards rushing. A bruiser for his size. A combination of Whalen and Brathwaite. Very low body "lean." Hard to get to his legs and tackle. Very smart runner. Thick solid muscle for his height. A great kid with a better attitude. The local fans love Jarvis because he starred of the local high school football team in Milledgeville, GA. Jarvis wears No. 27. He's a sleeper.
JAMES SABB: A 5-11, 225-pound starting middle linebacker. This kid is solid, thick muscle (no body fat at all) and quick. Don't know his forty. He was always around the ball and is the hardest hitter on the team, along with Autry and Sturgis (outside the defensive linemen). Sabb wears No. 5 and is from Augusta, GA. He was also 1st Team Georgia High School All-State (Georgia) middle linebacker last year in high school. In a word, STUD. Of all the players, pound for pound, he is the most prepared for Division I contact.
AUNDRAE ALLISON: A 6-2, 190-pound wide receiver. Fast and good looking athlete. With more playing time as a freshman and route running skills, he has all the tools to play at the next level after another year at GMC. Aundrae wears No. 14 and is from Kannapolis, NC.
There are several other players that stood out, but I was watching this game with more focus on the skill positions. An interesting side note: Greg Pruitt, Jr., son of Oklahoma great and Heisman Trophy running back winner Greg Pruitt, Sr., is a good looking football player as a freshman.
I was most impressed with the coaches' discipline of the team. Assistant Head Coach Jeff Tatum, filling in for head coach Bert Williams, who was absent because of a family medical emergency, told TotalBlueSports.com, "Most of our guys don't mind going to other Division I schools around the country.
"Distance is no big deal, because most of them are living away from home now. Also, another big consideration in picking a Division I school is the current rosters of teams they will sign at. These JC players know they only have two years to play and will look closely at the two-deep roster to see if they have a better chance of playing right away because of graduating seniors and so on," coach Tatum sad.
He added: "Three of our key sophomores went onto Wisconsin (kicker Scott Campbell), Georgia (linebacker Odell Thurman) and Arkansas (defensive tackle Titus Peebles)."
Georgia Military College won the 2001 National Junior College Football Championship.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Writer Mark Pedersen is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the national CF-16 Coalition that is currently lobbying Congress and the NCAA to institute a 16-team national football playoff system.)
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