Big College Performances from Georgia Natives
If you flipped through the various college football games on the television last weekend, chances were you saw numerous Georgia standouts doing their thing on national television. Ten former GHSA stars competed so well that we just had to give them a shout-out this week.
Three quarterbacks from the Peach State put up crazy stat-lines on Saturday. One of these guys obviously needs no introduction: Trevor Lawrence. The former Cartersville QB, current Clemson signal caller, and future first-round pick completed 8 of his 9 pass attempts for 168 yards and three touchdowns. The junior also tallied a 2-yard rushing score in their 49-0 win over The Citadel. It seemed as if Lawrence wanted to stay out there even longer before coach Dabo Swinney decided to put in the backups, so expect an even bigger performance when No. 1 Clemson hosts Virginia Oct. 3.
Fans of high school football in this state will never forget the show Roswell quarterback Malik Willis put on in the 2016 Class 7A state championship game, trying to keep the Hornets’ hopes alive before their overtime loss to Grayson. After being a backup at Auburn for a couple seasons, Willis decided to transfer north to Liberty University in Virginia to play for coach Hugh Freeze. Saturday indicated that was a beneficial decision for both parties. Willis was 13-for-21 passing with 133 yards. The dual-threat athlete also rushed for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries in their 30-24 win at Western Kentucky. He suits up next for the Flames this Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN3 against FIU.
A pair of teammates earned a shout-out this week. Troy’s pass-and-catch combo of Gunnar Watson and Khalil McClain. Watson, a Butler native that prepped at Taylor County High School, threw for 248 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the Trojans’ 47-14 shellacking of Middle Tennessee State. McClain, a Tulane transfer from Creekside High in Fairburn, reeled in both of Watson’s scoring tosses and finished with 75 yards on six receptions. The two Georgia guys will play a long way from home this Saturday, taking on the No. 18 BYU Cougars in Provo, Utah, at 10:15 p.m. on ESPN.
Georgia has always been viewed by recruiters and scouts as a hotbed for running back talent, and a couple of performances last week helped prove it. Although Georgia Tech lost 49-21 at home against No. 13 UCF, the Yellow Jackets came away with a few positives. One positive was the emergence of true freshman tailback Jahmyr Gibbs. A four-star running back at Dalton last season, Gibbs turned down some interest from Alabama late to stick with Tech. In his first action as a Yellow Jacket, Gibbs churned out 66 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown while catching four passes for 60 yards and one score. He also had two kick returns with one being returned deep into UCF territory. Coach Geoff Collins will try to find more ways to get Gibbs involved this Saturday at Syracuse, starting at noon on CBS Sports.
Notre Dame has never shied away from taking Peach State talent, and coach Brian Kelly sure was glad Saturday that he offered a scholarship to Pike County’s C’Bo Flemister. The current junior and Zebulon native rushed for 127 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries in Notre Dame’s 52-0 shutout of USF. Flemister will try for another big performance this Saturday as the Fighting Irish travel to Winston Salem to take on Wake Forest at noon on ABC.
Defense wins championships, and a few Georgia natives played like champions last weekend. Coastal Carolina stymied Campbell’s offense for much of Friday night’s contest, and much of that was due to the defensive line, anchored by redshirt senior C.J. Brewer. The product of 1A Bowdon High School was bragged on for much of the ESPN broadcast after he finished with seven total tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Chanticleers’ 43-21 home victory. Brewer and the Coastal Carolina defense face a much tougher task next Saturday, as they will try to slow down Arkansas State’s explosive offense.
The second pair of Georgia teammates earning a mention currently attend Western Kentucky. Defensive lineman DeAngelo Malone and defensive back Antwon Kincade each had valiant efforts in the Hilltoppers’ 30-24 loss to Liberty (and the aforementioned Malik Willis). Malone – a senior who played at Cedar Grove – recorded nine total tackles in the loss. He created multiple hurries from his defensive end position. Kincade, a senior from Valdosta High School, finished second on the team with 11 total stops against Liberty. The Hilltoppers will try to figure some things out during this bye week before traveling to Middle Tennessee State next Saturday.
Chauncey Manac was one of the most sought-after prospects in the class of 2016, signing with Georgia over offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, and Miami. Although it did not work out for the Clinch County alum in Athens, he rebounded at Garden City Community College before signing with Louisiana. Now a redshirt senior for the Ragin’ Cajuns, the linebacker showed out in his home state with seven tackles in last week’s 34-31 overtime triumph at Georgia State. Manac will take on another in-state college this Saturday, as Louisiana hosts Georgia Southern at noon on ESPN2.
Written by: Logan Maddox