Local prep stars making colleges take note

By Wes Holtsclaw
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

     Recently, I have heard several comments around the state about college recruiting in this area, and especially in this county.
     And at this time, I believe the chances are very high for some college players to come out of our local high schools.
     Usually, it's very seldom to see a Carter County athlete sign onto a college football squad. With the exception of Elizabethton's Jason and Shawn Witten, and Neal Wandell, there are no other Division 1 football players from this county.
     There are several Division II football players making the rounds from the area. But I can guarantee you, that the numbers for our Division II players will change. It will change soon.
     There are currently five players in this county that are getting looks high on the college football circuit, and when I say high, I mean Division 1-A and 1-AA schools.
     In my opinion, there are some quality athletes in this county on the football field that could play at almost any small college in this country.
     After the impressive showing that Jason Witten has had at the University of Tennessee, many major programs have been looking into this county for other gems.
     I have heard several people complain about the lack of recruiting when it comes to their school's players, but you have to be reminded about players from the school's past that had the chance but passed it up.
     I have also heard many players talking about the drive, and the chance to play at the next level. I have seen these players give their all this season, and I'm sure they will have somebody calling.
     One major key for our athletes is their performance in the classroom. Some colleges will squeak some students by, but they are mostly interested in the big talents with the work ethic in class.
     Grades are a big key to being looked at by a representative of the next level, and if a player have the formula to excel, then chances are that they will.
     BIG LOCAL GAMES
     Elizabethton at Greeneville
     Elizabethton will have to work hard to defeat the Green Devils this week. I believe it will be a close knit contest, but can the Cyclone rushing attack and Walter Brown keep on keeping on?
     Cloudland at South Greene
     The Highlanders face another test this week against the Rebels of South Greene. South Greene was defeated by Hampton last week, and would love the chance to upset the number one team in 1-A.
     A big question will be if Mark Byrd is ready for the game after having surgery this past week, I believe Cloudland will come out on top either way.
     Happy Valley at Johnson County
     The Longhorns are mad and ready to take on the Warriors after a loss last season. Happy Valley is back and willing to return the favor to the 'Horns.
     It will be a close game, but if the Johnson County defense can play up to their potential, it will be hard for the tribe.
     WESLEY'S OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: TIM WHALEY, HAPPY VALLEY
     Whaley rushed 20 times for 236 yards against West Greene in the Warriors' 28-21 victory. Whaley was also named this week's TSSAA AP State Player of the Week in 2-A. Congratulations to Tim, on an awesome performance and for the statewide honor.
     WESLEY'S DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: CODY CANNON, HAPPY VALLEY & JIMMY SARRETT, HAMPTON
     Cannon had twelve tackles and three sacks against West Greene, while Sarrett brought twelve tackles of his own against South Greene. Both players were listed as Honorable Mention Players of the Week in the TSSAA AP poll.
     WESLEY'S LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: CHAD STREET, ELIZABETHTON
     Chad Street had a solid blocking game for the Cyclones this past week. The Senior tackle hit a lot of spots for Betsy tailback Walter Brown in the win over Sullivan South.
     PICKS OF THE WEEK
     Last week, I was 12-3 with three losses in the 5-A ball (DB over Jeff County, Sevier Co. over Science Hill, Lebanon over Oakland). I enter this week with a 45-10 record.
     Greeneville 34, Elizabethton 26
     Cloudland 28, South Greene 7
     Happy Valley 14, Johnson County 3
     West Greene 24, Unaka 12
     Hampton 35, Unicoi County 18
     Sullivan East 18, David Crockett 16
     Sullivan North 31, Sullivan Central 20
     Science Hill 34, Morristown East 20
     Cherokee 22, Daniel Boone 15
     Coalfield 13, Jellico 6
     Powell Valley 32, Claiborne County 30
     Boyd-Buchanan 24, Ezell-Harding 20
     BGA 21, Goodpasture 17
     Maryville 56, William Blount 18
     Oak Ridge 19, Sevier County 11
     (Wes Holtsclaw can be reached by e-mail at wholtsclaw@starhq.com)