Here’s a look at the Spring of 2012 Top 5 teams. On Saturday we will have numbers 6-10.
No. 1 Ensworth _ How do you beat Ricky Bowers and his Ensworth Tigers?
Ensworth is coming off back-to-back D-II Private school state championships and is heavily favored for a third consecutive.
Bowers is one of the most intellectual football and basketball coaches in America.
He is trying to be the first coach in D-II state history to win three consecutive D-II state championships since he did the same thing at MBA from 2000-2002.
Senior Cornelius Elder is the top returning football player in the state for the 2012 season.
The Ensworth running back/free safety/kick returner was the TNVarsity.com Co-Junior of the Year after rushing for more than 2,100 yards and compiling 2,993 all-purpose yards in 2011.
The 2010 D-II AA Tennessee Mr. Football finalist and 2011 winner has scored 56 touchdowns in three seasons.
He also intercepted five passes this season from his free safety post.
Ensworth returns playmaking QB Andrew Bowers, LB Anthony Batey , DL Shoman White, LB Andrew Freeland, LB D’Andre Ferby, LB Brennan Washington, OL Nicholas Brown, OL Jay Heins, DB Justin Lloyd, WR Myles Pasley, DT Cody Pack, OL Xavier Forrest , C Parker Wade, G Michael Sawyers and kicker Jake Estes.
There’s no reason to believe that Ensworth will not be the top team returning to the football fields in August in the Volunteer State.
No. 2 Maryville _ The Rebels will likely again be the best public school team in the state of Tennessee.
Does Coach George Quarles necessarily have the best talent in the state?
Probably not, but has he had the top talent in the state on any of the teams that won state championships?
Quarles and his experienced staff has been together for years and has the know how to build a championship football team.
Maryville has won 13 state championships in football and Quarles has been the head coach for the past nine (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011 when Maryville defeated then undefeated Whitehaven for the title.
Under Quarles, Maryville has a record of 179-13 and finished the 2011 season with a 23-7 state championship victory over Whitehaven.
The Rebels have three returning starters back on offense and five coming back on defense.
So, is this the year that Maryville falls?
No, because there’s not a team on the Rebels schedule that would be favored over them today and by the time the playoffs start Quarles and his staff will have Maryville playing championship football.
Maryville has to be the choice to repeat as the 6A state champions regardless of who the Rebels have coming back.
Junior running back Shawn Prevo is the key returning starter after two seasons as the Rebels feature back. He is joined in the backfield by senior Trenton Shuler.
Quarles will have to decide between quarterbacks John Garrett and Nick Myers to replace Patton Robinnette, who is now at Vanderbilt.
There’s also talk that Maryville may have artificial turf before the 2012 season starts and a JumboTron scoreboard could be added at Shields Stadium.
No. 3 Whitehaven _ The Tigers are one of the best teams without a kicking game that you will find.
Nobody in Tennessee does a better job of getting his kids into college programs than Whitehaven head coach Rodney Saulsberry.
The Tigers were 14-1 last season and are loaded with prospects that have speed and athletic ability.
Mark Dodson (RB, Sr), Gerald Perry (WR/DB, Sr.), Adam Collins (LB, Sr.), Darrius Sims (DB/ATH, Sr.), Vincent Hunter (OL, Sr.), , Justin Hunt (WR, Sr.), Patrick Smith (QB, Sr.), Andra Smith (DE, Sr.), Racquan Robinson (LB, Sr.), David Rivers (DB, Sr.), Gerald Bates (DL, Sr.), Roderick Owens (RB, Sr.) are talented seniors to be. Nevertheless, Whitehaven has a wealth of talent of underclassmen too.
With improvement on special teams and if Patrick Smith develops as the starting quarterback Saulsberry and his Tigers could be back in the state championship game again.
No. 4 Memphis University School _ The Owls have running backs Fernando Hook and Shane Tucker and top wide receiver Devin Perry returning.
Jordan Rodgers is expected to step in at quarterback in an effort to replace two-year starter Toby Baker.
The defensive side of the ball will be talented for MUS with linebacker prospect Ford Howell being joined by LB Peyton Klawinski, LB Trey Moore, and DB Lucas Crenshaw.
MUS will be one of the teams that will have a say in who the DII-AA state champion is this season.
No. 5 Brentwood Academy _ New head coach Cody White has as many talented prospects as any team in the state.
Max Staver is a strong-armed quarterback who is getting plenty of attention from recruiters. DB Jalen Ramsey is regarded as one of the two best athletes in Tennessee for the Class of 2013.
Add to that list, WR C.J. Sanders, RB D’Montre Wade, DL George Theragood, DL Jackson Pittman, DL Derek Barnett, DB Aaquil Anoor and DB Rashaan Gaulden.
Expect another year with the Eagles putting a lot ot talented players on the field who have the ability to be possibly the best team in the state.
However, will Brentwood Academy be better than Ensworth?