BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The scene was historic Legion Field. The game was for the region crown. The contestants were Pleasant Grove and Ramsay. And there were lots of college prospects and recruiting fans and writers on hand.
Final score: Ramsay 33, Pleasant Gove 26.
The PA announcer spent a lot of time calling the name “Timothy Keenan III.” He had around 10 stops and a quarterback hurry.
Ramsay's Keenan is committed to Alabama and following in the footsteps of other Birmingham area nose tackles before him. Josh Chapman, Da'Ron Payne, Quinnen Williams and DJ Dale have done well for themselves with the Crimson Tide.
Said Rams Coach Reuben Nelson: "[Keenan’s] doing a good job. He’s gotten bigger and he’s gotten smarter He’s tried to get better on his technique and not just rely on being the biggest guy on the field. He plays the game smarter and we benefit from him being the smartest man on the field.”
Added Pleasant Grove's Darrell LeBeaux on Keenan: “He’s special. I think the kid, if he wants to, can play the game of football for a long time. He can control the game himself. He’s not only a talented kid, he’s an awesome kid I’ve gotten a chance to know personally. He’s definitely a great kid and an even better football player.”
On one play, Keenan showed great mobility by coming from nose guard to the sideline to make s tackle and force a punt.
Keenan is a classic nose man. He plugs the run nicely. He is, as "Dandy" Don Meredith used to say on Monday Night Football, "Mobile, agile and hostile."
Unfortunately, Keenan left the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained knee sustained on a cut block. It could have been worse.
Seniors who shined included Pleasant Grove wide receiver Christian Lewis, a 6-3, 185-pound play maker. He knows how to use his height and will do well in Lexington with the right quarterback. He is a possession receiver with good hands who runs good routes.
Current SEC comparisons are Seth Williams of Auburn and George Pickens at Georgia. Lewis caught a 29-yard touchdown pass.
Ramsay's Jeremiah Williams is a 6-3, 200-pound outside linebacker with SEC ability who is currently uncommitted. Florida and Auburn are heavily involved.
Juniors to watch include UAB offer DeMarcus Lacey of Pleasant Grove. No offense to Bill Clark’s program, but his 6-1, 180-pound speedster can play at a higher level. He can FLY, and showed it by taking the opening kick 91 yards to the house. He is a solid running back and a good receiver out of the backfield. He could blow up this summer.
LeBeaux added that guard Anez Cooper, a road grader at 6-4, 330, has offers from South Carolina and Georgia Tech among others.
Ramsay safety Jalen Wright is a hard-hitting linebacker listed at 6-0, 215.
Super sophomore: Ramsay safety James Jones is versatile enough to play both safety spots according to Nelson.
One freshman stood out. Pleasant Grove’s LeBeaux said 5-9 corner Camren Wormley plays a lot of nickel and had two picks last week against John Caroll. He added that Wormley is a top-rated point guard in the hoops class of 2024.
There was a road warrior in the stands Thursday. Chris McCreless loves high school football and he doesn't just talk the talk. McCreless in on a journey hoping to see every high school stadium in the state. There are over 400. McCreless is from Geraldine, Ala.
"It’s been amazing. It’s been great," said McCreless. " My wife Stephanie tags along and takes the pictures and shoots the videos [of the stadiums.] We both love high school football.”
Thus far McCreless has seen 122 stadiums this calendar year, so he’s about 25 percent done. There will be a recorded interview with McCreless airing on Friday Night Lights radio this week on Tide 100.9 FM and the app. It should run around 6:30 p.m.
Those who are veteran readers know I love whole catfish so I can eat the tails. On my 62nd birthday Monday, I tried a place I'd never been by taking a 30-minute ride to Brent, Ala. The Sawmeal has some good catfish! It was hot, crispy, not real greasy and came with a piping hot baked potato. Also, they have a salad bar, Covid-be-darned. It was good too, as was the sweet tea and service.
Next up: The hope is to see Gordo junior quarterback Tanner Bailey when he returns from injury. That could be next Thursday. It could be the next week in the playoffs. We shall se. He has a Bama offer and a good relationship with Nick Saban and Steve Sarkisian. Get well soon, Tanner!