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August 19, 2011
The first weekend of football for the 2011 season will be a busy one for Rivals.com Southeast analyst Keith Niebuhr. On Friday, he'll be in South Carolina to watch Orangeburg-Wilkinson face Bamberg-Ehrhardt. The following day, it's off to Atlanta's Georgia Dome for a fantastic quadruple-header. Here are five things he is looking forward to seeing this weekend:
1. Robert Nkemdiche: Any list of the country's top juniors would have to include the Loganville (Ga.) Grayson defensive tackle. He's big. He's powerful. He's intelligent. He plays with fire. His technique is advanced. Nkemdiche's team will go in the first game Saturday at the dome. While I've seen him compete at camps, this will be my first time having watched him in a game. One legendary coach said last week Nkemdiche is the most talented player he has seen in 25 years in the Peach State. That's saying something. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder has the size of a tackle, but the athleticism of a linebacker. He's really something else.
2. Class of 2014 standout Kevin Crosby: The Bamberg-Ehrhardt sophomore already claims more than 10 offers. Who has pulled the trigger? Well, Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas Tech to name a few. The 6-2, 225-pound Crosby, the coach's son, is a physical specimen. But those around him say he also possesses an advanced football IQ for his age. By the time his team's 13-1 state runnerup season ended in 2010, he already had started a handful of games and become a key contributor even though it was his first semester of high school.
3. Printz to Hegedus: With 2013 quarterback Eddie Printz and senior wideout Charlie Hegedus, Marietta Lassiter has one of the top passing game tandems in the South. Printz threw for more than 2,000 yards as a sophomore; Hegedus, an N.C. State commit, hauled in 42 receptions in 2010. With these two on the field, Lassiter figures to have an explosive - and entertaining - offense. But it certainly should be challenged by Brookwood, which always puts out a solid product. Success in the passing game against great teams with great coaches often requires a great game plan, and the ability to adjust on the fly. This should be an interesting chess matchup.
4. The legacies: A few athletes taking part Saturday in the dome have well-known fathers. Peachtree Ridge cornerback Ray Buchanan Jr., a three-star talent, is the son of former NFL defensive back Ray Buchanan. Marietta Walton has Kentucky defensive back commits Daron Blaylock and Zack Blaylock, who are twins and the sons of former NBA player Mookie Blaylock.
5. The people movers: The four games at the dome will feature several future FBS offensive linemen, including Kofi Amichia (McEachern), Jackson Buonamia (Brookwood), Alex Jauregui (Peachtree Ridge ), Brandon Kublanow (Walton) and Fred Zerblis (Grayson). Kublanow, a junior, was dominant, overpowering and just plain nasty at an NUC camp this summer in Atlanta. If he's that good in an actual game, his future should be bright. Amichia is a USF commit.