PRATTVILLE, Ala. — A weather-related move to Thursday night for most of Alabama’s high school games meant a chance to check in on Ian Jackson of Prattville and a slew of other players headed to college football on the Central-Phenix City Red Devils squad.
The battle of Class 7A rivals ended with a 33-14 win by Central.
The game’s top prospect was the afore-mentioned Ian Jackson.
Jackson is a 6-2, 235 pound linebacker who checks all the boxes. And he’s Bama-bound.
Said Lions coach Caleb Ross of his star: “He’s been outstanding. He’s playing his best football when we need him the most. He’s played great all year.”
Ross added that Jackson got the game-clinching interception in last week’s Lions comeback win at Dothan. “He’s a leader, a great player and he plays big in big moments. He’s everything you want in a high school football player.”
Central coach Patrick Nix called him “A good player," but said that he focused more on schemes than individuals while preparing his team.
Unofficially, Jackson had eight tackles and a pair of quarterback pressures. He did miss two tackles. He showed the ability to stuff the run, edge rush the passer, and drop into coverage.
Seniors who shined included Central running back Joseph McKay, who opened the scoring with a 56-yard jaunt for six during which he broke a trio of tackles. McKay opened the second half by going 59 yards for another touchdown. The 6-1, 210 pounder is reportedly leaning to Tennessee but has interest from Kentucky, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. He has vision, strength, speed and quickness.
Prattville defensive end Tim Trotter is 6-4, 280. He’s hearing from South Alabama and a few FCS programs. Ross says he’s a sleeper,
Juniors to watch were, for one, Central’s quarterback Caleb Nix. He's 6-0, 200 and comes from good bloodlines considering he’s Patrick’s son and Bo’s brother. Caleb Nix can make most of the throws and has good pocket presence.
Prattville running back Albert Taggart is 6-0, 205, who is equally adept at running and receiving. One of his key blockers was 6-1, 280-pound Javon Harris, a guard who is probably going to play center in college. Collin Rodgers is a strong-legged kicker with an over 90 percent touchback rate.
Impressive sophomores included Central defensive end Tomarrion Parker, who is already 6-5 but needs to add to his listed 205 pounds. He has the ability to get the quarterback and showed it with a sack and several pressures.
Ross said defensive end Carmelo Smith is 6-2, 255 and is going to be a star.
Receiver and returner Kameran Shanks is 5-9, 167 and can fly. He has a little Jaylen Waddle in him and returned a punt for six in a loss at Hoover.
Reviewing the evening’s food, the press box at Stanley Jensen Stadium was catered by new local business Coach’s ‘Que, and the pork sandwich with white barbecue sauce was very good. The same could be said of the burger from the Band Boosters concession stand, which still remained moist and juicy even after being cooked well done.
And a Kool Aid update: Nix coached Pinson Valley senior corner/receiver Ga’Quincy “Kool Aid” McKinstry before leaving for Central. What position does Nix think “Kool Aid” will play at the next level? “Whatever he wants. He can be a great corner or a great wide receiver who is obviously one of the best players in the country.
“He can truthfully do whatever position that they ask him to do. Whatever position they need him to do, he’ll be great at it, no doubt.”
That’s great news for Crimson Tide fans, as Alabama has in the last ten days taken back the lead from Auburn for McKinstry’s signature according to multiple sources.
Next up on FNL, in two weeks on a Thursday night I will watch Alabama defensive line pledge Tim Keenan and his Ramsay Rams travel to Pleasant Grove, which features Kentucky wide receiver commitment Christian Lewis.