Terrance Ayers seeking first offer

Terrance Ayers took over at quarterback last season at Mitchell High School in Memphis for head coach Nathan Cole. He passed for 1,844 yards and 21 touchdowns leading the Tigers to the TSSAA playoffs with a 6-5 record. This spring Ayers has been taking campus visits and hearing from many top universities.

"I've been to Junior Days at Auburn, Memphis, and Ole Miss," Terrance Ayers said. "I plan on going to Cincinnati on [April] 23rd and to Mississippi State and Arkansas State over the summer.

"Right now I'd have to say the schools I'm hearing from the most are Ole Miss, Louisville, and Middle Tennessee State. My head coach told me Tennessee's recruiting coordinator is coming by soon to talk to Nate [Cole] and myself."

Ayers-to-Cole was a lethal combination last season. Half of Ayers' passing yards were to his No. 1 target, Nate Cole, who is the head coach's son and a top recruit at wide receiver in the state of Tennessee.

"I'm a pro-style quarterback, but I can run," said Ayers. "I didn't have to run much this year because my receivers did a great job of getting open. In junior high I played tight end/defensive end. We were short at quarterback, so I played as a back-up in 9th grade. In 10th grade I filled-in and got some meaningful snaps.

"This year I think I improved at everything. My mechanics, my arm strength, my decision making all got better and I became a leader."

Ayers, 6-0.5, 194, says he believes he has what it takes to play the quarterback position at the next level of competition. This year his team voted him Most Improved Offensive Player. He feels his best days as a quarterback are in front of him.

"I think I bring leadership to the position," said Ayers. "I like to spread the ball around and go through my progressions. I can read coverages and take what the defense gives me. I'd love to play quarterback in college, but I'm an athlete and want to play."

In the off-season he spends much of his free time in the weight room or in the film room. Ayers plans on an aggressive campaign this summer in hopes of landing his first offer.

"I'm going to go to a lot of camps and hope to impress the coaches," Ayers said. "If a school offers and my parents and coaches think it's a good fit, I'd give my verbal commitment over the summer and have all this stress behind me. If not I'm going to play great, God-willing, this season and prove myself.

"I'm looking at schools with good graduation rates for their athletes. I'd like to play for coaches who connect well with their players and do a good job preparing them for the season. Then I'd like to see what kind of offensive they run and how they see me fitting into the system."

For the past three years Mitchell has had a top recruit on their team. In '09 it was Keiwone Malone who signed with Alabama. In 2010 it was Artaves Gibson who signed with Memphis. This year the Tigers' star player looks to be Nate Cole, but with Ayers as the signal caller and several key players returning Mitchell could be a team to watch in 2011.

"Six and five was a disappointment,' said Ayers. "We started out five and one. My main goal is to win state, and that should be every player's goal. I want to be a team leader and help the other players get noticed. I want to continue to get better as a quarterback both mentally and on my mechanics."

Although Gibson exits to Memphis, Ayers says he'll have a tough backfield with running backs Quincy Folson, Dewun Todd, and Martavious Smith. The line will be mostly rookie players, but will feature Greg Buckhanon, 6-0, 265, at center.

Ayers also plays basketball and runs the 4x8 relay in track for Mitchell. On the gridiron he wears No. 17. Head coach Nathan Cole and assistant coach Brandon Wood have accompanied Ayers on his campus visits.

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