It was a great sight to see 33 of 34 teams in our area come to Brooks Stadium and get ready for the high school football season. This is the second year we've put on a Media Day and we're getting close to getting things down to an exact science. Each team brought their top five or six players along with head coaches and it was an invaluable resource to have all this information compiled in a four hour period. That one day is going to be a huge tool in how we cover high school football in 2007.
A big thank you to Sonic and Ben and Jerry's who took on the task of feeding 175 high school football players. Once again, Sonic is sponsoring our team of the week segment where we pick a game and the winner joins us live in the studio. Every team will get Sonic combo meals. Ben and Jerry's is on board this season by sponsoring our "unsung hero" segment. This will give us an opportunity to make a fuss over some of the great lineman in our area. Having special segments like this helps take our show to the next level.
Here's some news and notes from Media Day:
* Damien Sowells is back at Dillon There was a lot of talk in the off season about Damien going to play across town at Dillon Christian, but in the end, he's staying a Wildcat. Damien very well could have been the best player not to make the All-Zone team last year - I'm sure he'll be able to get to the banquet and help Dillon contend for a 2A state championship.
* There are three newcomers that everyone is talking about:
Everett Golson, Myrtle Beach
This freshman quarterback is so good he may share time with Drew Ellis who is one of the top returning quarterbacks not only in the area, but the state of South Carolina. This is a very good problem for Scott Earley to have. It makes sense to use a two quarterback system and play the hot hand.
Shon Carson, Lake City
Another freshman who area coaches have been talking about for the better part of two years. The list of people who can step in and start at tailback at a class 3A school is a short list. I'm looking forward to see what this young man can do.
Heath Jackson, North Myrtle Beach
Ohio has a stellar reputation for high school football, so when you see that Jackson caught over 100 passes as a freshman, this transfer should raise plenty of eyebrows.
* It's going to be a good year for recruiting
We already have four Division I commitments sewn up:
Spencer Benton, Myrtle Beach Kicker - Clemson
Bruce Taylor, Myrtle Beach LB - Virginia Tech
Jimmy Howell, West Florence P - Northwestern
TJ Johnson, Aynor OL - South Carolina
Here's four more players with Division I offers on the table
Jonathan Williard, Loris LB - Multiple offers including Clemson, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee
Ingram Bell, Saint James ATH - Vanderbilt and Duke offers
Jaron Brown, Cheraw WR - Multiple offers including Clmeson, USC, Tennessee and West Virginia
Justin Lewis, Johnsonville OL/DL - NC State offer
That gives us eight and that's just the tip of the iceberg. The Myrtle Beach duo of LB Evan Rose and TE Andrew Power should get some long looks as well as Carvers Bay DL Dyrell Porcha.
What's nice is the fact that all of these athletes appear to have their grades in order and qualifying won't be an issue. When it's all said and done, this might be the best year in terms of number of Division I signees.
The summer vacation is officially over. We're in full football mode from here on out. Here's what you can expect in the month of August from WPDE Sports:
* 34 Chevy End Zone High School Previews - check the full schedule at wpde.com
* Palmetto Pigskin Preview - 15 issues of everything football in South Carolina - high school, college and NFL - our first issue comes out on August 23rd. Don't forget to sign up for the Palmetto Picks contest and pick games against us to win a plasma TV and even more prizes than last year!
* Chevy End Zone Season Premiere: Friday, August 17th - we've got 50 minutes of wall to wall high school football highlights
* Gamecocks/Clemson Preview - Tuesday, August 28th at 7:30 pm - We'll breakdown Clemson and the Gamecocks and hear from coaches Spurrier and Bowden as well as our local players
* CCU Preview with David Bennett - Wednesday, August 29th at 7:30pm - Coach and I breakdown the Chants 2007 season with features and a detailed look at CCU's depth chart.
Looking forward to another great season - if you're looking for me, it's a safe bet to check our edit bay at the station as I'll be living in there for about the next three weeks!