Well, I fly to Dallas today to participate in the Bret Cooper Junior Academic All-American Game. It is part of the Cotton Bowl Classic festivities so I will also get to take in that contest between The Ohio State University and the Trojans from USC. There are some Kentucky Players in the game as well as a player with Kentucky ties and roots. I will be excited to watch the following players particularly…
Evan Kelley, QB, Davidson Academy, 6’0″ 190, from Clarksville, Tennessee:
Evan Kelley has been excellently coached and is now under the direct tutelage of Rivals’ Evaluator and former college and NFL QB, Jonathan Quinn at the Davidson Academy. Evan is a QB who has tremendous polish and is able to make quick recognition of alignments and coverages permitting an ability to work speedily through his progressions and deliver the ball, on time and to the correct recipient. Last year, the East All-American squad was led by All-American and very highly rated signal caller from Youngstown, Ohio, Shane Hamm. The committee has selected Kelley for the team and he is expected to play both QB and LB. At the QB position, Kelley would provide much of the same skill sets and attributes from which it benefitted while Shane Hamm, who quarterbacked the team last year, was leading it to victory over the West and earning the game’s MVP distinction. Kelley has been timed in the 4.9s by hand in the 40 and has the heft and strength to lower his shoulder when he breaks containment and either run away or through 2nd and 3rd level defenders unfortunate enough to attempt to tackle him in the open field. Hmmm…sound a little like Shane Hamm perhaps? Dropping, setting up, and delivering the ball is Kelley’s true forte as he is a pro-style QB who just happens to be a super athlete. Kelley has the strongest arm, quickest release, and most accurate delivery of any QB this reporter has seen in the three years I have coached and watched football at this level of play. Kelley has a 3.9 GPA.
William Hughes, OL/DL, Hopkinsville Middle School, 5’10” 240, from Hopkinsville, Kentucky:
William Hughes is a kid who started every game as a 7th grader on HMS’ Region I Champion, State Semi-Finalist, 8th grade football team. As an 8th grader this past season Hughes played for both the 8th and 9th grade Tigers, William stepped his game up considerably this past year dominating and being the best down lineman for both the 8th and 9th grade teams. Hughes, at 246 pounds, is really fast and athletic to go along with his being explosive and strong. At OL, Hughes has proven to be an accomplished pass protector from his LG spot. In the run game, he is a downhill, drive blocking machine. William is persistently driving his man deep into the Defense’s 2nd and sometimes 3rd level. At DL for the Tigers, Hughes was un-blockable and may see time in Coach Steven Kelley’s defensive scheme this week as a nose guard in odd fronts and a 1 to 3 technique in even fronts. Hughes has shown tremendous launch and get off working in tandem with active and violent hands shedding and discarding would-be blockers. Hughes also boasts a 4.0 GPA.
Jaxon Smith, Danville Kentucky, Boyle County Middle School, PK/P
Here’s a player we are willing to bet Coach Chuck Smith is really excited to see play for him over the next four years. We would also like to note that punter/place kicker Jaxon Smith from Boyle County, Kentucky is playing in the game for the East All-Americans. The Danville, Kentucky product may be the surest college prospect on either team. This year, though it didn’t lead his team to victory, Jaxon Smith accounted for all nine of his team’s points in the State Middle School Championship Football game. Jaxon connected during the game from 38, 27 and 51 yards on field goals. Not too shabby for a Middle Schooler, huh? I don’t know as much about Smith as I do Hughes and Kelley but I am looking forward to writing more on him in the future.
I was able to speak with Bret Cooper about the selection of Smith, Kelley, and Hughes on this year’s East All-American Team for his annual game and Bret said, These three young men, in their playing ability and academic standing, represent the very best in Middle School athletic and academic performance. They are the exact type of player we exist to promote. We have mined their areas before, very successfully, with players like Gough and Long last year. We fully expect Smith, Kelley, and Hughes will continue the tradition of excellence established by the former Junior All-Americans who have played previously from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
This is Fletcher Long reporting from Kentucky Prep Gridiron reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!
The following are former Bret Cooper All-Americans who are playing college football or have received offers: