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High school football: Stepping into spotlight

POSTED: August 24, 2011 12:37 a.m.

On of the aspects of high school football that makes it unique is the year-to-year discovery of new talent. 

Whether it’s an underclassman whose weightroom work ethic pays off or a senior who has patiently waited his turn for a starting spot, every season new stars emerge.

This list highlights some of those players who tasted the bright lights last fall and who are now primed for a breakthrough.

Quan Clark, Chestatee

Grade: Junior

Position: Running back

Height: 5-10

Weight: 180

Notable: Clark was thrust into a featured role in the War Eagle backfield as a sophomore and thrived in it, topping 700 yards rushing. Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell points out Ben Souther, who accepted a scholarship offer to Air Force, was the last War Eagle to rush for more than 600 yards as a sophomore, and has high hopes that Clark can follow a similar career path.

Darius Curry, Flowery Branch

Grade: Junior

Position: WR/DB

Height: 6-1

Weight: 190

Notable: His older brother C.J. has received more attention after originally committing to Georgia and recently switching to Oklahoma State, but Darius is major-college prospect as well. He stood out on North Hall’s defense last season and should get an opportunity to show is skills at receiver for Flowery Branch. He holds offers from Tennessee and Oklahoma state, among others.

Keyontra Harris, Gainesville

Grade: Junior

Position: Wide receiver

Height: 5-8

Weight: 150

Notable: Being undersized didn’t stop Harris from making a splash as a sophomore, when he led the team in receptions (31) and finished second in receiving yards (478). He has an explosive burst that makes him dangerous with the ball in his hands, and the Red Elephants take advantage of his speed by looking for him on screen passes.

Chandler Newton, West Hall

Grade: Sophomore

Position: Quarterback

Height: 6-1

Weight: 190

Notable: The Spartans coach’s son showed big ability when he got his chances as a freshman, finishing with 750 passing yards, including nearly 300 in a win over Walnut Grove. While his opportunities were divided by the presence of senior Shunquez Stephens a year ago, the position is all his now. He’s also expected to contribute at free safety, where he started last season.

Dalton Whitfield, White County

Grade: Sophomore

Position: RB/LB

Height: 6-1

Weight: 220

Notable: On a team loaded with seniors, Whitfield forced his way into the starting lineup as a freshman and finished third on the team in tackles with 92 for the 8-AAA North subregion champs in 2010. A year later, he’s the only starter left and will be looked to as a leader on the Warriors’ defense. White County coach Bill Ballard believes he has the ability to become a college prospect.



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