Lions Are Loaded For 2007

In the 2003 and 2004 seasons, the Peachtree Ridge Lions won a grand total of two football games combined. Last year it all turned around in dramatic fashion however under first year head coach Blair Armstrong as the suburban Atlanta squad posted a 6-4 campaign. Coach Armstrong didn't do it all by himself though, he was aided by a stable of D-1 prospects that include the son's of former NFL players from Ironhead Craig Heyward to Chicago Bears great Kevin Butler.

The most noticeable prospect this year for the Lions is 6'6 277lb Cameron Heyward. Heyward transferred to Peachtree Ridge late last season from the private Whitefield Academy in the city of Atlanta. His impact in the middle was immediate for his new squad and he took over drawing double teams on almost every down and wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

Cameron has very nice feet and has brought his quickness from the basketball court onto the gridiron. He hasn't even hardly begun to fill out his massive frame and could easily play at over 300lbs once his career is over. Heyward currently holds a written offer from his father's alma mater the University of Pittsburgh and he's received verbal pledges from the likes of Ole Miss, Auburn and Clemson. Although he remains open at this time in his recruitment, he names a top 4 consisting of Pittsburgh, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Mississippi State.

Staying with the basketball flavor, Cameron's teammate on both the hardwood and the football field is 6'5 210lb QB Zach Graham. Zach has great mobility and shows a very nice arm throwing the football outside of the pocket. He is a terror to bring down in the open field and seemingly just glides with those long legs.

He passed for almost 900yds a year ago while maintaining a nice touchdown to interception ratio at 7 to 3. While still raw mechanically, Zach is too promising of a prospect down the road for many schools to pass up if he intends on pursuing football. He should have a host of suitors at his door by the time signing day 2007 rolls around.

This team has weapons all over the offensive side of the ball at the skill positions and another big one on the outside is 6'4 200lb WR Sidney Haynes. Wideouts are known for their flashy mannerisms and Haynes is no different. He has more personality in his little finger than many do in their whole body and he has the game to back it up as he reeled in 34 catches last year for 668yds and 5 touchdowns.

The Lion coaching staff praises his work ethic and his attitude along with his stellar physical ability. On film he shows a natural route running ability and has great speed to run past defenders with angles on him. His height makes him a weapon in the red zone and he goes up and catches the ball with his hands instead of his body.

Haynes names an early top 5 consisting of Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Maryland, Clemson and Georgia. Keep your eye on Sidney because I feel he's going to turn into one of the hotter prospects in the Peach State once summer camps get into high gear.

I referenced above just how deep Peachtree Ridge was at the skill positions and I'd be amiss if I didn't mention the two-headed monster they have at tailback. '07 prospect Chris Douglas and super sophomore Brandon Davis team up back there to form one of the better tandems in the state.

At 5'9 and almost 195lbs currently, Douglas is the bigger of the backs and runs with tremendous power and leg drive. The 4.34 shuttle and 37" vertical jump he turned in at the Kennedy/CES Combine in January, showed us just how athletic he was as well. Despite gaining 622yds a year ago at a 7.0ypc clip, Douglas has gone relatively unnoticed due to the incredible multitude of outstanding rushers available in the Peach State this year.

With more strong performances in camps over the next few months however, Douglas should put himself in position to be recruited heavily by a multitude of D1 schools because he certainly does not lack the talent. Alabama, Clemson, Auburn, Georgia and Louisville are a few schools on his short list at this time.

Brandon Davis is a player we'll be talking about a lot next year because the rising junior has already made quite a name for himself on the north side of Atlanta. Splitting carries with Douglas, Davis is the guy the Lions go to when they need to break a big run or get to the edge and make some people miss. He has superb quickness and his compact frame is already impressively filled out. Opponents better watch out for this kid over the next couple of seasons because he is a big time homerun threat anytime he touches it.

If Davis isn't the quickest player on the field for PRHS, look no further than '07 CB Phillip Davis. This young man is lightning in a bottle and for a guy no bigger than 5'11 165lbs, he plays the game with a physical mentality. He has a knack for causing turnovers (4 interceptions a year ago) and always being around the football.

As good as he is defensively though, he's quite possibly even more of a weapon for the Lions on kick returns. You can't afford to get out of your lanes on coverage when he's back there because he can turn it north and south as well as anyone and post points on the board in a hurry. It's no surprise he was named Gwinnett County player of the month at one point last season.

Schools in the marker for a kicker this year won't find any candidate with a better pedigree than Drew Butler. Drew's father Kevin is one of if not the greatest to ever lace it up for both the Georgia Bulldogs and the Chicago Bears.

At 6'2 200lbs, he has a big frame for a kicker. Despite going for 4 for 6 with a long of 40yds on field goals a year ago, Drew is more likely to be recruited as a punter where he averaged 40yds last year and showed a tremendous ability to drop the ball into tight spots with great accuracy. He was a huge weapon for the Lions last season and should be once again.

With the job Coach Armstrong did in his first year up in Suwanee being named Gwinnett Daily Post coach of the year, and how young his team was a year ago, everyone in region 7-AAAAA should have their eyes on Peachtree Ridge this season because they're poised for a playoff run in 2006…

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