High-SchoolGeorgia: ESPNHS All-State

Olson's bat makes Parkview a national power

April, 6, 2012
This story originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of ESPNHS Georgia.

When it comes to putting up weight in the gym, Matt Olson cedes strength honors to senior teammate Edwin Arias. But when it comes to power on the diamond, Olson stands alone.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder is one of the nation’s premier hitters and has a knack for crushing the ball, much to the dismay of opposing hurlers. That tremendous tool — along with an 89-mph heater — is why Olson is expected to be among a contingent of locals selected in this year’s MLB draft.

“I’m not the one in the weight room pounding out the weight, but the people who have helped me with my swing taught me how to use it effectively,” says Olson, a Vandy recruit.

His power was apparent early on as he cranked seven bombs as a freshman despite splitting time on JV. He followed that up by belting 15 long balls in full-time action as a sophomore and added another 17 last spring to power Parkview to its fourth Class AAAAA crown.

“He’s by far the best hitter since I’ve been here,” says skipper Chan Brown.

And don’t expect to see much of a dip in Olson’s production because of the new BBCOR bats. He regularly drilled lasers with the stick during the summer and launched a pair of moon shots during the first two weeks of the ‘12 season.

“Personally, I haven’t felt a huge difference with it,” says Olson. “And I don’t feel pressured to hit a homer every game. The guys surrounding me can do it just as much as me.”

Olson’s not being modest, either. The Panthers have run producers up and down the lineup with junior extra-base machine Josh Hart and Olson’s bash brother, Arias, capable of altering the outcome of a game with one swing. Teammates have dubbed the trio Shake, Bake and Quake.

“Of course, I’m Quake,” says Olson. “Home runs are pretty important to us. We look to drive the ball a lot.”

David Auguste covers high school sports for ESPNHS. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ESPNHS_Auguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.

Goodwin commits to Memphis, Carter to make decision tomorrow

November, 9, 2011
Shaq Goodwin announced his college destination with the simple tweet: "#memphisbound." The Southwest DeKalb senior forward and No. 1 hoops prospect in Georgia will join fellow Peach State native Damien Wilson of Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) at Memphis to give coach Josh Pastner the No. 22 recruiting class according to ESPNU.

The 6-foot-8, 245-pound Goodwin is the No. 19 recruit in the ESPNU 100 and also had offers from UCLA, Florida, Georgia, Memphis, Miami and Tennessee. He earned Class AAAA All-State honors last season after pouring in 18 points and hauling in 10.1 boards a contest. Goodwin is also an ESPNHS All-State first-teamer and will appear on the cover of the ESPNHS Georgia Hoops Issue along with teammate Jordan Price and Tony Parker and Brandon Morris of Miller Grove.

Shiloh's Robert Carter, the No. 2 prospect from the Peach State, is expected to make his decision Thursday live on ESPNU at 5 p.m. Carter, a participant at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 and the nation's No. 21 recruit, has a final three of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 20 points and 13 boards last season playing for Thomasville. Carter was also selected to the ESPNHS All-State first team.

Georgia All-State Stock Watch Vol. 5: The remix

October, 5, 2011
Halftime is when elite teams make adjustments so that things run smoothly in the second half. It’s no different for us at ESPNHS. Nearing the midpoint of the football season, we’re calling an audible on the All-State Stock Watch. We’re breaking things down to two categories: Doin’ Work and Falling Back. Doin’ Work will highlight an All-State player and a team featuring an All-State player that is performing at an elite level, while Falling Back will examine a team we identified as a contender at one time in our local rankings but hasn’t lived up to expectations.

As always, we value your input and encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Put me in, coach. I’m ready to play.

Doin' Work
Kenyan Drake, Hillgrove, RB
We knew we wouldn’t be able to keep this beast off the Stock Watch for long. Not when Drake is taking up permanent residence in the end zone and racking up 100-yard games quicker than Weezy and Drake drop No. 1 singles. The Alabama commit is teaching fans how to love Hillgrove football, rushing for more than 700 yards and averaging an insane 11.8 yards per carry. Drake has scored 13 touchdowns to power the Hawks to No. 10 in the POWERADE Georgia Football Rankings.

Jordan Jenkins and Harris County
Jenkins wasn’t about to let the Tigers fall below .500 after consecutive losses to Griffin and Whitewater. The senior lineman recorded back-to-back two-sack efforts as Harris County earned victories over Fayette County and McIntosh. With Jenkins and DB Rodquez Harris leading the way, the Tigers have limited opponents to 67 points during their 4-2 start. RB Tevon Moore, who broke a long scoring run against McIntosh, has helped ignite the team’s offense.

Falling Back
We showed Valdosta a lot of love last week moving them to the No. 5 spot in the local rankings, but the Wildcats could be looking at consecutive losses with a tough Lowndes team coming to town on Friday night. The Wildcats may have got caught looking ahead against MLK last week, as the offense had no punch in scoring a mere three points and managing a paltry 19 yards in the second half.

David Auguste is an associate editor for ESPNHS and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSAuguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.