Each week ESPNHS will shine the light on a few non-seniors who are emerging as prospects to watch on the recruiting radar. Here is this week's Launching Pad.
DL Montravius Adams, Dooly County (Vienna, Ga.)
Adams is a stout, strong run-stopper with good pass rushing ability. The 6-2 ½, 280-pounder is quick off the ball and can disrupt an offense from the tackle spot. He was a second team all-Region 4 selection as a sophomore after posting over 70 tackles and 15 sacks in 2010.
This season he leads his team in tackles and is starting to get the attention of opposing offensive coordinators that look to slow him down with double and triple teams. College coaches have started to take notice as well. The defensive tackle reports an early offer from Clemson and is receiving mail from Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, and Oregon. Florida stopped by his school this week and he thinks they may be close to offering.
Last spring, he attended the Orlando Nike Combine and registered a 74.04 SPARQ Rating on the strength of his 40-foot power ball toss and 24-inch vertical jump. His performance landed him on the All-Combine team. He attended the Tallahassee Nike Camp a couple months later and held his own in a strong field that featured Faith Academy (Mobile, Ala.) DL Chris Casher, Lakewood (St. Petersburg, Fla.) DL Dante Fowler, and Pierce County (Blackshear, Ga.) DL Quavon Hicks.
Adams tells ESPNHS, “This season started off slow for our team dropping the first two games, but we’ve won six in a row. My goals for the season were to make the playoffs and finish with over 100 tackles.”
After Adams takes care of his junior season on the gridiron he will look to attend ESPNHS events again this offseason to increase his recruiting stock. – Kynon Codrington
OL Bradley Bozeman, Handley (Roanoke, Ala.)
Handley High is undefeated and sitting pretty at 9-0 this season and standout offensive line prospect Bradley Bozeman has had plenty to do with the team's success in 2011. Bozeman has been enjoying himself thoroughly in the trenches, on both sides of the ball.
“We are really dominating on offense and defense this season. I have been going both ways all year, and I haven’t graded below an 80 in any game,” Bozeman shared with ESPNHS, “I think we have what it takes to win it all this year.”
The 6-5, 315 pound offensive tackle committed to No. 2 Alabama way back in June, and doesn't seem to be wavering on that choice one bit.
“Recruiting has been going well. I haven’t taken any visits besides ‘Bama, and I am really loving Tuscaloosa a little more each time I go visit.” - Nick Ekbatani
WR Dylan Cantrell, Whitehouse (Whitehouse, Texas)
Cantrell has continued his spectacular breakout junior season since he was first featured in the Launching Pad a few weeks back, tying a single-game Texas state-record and also picking up his first scholarship offer.
On October 17th, Cantrell landed that elusive first scholarship offer from Ole Miss.
"It was great to get that first one," Cantrell told ESPNHS, "and I think there are a few more that will offer before season ends."
That would seem likely the way the season is going for the 6-2, 195 pound wide receiver. This past week in Whitehouse's 70-48 win over Pine Tree (Longview, Texas), Cantrell tied a Texas single-game state record with six touchdown receptions, catching eight passes for 197 yards all told.
"That win put us in the playoffs with 4-1 district record with two games to go, so that's what I'm most excited about."
Cantrell's season totals now read 61 catches for 1,007 yards and 17 touchdowns, and with two regular season games plus the playoffs remaining, has Cantrell thought at all about the single-season Texas state touchdown reception record of 33?
"I am just glad that we have made the playoffs after going 0-3 in non-district play. I hope we go deep in the playoffs, not because I want more touchdowns, but because I would love to play more games and win a state title.
"I know if we are clicking on offense that we are very hard to stop. I think we are improving every week. I think by playoffs we could be hitting our stride." - Brian Stumpf
DE Christian Lacouture, A&M Consolidated (College Station, Texas)
College Station’s own Christian Lacouture is slated to play his college career in his own backyard, as he has committed to play ball for Texas A&M, and ESPNHS recently caught up with the talented defensive lineman.
Lacouture moved into College Station from Permian (Odessa, Texas) this season and has made an immediate impact for A&M Consolidated.
“The season has been going well. We started off slow but we have won four straight, all against district foes, so we are picking things up and moving along.” Lacouture told ESPNHS on Wednesday.
“I believe I have been playing very well. We run a 4-2-5 defense and I'm playing tackle, however, I am more of a end prospect, more like a 3-4 DE, like Richard Seymour, in terms of where I'm going to fit in college. Texas A&M runs a 3-4, so I think I will transition smoothly.”
Lacouture reports that his commitment to the Aggies is rock solid, although he is still receiving plenty of attention from other schools.
“I committed way back in January – it is the place for me. My family likes it, I love the tradition, the coaches. I am really looking forward to playing for A&M.” - Nick Ekbatani
QB Eddie Stockett, McKeesport (McKeesport, Pa.)
Over the last few years, McKeesport High has used a wishbone offense to control the game and try to beat down opposing teams for a victory. With the emergence of quarterback Eddie Stockett and new head coach Jim Ward, the Tigers have changed their approach and have opened things up to maximize the talents of their quarterback. The 6-2, 210 pound junior has lead his team to a record of 6-2 and led an attack that has scored 40 points in every game except for the two losses.
On the year Stockett has completed 60% of his passes for 1,577 yards and 16 touchdowns with just four interceptions. As the season has progressed he has become more comfortable and confident running the new offense. Since the first week of the season he has only thrown two interceptions and thrown multiple touchdowns in the team's last three wins. He has also rushed for five touchdowns.
Still seeking that illustrious first offer to get things going, Stockett is waiting patiently and understands the process.
"It's all surreal to be getting letters and interest from colleges, I mean you grow up watching these schools and wanting to play for them and then you start getting letters from these teams; it just making me want to put in even more work to become a better quarterback," Stockett tells ESPNHS.
He first caught the attention of coaches and others with impressive workouts over the summer and was able to get to West Virginia for a game. Other schools that schools like Illinois, Northwestern, Pittsburgh and Stanford have reached have shown interest and will continue to monitor his progression.
This weekend comes another big challenge for Stockett and McKeesport with a matchup against 6-2 Gateway (Monroeville, Pa.), who the Tigers beat last year 28-14. Stockett then will lead the team into the playoffs and he believes that despite being looked at as an underdog they will be a tough challenge for whoever they play. - Michael White
Know of an underclassman prospect who should be featured in the Launching Pad? E-mail Kynon Codrington (Southeast),Nick Ekbatani (Linemen), Brian Stumpf (national) or Michael White (Midwest/Northeast) with your nominee.