With so much talent in the area, it is easy to miss some. Here are some names and numbers that may be flying under the radar this season.
DE Chaz Cheeks East Hall
His teammate and fellow defensive end Sterling Bailey may be the most well-known Viking, but coach Bryan Gray is high on Cheeks, too.
His presence on the defensive line gives East Hall a formidable front four.
LB Lance Chuvala Lumpkin County
He may not get the recognition of some of the area’s most highly touted linebackers, but Region 7-AAA running backs are already well-acquainted with Chuvala.
He’s led the Indians in tackles for two straight years.
WR/LB Ishmail Nuckles West Hall
Nuckles made his name known last season as a junior when he posted nearly 100 tackles.
This year he’ll be taking on the added responsibility of being one of the team’s go-to receivers, and the spotlight could follow.
WR/DB Lucas Redd Jefferson
Redd did a little bit of everything for the Dragons last season, racking up 104 tackles while also starting at wide receiver and kicker.
This year he takes his ball-hawking skills to the secondary and should play a bigger role on offense after Jefferson lost a bevy of playmakers.
RB Mantevius Rucker Johnson
Rucker’s entering his third season as a starter for the Knights and local fans may think they’ve already seen what he has to offer. But he’s only a junior and now he’s up to 215 pounds.
Last year’s 786-yard output may be only a hint of his ability.
RB Teryan Rucker Gainesville
On most teams, Rucker could be the star, but due to the Red Elephants’ abundance of firepower, his 1,430 all-purpose yards last year went somewhat unnoticed.
Make no mistake, though, he’s a big part of what makes the offense go.
LB Corey Sanderson Flowery Branch
During the Falcons’ run to the state title game last year, Sanderson was third on the team in tackles, but the sacks and the headlines went to the standout seniors.
Now, Sanderson is the senior and he’ll be looked up to by a young defense.
RB Peyton Wilhoite North Hall
At 220 pounds with good speed, Wilhoite is a battering ram ready-made for coach Bob Christmas’ Wing-T offense.
He was third on the team in rushing last year and second in touchdowns. The Trojans usually feature numerous backs, but Wilhoite seems primed to be a leader in 2009.