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July 24, 2011

Hoover: Daphne doesn't get sympathy

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

HOOVER, Ala. - After finishing its 2010 season undefeated and ranked No. 12 in the RivalsHigh 100, Daphne (Ala.) High was elated.

"We felt like our season was just like Auburn's," head coach Glenn Vickery said. "No one expected anything from us at the start; then we stole a couple wins and then everyone was talking about us."

With its win in the National Select 7-on-7, perceptions of the team may have changed but the expectations from Vickery have not.

"We have a lot of work to do," he said. "We have a lot of big shoes to fill and to repeat in this league is something that is hard to do. Our goal is the same, reload."

With the power in Alabama this season residing in the southern portion of the state, Vickery knows his job will be made that much more difficult.

"We aren't a team that just has waves of Division I talent coming through the doors," he said. "We are replacing nine kids that are playing football in college. That is hard to do."

The Trojans must find players to replace three linebackers, both safeties, and a cornerback that all are now on college rosters.

However, if Vickery wants to undersell his program, he will have a tough time finding sympathy from coaches in his region.

He does return four-star athlete T.J. Yeldon and three-star defensive end/linebacker, Ryan Anderson. The two have been best friends since they were four and will play major college football, with Yeldon committing to Auburn and Anderson to Alabama.

Joining the pair will be Torren McGaster and Eric Lee, who both are likely Division I-bound athletes.

"We have some kids still," Vickery said. "But we can't just rely on those guys. We will still have to fill holes that were left and that will be the challenge."

FLOWERY BRANCH OPTOMISTIC

Lee Shaw is feeling really good about his team entering the 2011 season.

The Flowery Branch (Ga.) High coach is coming off of a 10-2 season that saw the team advance to the second round of the playoffs.

He is now bringing back a wealth of talent with a trio of Curry brothers: CJ, a senior, is committed to Georgia; Darius, a junior, is a clone of his athletic brother and already has offers to N.C. State, Oklahoma State, and Tennessee; and Justin, who's just a freshman but has the skill and a frame to grow into.

"Those three boys are really good football players," Shaw said.

But it isn't just one family that can help the team improve. Shaw received a transfer at quarterback that he thinks could be special for the team.

Kanler Coker moved into the district from Gainesville (Ga.) North Hall.

"He can sure throw it," Shaw said. "He played in a Wing-T at North Hall so his recruiting is still moving slow but I think once folks see him play with us, he will get offers."

Coker helped lead Flowery Branch into the loser's bracket semifinals of the National Select 7-on-7 this weekend and Shaw liked what he saw.

"I think he is at least comparable to Austin (Brown)," Shaw said. "Austin was a good quarterback that ended up at UAB. I think Kanler can be on that level if not higher."

WEST MONROE SETTLING ON A SIGNAL CALLER

Entering the 2011 season, the biggest question for West Monroe (La.) High is at quarterback.

"We can't ask any of the kids to replace Paul (Turner)," assistant coach Jerry Arledge said. "But we do need someone to play quarterback."

The losses of Paul Turner to LSU and Chuck Hunter, a defensive tackle who committed to TCU, will be the hardest to fill, but Arledge feels good about his defense.

"We are bringing back most of our defense," he said. "Our linebackers return and our line should be very good even without Chucky. And I thought he was the best defensive lineman in the state last year."

The pressure to win is never turned down a notch at West Monroe and that will fall onto the shoulders of the quarterback in 2011.

Arledge said that the competition between Connor Osbourne and Michael Mims was open, but it was Osbourne who took nearly every snap in the tournament and he may have played his way into the starting role.

"He looked good out there," Arledge said. "We can use this to gauge how the kids handle pressure and then reevaluate when we get home."

NO CONTROL

Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman has become somewhat of a pipeline to Clemson of late.

In the Class of 2011, four-star Charone Peake and two-star Adam Humphries both signed with the Tigers and in the Class of 2012, three-star Patrick DeStefano has already committed to the in-state school.

"They have done a good job recruiting our kids I guess," head coach David Gutshall said. "I am not a Clemson guy myself, but if the kids are happy then that makes me happy."

What kind of guy is Gutshall?

"I am a West Virginia guy," he said. "But I have never had a kid go there. I couldn't even get my son to go there. If I can't steer him there, I guess I won't be getting these recruits to go there."

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