Simmons: Notes from the Road

Scout's National Recruiting Analyst Chad Simmons made stops at schools in three states late last week and here are some notes on some of the top prospects he checked on…

It started in Georgia and ended in South Carolina. North Carolina was the state in between.

  • Charlie Woerner is a 6-foot-4, 200 pound sophomore out of Rabun County (Ga.) and he is an athlete that will start picking up offers in the near future. He plays wide receiver and safety right now and he is linked to UGA because of his uncle Scott Woerner playing there in the early 80s. Georgia and Georgia Tech have already checked on him and he will have many options.

  • Asheville High School in North Carolina sent Jeoffrey Pagan to Alabama in 2011 and Danny Wilkins may have his next top prospect on campus. Pete Leota is a 6-5, 281 pound sophomore offensive tackle and he has a lot of upside according to Coach Wilkins. He moves well, he is strong, and he likes to compete. He is originally from Samoa before moving to the United State at the age of nine. He camped at North Carolina this summer, he has been invited to games already this season by Wake Forest, and his favorite school right now is Georgia.

  • If you get into Wake Forest, N.C., you need to check out a Wake Forest-Rolesville High School football game. 2015 running back Bryce Love and 2016 defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence are two of the top prospects in the Tar Heel State. Love has a dozen scholarship offers right now and he is looking for academic and athletic balance in a school. He has no favorites. While Love is an early four-star on Scout, Lawrence could challenge for five stars a year from now. The 6-5, 302 pound sophomore has picked up offers from Arkansas, Clemson, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. Expect Lawrence to become a hot name this fall. He is big and athletic.

  • Cary High School in North Carolina is now home to Anthony Rush, a 6-4/280 lean junior who has been offered a scholarship by N.C. State as a tight end. He earned that offer at a Wolfpack camp in June after scoring five touchdowns that day. He likes the "atmosphere" in Raleigh. Rush played for Heritage High School in 2012 and he played defensive line. He is still being recruited to play that position. He gets off the ball well and has the frame to carry at least another 30-40 pounds well. He is starting to draw interest from schools like Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia, Indiana, and North Carolina.

  • A couple of underclassmen to watch at Scotland High School Laurinburg, N.C. are Jaylend Ratliffe and Jonathan Smith. Ratliffe is a very good athlete and a true dual-threat quarterback in the 2015 class. He has picked up early offers from Georgia Tech and North Carolina, two schools that run totally different types of offenses and that shows Ratliffe's versatility. The 6-1, 194 pound quarterback grew up a huge Tar Heel fan, but UNC offered him as an athlete instead of a quarterback. He is still trying to prove himself as a signal caller to the UNC staff. Smith is a sophomore linebacker that will not be back until mid-season due to summer knee surgery. The 6-1, 196 pounder is from Georgia and he grew up a UGA fan. He camped in Athens last summer and he took home the ‘Top Camper' award. Coach Richard Bailey is very high on Smith, Bailey said, "I have seen my share of top players and Jonathan is one of them. He is a kid I could see being a five-star prospect one day."

  • Emmanuel Olenga is a good looking (6-5, 240 pounds) junior on the hoof and he moves well. He played at Olympic High School the last two years, but transferred to Airborne for Christ Rangers in Charlotte, N.C. this summer. He is raw, but he has a lot of potential with his frame and athleticism. He is cousins with Notre Dame star Prince Shembo and they stay in touch a good bit. Olenga is hearing the most from North Carolina at this time and he has camped and attended a game in Chapel Hill. Schools like Auburn, Florida State, and Michigan State have shown interest in the junior.

  • Jalan McClendon (N.C. State commit) is the man at West Mecklenburg in 2014 and Van Smith will be that guy in 2015. Schools like Clemson, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Penn State along with some in-state schools have offered Smith. The versatile junior is a four-star on Scout and is projected as a safety. He also plays wide receiver for West Mecklenburg. He has very good ball skills, he is very instinctive in the secondary, he shows great range, and he is the quarterback of the defense. No current favorites, but Miami was his favorite as a kid growing up. He likes the "swagger" UM played with. He plans to be at Clemson for the Georgia game Saturday.

  • A couple of underclassmen to keep an eye on in the Charlotte area that may not be common names in the recruiting circle yet are Albert Funderburke and Zach Gilbert. Funderburk is a 5-11, 193 pound junior out of Sun Valley who has good balance, nice vision, and quick feet. He is not a burner, but is quick, strong, and a good receiver. Gilbert plays end for South Mecklenburg and he is a very good athlete. He is athletic enough that he is used as one of their return men. The 2016 prospect is 6-1, 207 pounds and he may project best as an outside linebacker right now. He pursues the ball well, he is strong at the point of attack, and he has upside.

  • Fort Dorchester High School in South Carolina has a strong foursome across their defensive front and they are all juniors. It starts inside with Eurndraus Bryant. The 6-2, 320 pound defensive tackle likes Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and South Carolina early. Head Coach Steven LaPrad said, "Eurndraus is an SEC guy. He is the type of kid that will draw a lot of major interest this season because of his size and the way he moves. He is so athletic." Joining Bryant on the Patriot front are ends Myles White (6-4, 220 pounds) and Eugene March (6-2, 254 pounds) with Wanyae March (6-1, 254 pounds) playing alongside Bryant inside.

    Look for updates on many of these prospects in the coming days and I will be in South Florida much of this week seeing top uncommitted 2014 prospects and elite 2015, 2016, and 2017 prospects.

    Chad Simmons is currently a National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout. He started with Scout in 2003 and then moved on to another Recruiting Service from 2004-2008 before returning to Scout the first of 2009 to become South Recruiting Manager.
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