Staff Photo: John Bohn Norcross linebacker Tommy Tate stretches while taking part in a 7-on-7 football tournament hosted by Central Gwinnett High School on Saturday. Seven Gwinnett teams play seven teams from other areas of Georgia during the tournament.
Collins Hill Eagles
• Coach: Kevin Reach, third season
• 2011 record: 5-6
• Key returning players: QB Brett Sheehan, RB Tyler Henderson, WR/LB Justin Wyatt, WR/S Rhyan England, OL Nathan Kinjo, OL/DL Christian Harris, OL Marshall Sutton, K/P Mitchell Blanchard, KO Jordan Brust, LB Daniel Fish, LB Sterling Alexander, NG Tra Palmer, LB Kip Whitney, S Raymere Thomas
• Key newcomers: WR Julian Williams, WR Quincey Jones, WR Grant McDonald, WR Amadi Stephens, WR Chris McFarland, OL Adam Stokes, OL Josh Peterson, OL Ben Muellar, OL Ian Torke, TE Gary Richardson, FB R.J. Burnett, WR C.J. Davis, OL Franky Filto, QB Connor Wallace, TE Braxton Hale, S Darrin Frye, CB Flinn Boston, CB Quintin Jones, DL Ben Yarn, CB Amadi Stephens, LB Joseph Park, LB Shawn Mount, LB Blake Nichols, DL Miles Fox, DL Austin Smith
• Spring surprises/standouts: Julian Williams, England, Henderson, Fisch, Ben Yarn, Joseph Park, Austin Smith, Sheehan, Wyatt, Marshall Sutton, Nathan Kinjo, Alexander, Blanchard
• Key losses: RB Jordan Parker, WR Nick England, DL Sam Batiste, DL Andrew Everett, LB Jermichael Bailey
• Outlook: Collins Hill reached the state playoffs for the fourth straight year and was knocked out by eventual state champion Grayson in the first round last season. The Eagles return a strong nucleus from last year’s team, led by quarterback Sheehan. The senior has Sutton and Kinjo back on the offensive line to protect him. Williams has put on some size at receiver and will be the go-to guy, while England and Henderson will be nice compliments. Linebacker will be the strength on defense. Fish, who put on 30 pounds, was moved from safety to linebacker. Wyatt will be a two-way starter at receiver and linebacker and three-year starter Alexander is back. All-county selection Blanchard will handle the kicking duties again.
• Coach: Corey Jarvis, third season
• 2011 record: 4-6
• Key returning players: WR Myles Campbell, OL Julian Williams, OL Davonta Johnson, OL Dewey Van Allen, QB Will Delorenzo, DL Carl Beacham, DL Grant Cole, DL Chris Carleton, OLB Evan Ubakanma, LB Mike Long, OLB Cedrick Long, DB Michael Stewart, DB Lou Cole, DB Terence Williams
• Key newcomers: RB Jordan Dooley, RB Lavonte Cranford, RB Tyrone Scott, WR Jordan Dandridge, WR Jeffrey Joseph, WR Kevin Steverson, ATH Dominique Jackson, OL Kyle Wilkerson, OL Tim Taylor, OL Blaise Burroughs, ATH Tyler Campbell, DB Sam McNair, DB Javon Horton, DL Amari Barrett, DL Alex Brown, OLB Anthony Banks, LB Markael Maxwell
• Spring surprises/standouts: WR Gregory Blackshear, DB Jelani Brown, DB Trey Bennett, WR Devin Terry, OL Rick Hardrick, William Fernandez, QB Thad Bell
• Key losses: QB/DB Anfornee Stewart, RB Henry Enyenihi, OL Mark Ruskell, TE Michael Randle, OL Nick Wasylyk
• Outlook: Jarvis is entering his third year as Duluth head coach, giving the program some stability which it lacked when it had three coaches in four years. Jarvis has won eight games at Duluth, which is more than the six previous years combined. This could be the Wildcats’ breakout year with eight starters back on defense and five on offense. The offensive line will be a strength for the first time with Johnson and college prospects Williams and Van Allen returning. Campbell is county’s top returning receiver and will have Delorenzo back at QB after starting four games last year. Dooley and Cranford are expected to start at running back after transferring from Norcross, while sophomore Scott showed a lot of promise. Campbell, the county’s top kick returner the last two years, returns at receiver.
• Coach: Deario Grimmage, third season
• 2011 record: 0-10
• Key returning players: OL Brandon Gocool, OL Eduardo Moran, QB Ridwan Issahaku, QB Christopher Herndon, RB Ryan Moore, DL Albert Black, DB Razaq Lewis
• Key newcomers: LB Napoleon Russell, WR Cortez Towels, WR Shane Steele, WR Laquan Johnson, DB/ATH Joshua Moore, QB Patrick Mills
• Spring surprises/standouts: Ryan Moore, Towels, Issahaku
• Key losses: DB RayQuan Sam, LB Alex Steele, LB Daryl Dewindt, WR Caleb Ross, K/P Abel Ordonez
• Outlook: Grimmage is entering his third year as head coach, which is two years longer than his two predecessors. It’s taken some time, but Grimmage is finally able to lay the ground work for a foundation. The Mustangs spent the spring installing a new offense under Joshua Crawford, a former assistant at Greater Atlanta Christian. Issahaku took most of the snaps at QB, but will battle Herndon for playing time. The offense will rely heavily on Moore, a three-sport athlete, at running back. Nearly all of the defense is gone, but Grimmage likes what he has with Black and Lewis coming back. Russell has shown a lot of promise at linebacker.
Mill Creek Hawks
• Coach: Shannon Jarvis, ninth season
• 2011 record: 5-5
• Key returning players: DL Kelsey Griffin, RB Jacorey Lewis, RB/DB Carter Governale, WR/DB Matt Pursell, OL John Troutman, LB Patrick Dike
• Key newcomers: LB/RB Andrew Sciara, OL/DL Joe Cox, OL Kaleb Kim, DB/RB Jordain Sylvain, DB/RB Keanu James, OL Josh Fannin
• Spring surprises/standouts: LB/RB Michael Leonard, OL Kyle Stepherson, DB Zack Turner
• Key losses: QB John Russ, OL A.J. Ruechel, TE Joey St. Clair-Everette, DE Phillip Leconte
• Outlook: For the last three years, Jarvis relied on quarterback John Russ to run the offense. Russ graduated and that left junior Erick Ritland and sophomore Daniel David fighting for the QB spot. Whoever wins the starting battle this summer will have some help offensively. The Hawks’ first 1,000-yard rusher, Lewis, returns at RB, while Governale should be healthy after rehabbing a knee injury during the spring. The Hawks need to find three new starters on the offensive line, but have a strong pair to work around with Troutman and Matt Kopp. The Hawks are moving to a 3-5 defense and the upfront guys will be key led by major college prospect Griffin. The addition of Buford transfer Sciara and Leonard at linebacker make the front eight very tough.
Mountain View Bears
• Coach: Doug Giacone, first season
• 2011 record: 3-7
• Key returning players: OLB William Tuider, RB Marvin Elam, QB Chris Bartlett, DB Josh Briggman, LB Burton Law, OL Edwin Alvarenga, OL Blake Corry, LB Bryce McCloud, LB Andrew Mozingo, OL Michael Hayes
• Key newcomers: DB/WR Kielan Whitner, DL Emmanuel Banjoko, OL/LB Bryce Coleman
• Spring surprises/standouts: QB Andre Joseph, DB Mark Adams, QB Crew Peery
Key losses: DB Tim Hill, DL Cameron Tootle, LB Tyler Bethune, RB Eddie West
• Outlook: Giacone takes over as head coach after spending the last two years as defensive coordinator for the Bears. He replaces Tim Hardy, who took the head coaching job at GAC. Giacone inherits an experienced team with QB Bartlett and RB Elam returning. The duo will be key components in the Bears’ new triple-option offense. The Bears return three starters on the offensive line, but are thin at receiver. Mountain View’s strength on defense will be its linebackers with three starters back in Law, McCloud and Mozingo. Briggman will anchor the secondary and the defensive line still needs to build depth.
Norcross Blue Devils
• Coach: Keith Maloof, 14th season
• 2011 record: 8-3
• Key returning players: RB Alvin Kamara, QB Joseph Wilber, CB Shon Akins, CB Dequan Simpkins, LB Tommy Tate, DE Kevin Mouhon, DE Jahmal Jones, RB Myles Autry, OL Joseph Ledford, OL Horatio Walker
• Key newcomers: FB JS Ezoua, OL Blake Wood, DL Jamarcus Connally, DE Cole Kisner, FS Jordan Noil, WR Clinton Lynch
• Spring surprises/standouts: WR/Ath Clinton Lynch, OL Ryan Northrup, TE Darian Dennis
• Key losses: DB Anthony Autry, WR Jason Croom, WR J.T. Tolbert, LB Tyler Williams, LB Tanner Maloof
• Outlook: Norcross lost in the first round of last year’s playoffs, but returns 15 starters off that talented team. The group features the state’s top running back in Kamara, who rushed for 1,197 yards and 16 TDs. Kamara will have a strong offensive line to run behind with Ledford and Walker returning. The defense has two talented ends returning with Mouhon and Jones. Linebacker Tate is the region’s top returning tackler. Akins is a California commitment, but the Blue Devils still need to replace both safeties and the kicking game will need to improve from a year ago.
North Gwinnett Bulldogs
• Coach: Bob Sphire, seventh season
• 2011 record: 10-2
• Key returning players: OL Alex Stoehr, S Christopher James, DB Donnie Miles, OLB Jalen Brooks, OL Andy Kwon, WR Alex Boyd, DB Bobby Young, WR Russell King
• Key newcomers: WR Cam Lewis, WR Nate Brown, WR Caleb Scott, QB Michael Haynes, QB Hayden Sphire, RB Nick Andryusky, OL Mitch Hyatt, DL Dante Sawyer, DL Preston Green, LB Ben Carswell
• Spring surprises/standouts: Brown, James, Andryusky, Hyatt
• Key losses: QB Scotty Hosch, DL Justin Alabi, LB Carl Rider, DB Malcolm Jackson, DL Jordan Washington
• Outlook: North Gwinnett has won 10 or more games the last six years under Sphire, including the last three Region 7-AAAAA titles. The Bulldogs’ coaching staff took a hit when seven assistants left to take other jobs, including Troy Hobbs as head coach at Shiloh. Despite the departures, North was able to have a strong spring practice. Hosch, the region’s top passer last year, has graduated and baseball player Haynes and Hayden Sphire battled for the starting job. Haynes emerged as the starter, but both are expected to see significant playing time. Chad Scott, the county’s second leading receiver is gone, but Lewis, Brown and Caleb Scott made some noise during spring. The front six on defense will have to be replaced and DBs Miles, a UNC commit, and Young return.
Peachtree Ridge Lions
• Coach: Mark Fleetwood, second season
• 2011 record: 8-3
• Key returning players: WR/DB Joe Horn, TB/DB Walden Davis, WR/DB Myron Burton, LB Dorian Pogman, DL Tony Porter, OL Daniel Stephens, LB Devin Davidson, K/P Connor Rouleau
• Key newcomers: OL Orlando Brown, RB Jordan Ellis
• Key losses: RB Di Andre Atwater, DB Ray Buchanan, WR Ahmaad Harris, DB Alex Gray, DB D’Aron Hill
• Outlook: Peachtree Ridge was runner-up in the region last year and returns a bulk of last year’s playoff team. The Lions graduated their entire secondary, but return their front seven on defense. The group is led by defensive lineman Porter and linebacker Davidson. Burton and Horn will see time in the secondary, and Jackson Trawick and Travis Bowers have emerged as corners, Steven Wright will start at free safety and R.J. Murray moved from linebacker to safety. The big question on offense is quarterback. Bryson Sellers and Ryan Inman are still battling for the starting job, while Burton will get some occasional snaps. Brown, a 6-foot-8, 360-pound junior, transferred from Maryland and should bolster the offensive line. Davis will take over at running back. All-county kicker/punter Rouleau returns.
• Coach: Andy Dyer, fourth season
• 2011 record: 5-6
• Key returning players: DB Deondre Singleton, DB Trevellous Cheek, DL Antonio Riles, DB John Gillis, LB Keith Radford, RB Ernest Alexander, RB Sean Fowler, C Marcus Lightford
• Key newcomers: QB K.J. Parmer, LB Duane Lee, TE Connor Redmond
• Spring surprises/standouts: QB K.J. Parmer, RB Sean Fowler
• Key losses: QB Jarvis Holley, OL Romauld Kugbila, RB/DE Jermaine Morris, LB Derrick Parker
• Outlook: Archer burst onto the state football scene last year by reaching the state playoffs in its third year of existence. Some key pieces from that team return on defense with Singleton and Cheek in the secondary. Riles is one of the state’s top defensive linemen and Radford returns at linebacker. There are some question marks on offense as the Tigers look for a new quarterback. Parmer appears to be that guy and will get some help from running backs Alexander and Cheek. The offensive line has some holes that need to be filled, but center Lightford is back to provide stability.
• Coach: Jonathan Sanks, third season
• 2011 record: 1-9
• Key returning players: LB Jaden Lee, DT Derrick Wingate, DB Rashad Hall, WR Dorren Miller, OL Dar-Shaugn Lee-Green
• Key newcomers: OT Ernesto Barracheous, LB Caleb Catchings, QB Jaquan Morris, S Bryson Powers, RB Ronnie Predoux
• Spring surprises/standouts: WR Dorren Miller
• Key losses: S Mike Sessions, QB Deion Perry
• Outlook: Sanks enters his third year at Berkmar and feels like he’s starting to get the program where he wants it. The Patriots spent the offseason focusing on getting bigger and stronger. The defense returns 10 starters and Sanks is putting the pressure on that unit to win games for Berkmar this season. The unit is led by linebackers Lee and Catchings. The offense has seven starters back, but still needs to find a quarterback. The Patriots will still run the spread, but will go to the run more than the pass. Morris emerged as the starter at QB, but will share snaps with Hall. Miller has the potential to be a threat at receiver, while Predoux will get the bulk of the carries at RB. The entire offensive line returns and got a boost with the addition of 6-foot-7, 330-pound Barracheous.
• Coach: Mark Crews, 11th season
• 2011 record: 8-4
• Key returning players: RB Jamaal Cole, DB/RB Josh Brown, OL Adam Ledford, DE Shaun McGee
• Key newcomers: WR Ky Priester, WR/DB Afolabi Laguda
• Spring surprises/standouts: LB Liam Trainor, Laguda
• Key losses: RB Nick Tompkins, DB Zack Jackson, OL Blake Cunningham, OL Jackson Bounamia
• Outlook: Brookwood reached the playoffs for the 10th straight year last season and should once again be in contention for the region title. The Broncos have some key skill position players returning on offense, but need to fill some holes along the offensive line with four starters gone. Ledford is the only returner on the line and he missed spring recovering from an injury. QB Zach Moon missed spring practice while helping the baseball team to the state finals. That allowed Joey McLane to pick up some valuable reps. Cole has been one of the county’s top running backs the last two years and returns for his senior year. The Broncos are thin at linebacker on defense and McGee is the top defensive lineman. There are several young skill position players like Laguda who will pivotal roles in the secondary and at receiver. Priester moved from Florida in the spring and is a Georgia commitment.
Central Gwinnett Black Knights
• Coach: Todd Wofford, third season
• 2011 record: 4-6
• Key returning players: LB Trey Johnson, QB Eman Westmoreland, RB Jonathan Hawkins, DB Charles King, OL Dwayne White
• Key newcomers: DB Darius Latimore, DB Nate Hartford, WR Zedekiah Brown
• Spring surprises/standouts: LB Chris Brock, DB Nate Hartford, DE Stedman Waiters, OL Aiden Warren
• Key losses: WR Malachai Jones, DE Francis Kallon, RB George Morris, DB Aaron Taylor
• Outlook: Defense was Central’s biggest concern last year, giving up 32 points a game and a whopping 63 to South Gwinnett. Wofford brought in an entire new defensive staff and moved the defense from a 3-4 to 4-3. Former Berkmar head coach and Dacula assistant John Thompson was added to the staff as well. Auburn commitment Johnson returns after leading the county in tackles for the second year. He’ll get some help with Brock, who missed part of last year with an injury. Westmoreland is back at QB after leading the county in passing yards. The senior also led the county in interceptions last season and focused on taking what the defense gave him during the spring. Hawkins is an up-and-coming star at running back with college scholarship offers as a sophomore. Central graduated its top receivers, including county single-season receptions record holder Jones, but Brown has stepped in nicely as Westmoreland’s go-to guy.
• Coach: Jared Zito, second season
• 2011 record: 9-4
• Key returning players: RB/WR Marcus Cox, QB Brandon Goodson, WR/DB B.J. Clay, OL Zac Campbell, WR/DB Zentavius Cobb, WR Josh Bullock
Key newcomers: OL/DL David Flake, LB/F Austin Volmer, LB Ethan Steed, DL/F Josh Lovin, WR Michael Stampfel, OL Vance Coleman, OL Brandon Ake, OL Dallas Hadley, DB/WR Dontez Beamon, LB/T Dai Young, SS Austin Collins, DB/T Jacque Evangelister, WR/T Kelan Fraise, DE Jordan Sanders, LB/F Bijan Sirleaf, DB Dary Parkinson, DL C.J. Brady, DL Tyree Davis, LB Zarion Ward, DL Anthony Holland, DL Randall Resulma, LB Tohrey Wlliams
• Spring surprises/standouts: Cox, Goodson, Clay, Cobb, DL/F Josh Lovin, LB/F Bijan Sirleaf, DL Jordan Sanders, RB/DB Jacque Evangelister, RB/WR Kelan Fraise, DL/LB Anthony Holland, DL Randall Resulma, DL C.J. Brady, DL Tyree Davis, WR Michael Stampel
• Key losses: QB/RB Rocky Capobianco, TE Alex Armah, OL Corey Levin, OL Diego Rodriquez, DB Juanye Roberts, K/WR Davian McEwan
• Outlook: Dacula had its best season in recent years by reaching the state quarterfinals. Last year’s team was loaded with seniors, but 16 starters from that group graduated in May. That made for a lot of competition at several positions with more than 90 players out for spring practice. Capobianco was the Falcons’ do-it-all guy at RB/QB last season and was the Daily Post’s Offensive Player of the Year. Goodson and Cox and will take over the primary roles on offense. The Falcons have just one starter back on the offensive line with Campbell. Clay and Cobb are the only returners on defense. Flake is expected to be a two-way contributor on both lines. Dacula lacks playing experience, but is much deeper and faster at nearly every position. Sophomores Evangelister and Fraise might be the fastest and quickest players on the team.
• Coach: Mickey Conn, 13th season
• 2011 record: 15-0
• Key returning players: DL, Marquise Motley, DE Robert Nkemdiche, RB/OLB Wayne Gallman, TE/DE Jack Banda, LB Jordan Germany, CB David Kamara, ILB Jay Strickland, ILB Jake Mueller, WR/S Kasey Gaines, S/WR Ryan Carter, WR Corey Schaffer, OL Hayden Gregory
• Key newcomers: OL Taylor Ride, OL Chaz Hutcheson, OL Richard Pryor, OL/DL Justin Young
• Spring surprises/standouts: QB Tyler Knight, RB Aeres McCall
• Key losses: QB Nick Schuessler, OL Fred Zerblis, DL Sebastian Rice, OL Garrett Gorringe, LB Devin Gillespie
• Outlook: Grayson won the program’s first state championship last year and the Rams will be a contender to repeat this season. The Rams return nine starters on defense, led by standout defensive lineman Nkemdiche, the nation’s consensus No. 1 recruit. The biggest void is replacing a spot at cornerback. The Rams threw the ball more last year than they ever have with Schuessler. He’s gone, leaving Knight and GAC transfer David McTier battling for the starting spot this summer. The offensive line won’t be as big as last year, but will be physical and faster, led by returner Gregory. McCall showed promise as a playmaker at RB.
• Coach: Cecil Flowe, 20th season
• 2011 record: 4-6
• Key returning players: RB Chris Carson, LB Kyle Williams, DB Rob Youngblood, OT Ronnie Bailey, CB Bryce Lewis, C Blake Dunham, DL Michael Sun, DL Hunter Thornton, RB/DB Keanu Mole, DB Shaq Vareen
• Key newcomers: OT Freddie Hart, RB Maceo Dubose
• Spring surprises/standouts: LB Justice Ruffer, DB Sherod Kimble-Brinson
• Key losses: LB Patrick Flowe, WR Jordan Reid, OL Wyatt Hammond, QB Jack Esmonde, TE Colby Smith, OL Bryce Goldsby
Outlook: Parkview will have one of its most talented teams in recent years with five players with Division I scholarship offers already. The big name on defense is Williams at LB. He’ll have some help with Thornton and Sun on the defensive line, while Lewis and Vareen anchor the secondary. Carson is returns at RB after rushing for 1,146 yards. The offensive line should be bigger than last year with Bailey and Dunham back. The QB spot is still up in the air with as many as four players battling for the starting job.
• Coach: Troy Hobbs, first season
• 2011 record: 2-8
• Key returning players: DE Fred Mooring, QB Devante James, WR Paul Martin, OL John Freeman, DL Stefan Delva, LB Kolade Bakrin
• Key newcomers: QB Will Lattimore, TE/DE Xavier Jones
• Spring surprises/standouts: James, Lattimore
• Key losses: LB Stephen Weatherly, OL/DL Tyler Claytor, WR Clayton Smith, DL Phillip Trocheck, LB Martin Rhymer
• Outlook: Hobbs was hired in the middle of May while most teams were going through spring practice. The school was granted permission by the state to practice the week of finals and the Generals got in four solid days of practice. That gave Hobbs time install parts of the offense and defense similar to what was run at North Gwinnett, where Hobbs was an assistant. The biggest thing he liked was the effort from his players. James started at QB last year, but will battle with Lattimore for playing time. Martin stood out at receiver, while Freeman will anchor the offensive line. Hobbs is counting on his defense to win games for them and believes his defensive front can be special led by Delva on the defensive line and Bakrin at linebacker.
• Coach: John Small, eighth season
• 2011 record: 3-7
• Key returning players: QB Jordan Ramey, RB Josh Boyd, WR Bernard Morrison, WR L.J. Gainey, WR Coray Keel, WR Tyrone Atkinson, OL Dennis Edwards, OL Dnaiel Ziegler, RB Travon Davis, LB Reggie Carter, S/OLB Deonte Davis, S Mason Hart, CB Nick Hylton, LB Marquise Parker, LB Anthony Beck, CB Brandon Bauzye, DE Donovan Kelly, DE Weston Simmons, OLB Colton Nash
• Key newcomers: WR Cedric Asseh, RB Isiah Robinson, OL Cory Tate, NG Nadarrius Eckers, TE Jayland Benjamin, S Devonte Lawrence-Spivey
• Spring surprises/standouts: WR Coray Keel
• Key losses: OL Austin Clark, DL Arlando Griffin, LB Azziz Higgins, WR Mark Watts, OL Darren Russell
• Outlook: On the 10th play of the first game last season, standout linebacker Carter went down with a knee injury. That set last year’s tone for South, which was crippled by injuries. Many of those players are back and healthy and Small is excited about the team he had on the field this spring. Carter is a Georgia commit and is one of nine seniors with college scholarship offers. Ramey is back at QB after playing just two full games all last season. He’ll have a plethora of standout skill position players around him with receivers Gainey, Keel and Morrison and running backs Boyd and Davis. The big concern is on the offensive line with with just two starters back. South returns most of if its defense, but six players missed five or more games with injuries last year. Small likes his defensive line, but needs to build depth. Hart, who started part of the season at QB, is back in the secondary along with Hylton.
• Coach: Billy Wells, third year
• 2011 record: 3-1, non-region
• Key returning players: DB Onyx Berrios, LB Izzy Sam, QB Taylor Grant, DE Ricky Viengxay, RB Jordan Brannen, DL Chauncy West; OL Brian Krause, LB Jesse Landers, DB Austin Westfall, DB Brandon Ramos, OL Anthony Mauricio
• Key newcomers: DB Grey Lee Williams, WR Martarius Sanders; TE Dominic Jones, DL Darius Daniels
• Spring surprises/standouts: LB Bryton Bergman, LB Tario Fuller; WR Jabril Jones, DE Trevon McSwain, RB Marcus Avelino, DB Pablo Berrios
• Key losses: WR Jordan Humphrey, C Hendhi Agenor, LB Kelby Threlkeld
• Outlook: Lanier enters its third year of existence and, after playing two years of JV football, will play its first full year of varsity. Wells, the former head coach at Collins Hill, has taken his time to build a quality program. It started to show this spring with physical competition to see who is ready to compete at the varsity level. Sam, West and Fuller had a strong spring on the defensive side of the ball, while Krause was very physical on the offensive line. Sophomores Trevon McSwain, Darius Daniels and Tario Fullers could press for playing time this fall.
• Coach: Jess Simpson, eighth season
• 2011 record: 14-1
• Key returning players: OL Josh Cardiello, TE/DE Mikey Bart, RB/LB Dontravious Wilson, S Jaylen Mize
• Key newcomers: LB Deion King, CB Bryson Jordan, DE/FB Donte’ Gordon, CB/RB Thomas Wilson
• Spring surprises/standouts: DL Brandon Brinson, OL Nick Polino
• Key losses: LB Dillon Lee, OL Vadal Alexander, TE Kurt Freitag, LB/FB Nathan Staub, RB Andre Johnson
• Outlook: There were a lot of new faces on the field for the Wolves’ spring practice. Buford has to replace 20 starters and Cardiello and Mize are the only returners. Montgomery VanGorder and Taylor Mitchell will continue to battle for the starting QB job. Bart has some experience at TE, but the offensive line needs some work. Garrett Roebuck and Nick Angle hope to add some experience to the line. Longtime assistant coach Christian Hunnicutt is gone and was replaced by Ware County assistant Chris Warbington as the offensive line coach. Neal Auer, who was the offensive coordinator for Parkview’s 2000-01 state title teams, will assume the same role with Buford.
• Coach: Tim Hardy, first season
• 2011 record: 8-2
• Key returning players: OL/DL Andrew Bartolomei, RB/DB Kyle Scales, TE/DE Andrew Lewis, QB Delano Spencer, WR/DB Peter Whiteneck
• Key newcomers: OL/DL Britt Lee, QB/OLB Rafe Chapple, WR/DB Parker Polhill, WR/OLB Chris Bartolomei
• Spring surprises/standouts: LB/FB Trevor Dedecker, OLB/WR Chris Williams
• Key losses: OL Chase Roberts, RB Lavondre Nelson, WR Kalif Raymond, LB Jonathan Ford, OL/DL Parker Fair
• Outlook: Hardy begins his first season at GAC after starting the program at Mountain View. Hardy replaces Tim Cokely, who took a head coaching job in Florida, and is the third head coach in five years at GAC. He inherits a talented Spartans squad led by Spencer at QB. Hardy used the two weeks of spring practice to install a multiple formation offense, putting Spencer in the shotgun and under center. The senior will have help from running back Scales, who is back after tearing his ACL last year. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Lewis is a promising college prospect, while Bartolomei will anchor both sides of the line. Dedecker and Williams showed the potential to be two-way starters for the Spartans.
• Coach: Franklin Pridgen, seventh season
• 2011 record: 7-3
• Key returning players: QB Will Anderson, OL/DL Stuart Johnson, WR Rodney Morris, WR/DB Charles Mack, OL/DL Michael Armstrong, LB/FB Rhett Delk
• Key newcomers: OL/DL Hank Masters, OL/DL Ryan Brennan, OL/DL Griffin Bone, RB/LB Miles Smith, WR/DB Jahmai Jones
• Spring surprises/standouts: WR Sam Carver, RB/DB Brandon Gilliam
• Key losses: RB/DB Zander Yost, OL Josh King, LB Eric Rappe, TE/DL Mason Colquitt, P/K Eric Sunderman
• Outlook: Wesleyan had a playoff-caliber team last year, but missed the postseason on a region play-in game. Many of the skill players from that team return led by standout QB Anderson. The junior will have a pair of talented receivers to throw to in college recruits Morris and Mack. Jones, the brother of Central Gwinnett grad Malachai Jones, also showed promise in the spring. Johnson is the only full-time starter back on the offensive line, but Armstrong, Masters and Ben Johnson saw significant action. The big question mark is at running back, where Smith and Gilliam are expected to share carries. Wesleyan should be strong at linebacker with Delk back and in the secondary with Mack. The defensive line has good size, but has limited varsity experience.
• Coach: Sal Battaglia, second season
• 2011 record: 4-6
• Key returning players: WR/P/K/DB Tyler Matthews, ATH Lew Stephens, WR/DB Matthew Glisson, OL/DL Joe Bova, OL John Adams, WR/LB Seth Kuntz, LB/RB Jay Wallo, DL/WR Josh Heflin, RB/DB Hunter Johnson, DB Troy Selman, OL/DL Ty Johnston
• Key newcomers: QB Connor Holiday, OL Blake Pullem
• Spring surprises/standouts: Holiday, Matthews
• Key losses: LB/RB Tyler Smith, RB/DB Xavier Railey
• Outlook: Battaglia inherited a young team last year and the squad took its lumps losing some close games. The good news is many of those players return with experience. The affects of a winter conditioning program showed during spring with players stronger and faster. Do-it-all-man Matthews, who has drawn college interest, is back to guide the offense, defense and special teams. The emergence of freshman QB Holiday has allowed Stephens to play other positions. Adams, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound tackle, anchors the offensive line. Hebron’s all-time leading tackler Smith graduated, but Wallo has the potential to be the next standout LB.