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GWINNETT GRADS: South's Krause, Wimberly aim for big seasons

Vanderbilt wide receiver Jonathan Krause (17), a South Gwinnett grad, stiff arms Austin Peay cornerback Buddy Mitchell (27) during the first half at of last Saturday’s game in Nashville, Tenn. (Don McPeak/USA Today Sports)

Vanderbilt wide receiver Jonathan Krause (17), a South Gwinnett grad, stiff arms Austin Peay cornerback Buddy Mitchell (27) during the first half at of last Saturday’s game in Nashville, Tenn. (Don McPeak/USA Today Sports)

The successful years of late, in terms of sending his football players to college programs, have brought the perks for South Gwinnett head coach John Small.

He gets to watch many of them on TV, and see how much they’ve improved since they were Comets.

Two of those South grads are playmakers poised for big college seasons for BCS schools — Vanderbilt wide receiver Jonathan Krause and Iowa State running back Aaron Wimberly.

Krause has a different look, opting for a close hair cut instead of the trademark tall afro he sported in high school. He still has the same skills he did in high school, though, only he’s better.

“(Krause) has done real well,” Small said. “He’s gotten a lot bigger. He’s a fast kid. I think he’s got a chance at the next level possibly with his speed.”

Before he focuses on the NFL, Krause will help Vanderbilt continue its football resurgence.

The 5-foot-11, 182-pounder — up from the mid 160s in high school — had 56 catches for 483 yards his first three college seasons. He has eight catches for 126 yards this season for the Commodores, who play at South Carolina today.

Krause is more known for his punt return abilities, coming off a season where he averaged 11.2 yards per return. He took two punts back for touchdowns as a junior, including an 83-yarder vs. Wake Forest, becoming the first Commodore since 1968 to return two punts for scores in the same season. He was named to the College Football Performance Awards Punt Returner Watch List prior to this season.

Another speedy former Comet, Wimberly, is getting his first BCS football action this season.

The junior running back transferred to Iowa State in the offseason after two seasons at Iowa Western Community College. He chose the Cyclones over Iowa, Penn State, Boise State and TCU, raking in the offers after rushing for 1,125 yards and 13 TDs as an Iowa Western sophomore.

Wimberly’s first college game didn’t go so well for his team — Iowa State was upset 28-20 by Northern Iowa — but the 5-9, 173-pounder did well individually. He had eight rushes for 35 yards, caught a pass and returned a kickoff 31 yards.

His second college game is Saturday against ISU rival Iowa.

“Wimberly’s having a great year for Iowa State,” Small said. “He’s doing very well.”

VOLLEYBALL

North’s Howard gets historic honor

North Gwinnett grad Miller Howard got one of the first two awards bestowed on Georgia College and State University’s new volleyball program this week.

The freshman, along with teammate Rachel Reynolds, were both named to the West Georgia Invitational All-Tournament Team.

She earned the honor after posting the first double-double in program history with 12 kills and 11 digs against West Alabama. She averaged 1.77 kills and 2 digs per set during her team’s four tourney matches.

BASEBALL

Gouge gets top ranking

Valdosta State sophomore Michael Gouge, a Brookwood grad, was named one of the top 10 pro prospects in this summer’s Florida Collegiate Summer League by two publications.

Gouge is No. 9 on Perfect Game’s list and No. 10 on Baseball America’s rankings. The third baseman hit .272 during the summer’s regular season, then hit .500 during his team’s playoff and championship series games.

As a VSU freshman earlier this year, he hit .300 with 27 RBIs for the Gulf South Conference champions, who also reached NCAA Regionals.

Bethune helps summer league team to title

Mountain View’s Tyler Bethune, a redshirt freshman at Lipscomb University (Tenn.), helped his summer league team to the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League title.

The catcher had four hits in the postseason after hitting .235 with seven RBIs during the regular season for the North Fork Ospreys.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com.