Players To Watch: Five Offensive Weapons Expected To Up The Production Ante

BCP, August 14, 2019- If the title didn’t speak for itself, today we bring you five offensive playmakers for the middle of your week, that showed out in 2018; stay tuned for five defensive standouts coming soon. These are a handful of guys that we expect to boost their stat-lines considerably as the new-look 2019 season commences. Let’s check them out (in no particular class or rated order, with stats provided by MaxPreps).

  1. 2020 Plant High QB, Tucker Gleason- The Panthers have won AT LEAST 9 games each season, dating all the way back to 2005; amassing four-count em’ four State Championships since then. (15-0, 06′, 14-1, 08′, 13-1, 09′, 15-0, 11′). This past season, 6’3″ 220-pound student-athlete and rising senior captain, Tucker Gleason contributed greatly in leading Plant to an 11-2 district championship three-seed, post-season run. As a junior calling the shots in 13 games, Tucker threw the laces off the ball, tacking on 2,001 yards with 134 completions on 226 attempts with 27 pass TDs and only one game under 100 yards passing, rushed for 1,097 yards on 122 carries totaling five 100+ yard games and 13 TDs- he even punted the ball 9 times for 337 yards with one inside the 20-yard line. I think it’s fair to say the gunslinger and Georgia Tech commit could go for at least 2,500+ passing yards, around 30 or more endzone finds, and would definitely be more than impressive to witness him close in on a 1,000+ rushing benchmark again in his final ride in the black and gold.

2. 2020 Braden River TE, Travis Tobey- The 6’2″ 230-pound First-team All-area, HM All-State Pirate, and upcoming senior athlete Travis Tobey put up impactful numbers on both sides of the ball. As a tight end (with that next-level size) he assisted considerably in Braden River’s 9-3 wildcard 5-seed post-season endeavors, recording 452 receiving yards on a mere 29 catches, averaging 15.7 YPC, 37.7 RYPG, 33 pancake blocks (wow) and found the endzone 5 times. In the front seven as a linebacker, Tobey put up 12 total tackles (8 solos), 1 TFL, a sack for a devastating 12-yard loss and 2 QB hurries. The intimidating blocker, tackler, and pass-catcher received recruiting attention with Tennesee State University, Albany State University, St. Thomas U, Florida Tech and Centre College laying their offers on the table. Going into his last season with even more drive and confidence in his abilities is just one more incentive to expect a possible double in production if the utilization matches up.

3. 2020 River Ridge WR, Quinton Stedman- Another upcoming senior ATHLETE (this list of guys can produce all over the field mind you, but my focal point is offense here) with similar numbers in the receiving category is 6′ 195-pound Knight out wide, Quinton Stedman. He’s got fluent hips and smooth, quick feet as a receiver and cornerback, and he’s something River Ridge couldn’t do without this past 7-3 season outcome. In 10 games played, he posted 487 receiving yards on just 27 catches, averaging 18YPC, 3 TDs, 30 total tackles, (15 solo), 2.5 TFLs, defended 8 passes, 1 INT, recovered a fumble and one 2-point conversion after the touchdown. The Royal Knights are knocking on the door playoff contention again, after four straight seasons of making it (10-2, 14′, 10-2, 15′, 9-3, 16′ district champs, 7-4 17′ wildcard 7 seed) and just missing the cut off in 2018. With that being said, they have a good one on their hands performing on both ends to help accomplish that goal, and he’s even more hungry so. It’s definitely not a stretch of the imagination to see around 800+ receiving yards and a rise in tackles in the near future for Stedman.

4. 2021 Riverview RB, Michael Hayes Jr- This 5’11” 205-pound rusher out of the Rams backfield also took some snaps slinging the pigskin at the wildcat position. The incoming junior can stop and change direction on a DIME, never skipping a beat (looks good doing it too, who doesn’t appreciate that?). Hayes has a notable upside as he kindly showed in his sophomore campaign, running over, around or through you if need be with a low center of balance and a bonus of a talented arm. These desirable traits aided his case in scoreboard efforts, putting up 752 total rush yards on 121 carries, averaging 6.2 YPC, with two 100+ yard games, a 73-yard long haul, 6 rushing scores, threw for 49 yards on 3 completions of 7 attempts with a pair of TDs, caught the ball 28 times for 324 yards, posting 3 receiving touchdowns. Overall, there’s no telling how the season will pan out for Riverview (never know with almost every team, that’s the exciting part- only educated expectations based on this past 10-4 regional champ season) but no matter what the maroon and white achieve, he’s a high-ceiling guy who’s certainly capable of reaching that 1,000-yard+ mark- you’ve been put on notice people.

5. 2020 Victory Christian Academy QB, Jeremiah Byrd- Throughout the history of Victory Christian football, there have been a plethora of VICTORIES since its establishment in 2006; the Storm have only recorded two negative seasons (5-6, 07′, 4-6, 12′) and have at least 7 wins to show for, making the playoffs every other season. Adding to all this, the only time they didn’t achieve the regional champ title were the two years mentioned above and years 2009 and 2011 (still district champions at 9-2 and 8-3); along with bringing home the State Title in 2014 (13-1). This 6’2″ 220-pound signal-caller has only built on the winning foundation positively, with a breakout season as a sophomore right out the gate, accumulating 903 passing yards on 63 completions of 142 attempts, collecting 19 passing TDs and 1 with his feet in 12 games. This past season in 11 games as a junior, VCA went 11-2 (as regional champions) but his production took a hit in their run-heavy offense (244.8 RYPG) with Cornelius Shaw hurting feelings pounding the rock for 17 TDs on 2,170 yards and 239 carries- sheesh. Byrd threw for 447 yards with 41 completions on 95 attempts, tallying 7 passing touchdowns, rushed 57 times good for 302 yards and 6TDs. This is one main reason why we believe the quarterback with offers from Southern Miss and Albany State, is due for a high-production year again, after proving his worth so early on; with one final season left to leave it all out on the field as a senior leader, there’s no doubt he’s looking to put on a show.

Vaughan Sixbury, BCP Contributor