“I may never have another one like him,” Freedom head coach Brandon Allen said. “He’s by far the best athlete that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach. When you’re talking about a kid who has been electronically timed 4.48 [in the 40-yard dash] and weighs 232 pounds and is still a junior, he’s pretty special. The thing about him, he has the speed to be an outside threat but he’s also the type of kid that will stick it up between the tackles and get you the tough yards. The one thing he doesn’t get a lot of credit for is he has phenomenal hands and runs great routes.”
Emmons played varsity ball as a freshman, but was primarily used on defense where he started several games at cornerback.
When Blair Hardin became Freedom’s head coach the following season, he shifted Emmons’s focus to offense.
“He really kind of opened doors for me,” Emmons said. “He actually gave me a chance running the ball. When I got the ball, I gave him a reason to give it back to me.”
Even though he shared the backfield with a senior that season, Emmons was named Northwestern Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He rushed for 1,834 yards and 23 touchdowns on 148 carries (12.1-yard average).
Despite yet another coaching change and missing two games, Emmons improved on his sophomore numbers rushing for 2,348 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2014. Unfortunately, it was a suspension that forced him to miss those two games.
“[The season] was kind of a rollercoaster because of my immature mistakes,” Emmons said. “I messed myself up from getting more [yards] than what I had.”
In late October of that season, Emmons was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Without going into details about the arrest, Emmons says he has learned from his mistakes.
“I can’t be mad, because I put myself in that position,” Emmons said. “I can’t blame anybody, because I was the person in that position. I don’t look for any excuses.”
In early December, Emmons verbally committed to Georgia. Two months later, he attended a junior day at North Carolina – his first recruiting trip since committing.
“Me going to Chapel Hill was an eye-opener,” Emmons said. “I saw some things that I did like at Chapel Hill... It’s a basketball game and you’re there as a football recruit and people still knew who I was and were telling me that they want me there. Growing up as a kid, that’s the stuff that you want to hear.”
The experience convinced Emmons to visit more schools. He has since visited Tennessee.
“I’m taking it as it comes,” Emmons said. “If a coach comes and talks to me and it’s a school I think I could be interested in, then I’m not going to turn it down.”
Initially, Emmons wouldn’t entertain the idea of visiting schools outside Georgia. But several occurrences at UGa – such as Thomas Brown replacing Bryan McClendon, who now coaches wide receivers, as running backs coach – have forced him to open up his recruitment.
“Since they have made changes on their coaching staff, they have made several other offers to running backs,” Allen said. “And we’ve reached out to Georgia on a couple of occasions and have not heard anything back from them…
“He’s still a verbal commit to them. But at the same time, I think he’s doing the right thing as far as exploring his options and not closing any doors because we don’t know where Georgia is at right now.”
As Emmons eloquently puts it, he’s “dating Georgia, but not married to Georgia.”
In addition to the Bulldogs, Emmons has collected scholarship offers from Charlotte, Florida, UNC, NC State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia.
“Tennessee is probably heading the pack of those [schools outside of Georgia],” Allen said. “I know B.J. hasn’t had the opportunity to visit Florida yet, but I know that he’ll probably want to.”
According to Allen, UNC has been careful with the amount of recruiting resources it uses on Emmons.
“Their interest is high, but I don’t know if they feel like they’re a primary candidate,” Allen said. “But the thing that I told them was right now B.J. isn’t ruling anything out.”
Last summer, Emmons camped at UNC where he was able to work under the tutelage of Larry Porter.
“I like him,” Emmons said. “From the look at him, he’s like a military captain. He likes to be in command like any coach, but the way he coaches his running backs is like ‘If you’re working with me, you’re going to be great.’ Everywhere I’ve been, he’s stuck out the most because he wants you to get to work.”
Emmons’s first name is Cedric… During his freshman year, Emmons ran track and played basketball but gave up both to focus on football.
B.J. Emmons Profile
2016 Target: B.J. Emmons
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