Leftovers: What went right and wrong for Niceville in loss to Clay-Chalkville

Saturday went a bit differently than expected for the Niceville High School faithful.

In the Eagles’ season opener, they were soundly beaten, 44-23, by Clay-Chalkville at Hoover High, in front of a nationally televised audience.

There will be two print stories in Sunday’s paper, as well as a dandy dozen feature on Eli Stove, so here are a few items I didn’t get to in those — for space and relevancy reasons — what went right, what went not so right, and what it means.

What went right

  1. Shi’Kim Coward was strong in his season debut. His numbers aren’t going to pop off the page by any means, particularly when stacked up against Clay-Chalkville counterparts Tyrrell Pigrome and Terrelle West, who combined for 346 yards and four touchdowns on just 31 carries (11.2 yards per carry). But Coward finished with 76 yards on 14 carries, busting out two 15-yard runs and an 11-yarder. Nothing spectacular, but against a massive Clay-Chalkville line while Colby Tuthill and Drew Frederic struggled a bit at quarterback, it was solid.
  2. Pressuring the quarterback. Pigrome rarely had a comfortable pocket from which to throw. He was perpetually hurried or hit in the backfield, which forced him to scramble or find receivers breaking back off their routes. In retrospect, maybe this wasn’t such a good thing, as Pigrome proved a more than capable scrambler — “he looked like a tailback,” Niceville coach John Hicks said — and wound up doing far more damage with his feet than his arm. But for teams with more pocket-friendly quarterbacks, Niceville could provide a host of issues.
  3. Conversions. The Eagles went 2-2 on their two-point conversions — both Colby Tuthill passes — and didn’t miss an extra point. It may seem like a small positive, but those add up.

What went wrong

  1. Tackling. It wouldn’t matter if the Denver Broncos sent out their offensive line — any team that puts up 414 yards on the ground off of just 47 carries is getting help from the defense. Pigrome and West were constantly breaking tackles or simply avoiding them altogether, which leads us into point No. 2...
  2. The Big Play. Niceville picked up more first downs and ran more plays than Clay-Chalkville. How does this happen to a team that lost by three touchdowns? Allowing the big play. The Cougars scored touchdowns of 51, 44, 15, 84, 49, and 35 yards. On two of their possessions they scored on their first play, and two more touchdowns came on drives of five plays or less, hence the absurd average of 11.63 yards per play.
  3. Getting the ball in Eli Stove’s hands. Not including kick returns, Stove touched the ball just five times, and he averaged 17.6 yards per touch — 4 receptions, 1 carry.  Obviously that average is skewed by his 63-yard touchdown, but that’s one of his greatest assets: the ability to break it loose.

What it means

Well, precisely nothing. It was a regular season game, sure, and you always want to win, but it was against an out of state opponent and will have exactly zero bearing on playoff hopes. Basically, this was a glorified exhibition against a supremely talented football team.

If anything, Niceville should benefit tremendously from the loss, having now seen what it needs to work on in a real game situation against an opponent of equal or higher caliber than any the Eagles will see this season.

So, no, not much reason to worry, unless of course you’re Rutherford, and now you have to open your season against a pissed off Niceville team.

By TRAVIS MEWHIRTER/Daily News Published: August 23 21:59, 2014

Why Niceville will beat Clay Chalkville, and more for Saturday's opener

This will be the first of hundreds of blogs throughout the high school sports year on the all new “Prep Rally.”

And really, what better way to launch it than with a preview of one of the best football teams in the state of Florida playing one of the best football teams in the state of Alabama on national TV?

So, without further adieu, here’s a quick primer on Niceville vs. Clay-Chalkville.

Three things to expect

  1. Points. So many points. ESPN picked a good one to televise, pitting the highest scoring team in the state of Alabama (Clay-Chalkville scored 45 points per game last year en route to a 10-2 record) against a Niceville team who put up nearly 40 per game. Add in the fact that the Eagles return Eli Stove, took in Romeo Finley, and have a healthy Shi’Kim Coward while the Cougars return senior running back and Middle Tennessee State recruit Terrelle West (231 carries, 2,084 yards, 23 touchdowns in two years on varsity), and we’re going to have ourselves a high-scoring affair.
  2. Opened playbooks. In the long run, this game means nothing aside from a tally on one column or the other. A loss to an Alabama team is completely inconsequential for a Florida team’s playoff hopes and vise versa. There is no reason for Niceville coach John Hicks not to experiment a little with a few wrinkles he may have added in the offseason just to see what works.
  3. Heat. If you plan on attending the game, bring one of those awesome spray bottles with the little fan at the end, or a few tons of ice, or something. It’s forecasted to be 107 degrees on the field in Hoover on Saturday.

Three things to watch

  1. Colby Tuthill. It will be interesting to see how quickly the Fort Walton Beach transfer quarterback has meshed with his opponents-turned-teammates (Stove actually picked him off last year).Niceville has all the pieces on offense — running back in Coward, explosive receiving in Stove and Finley, stacked offensive line — so we’ll see how Tuthill does in his debut.
  2. Coward vs. West. Coward downplayed the significance of a running back battle between he and Clay-Chalkville’s speedy back, but this doesn’t mean there won’t be one. Coward is finally healthy, and West is coming off a huge year for the Cougars. There could be some large numbers put up between the two.
  3. Defense. It’s easy to look at the loaded offensive rosters and peg this to be a shootout, and I fully expect it to be one. But both Niceville and Clay-Chalkville are brimming with talent on the defensive side of the ball too. Clay-Chalkville returns nine starters from its 10-2 team from 2013, including three Division I recruits, while Niceville allowed more than three touchdowns just four times in its state final run last year.

Scouting report

Gary Lloyd of the Trussville Tribune was kind enough to provide a brief scouting report on the Alabama team. Here’s what he had to say:

“As far as Clay-Chalkville, very good team, obviously. Offense will be really good (scored the most point in Alabama high school football last season with 540) and defense returns nine starters. 

Terrelle West (Middle Tennessee) commit is the main RB. He can bull some people over, but he's one of the fastest players in metro Birmingham. Junior WR T.J. Simmons has 3 scholarship offers and is a threat downfield and across the middle. Tyrell Pigrome is the new QB, a junior who can run it and throw it. He has a lot to prove Saturday. Offensive line is always stout at CCHS. They provide good protection.

Defensively, LaDarius Harris is a senior DL who's committed to Southern Miss. Played LB until this year, but has gained a lot of weight and muscle. He's the strongest guy on the team, no doubt. He's a force. Kendell Jones is a DE committed to Mississippi State, and I think he still hasn't reached his potential. His size is great -- 6-4, 250 -- and he can play standing up or with the hand in the ground. He's primed for a breakout season. Kam Prewitt is a senior CB committed to Memphis. He's played safety throughout high school until this season, and I look to him as a ballhawk. The rest of the defense is comprised of "glue guys," but they're all really good. Small at LB positions but really fast.”

Prediction

Niceville 42, Clay-Chalkville 28.

This requires some transparency on my part. I’m still fairly new here. I have never seen a high school football game in Florida. I have never seen a high school football game in Alabama.

I have never seen Niceville play and had never heard of Clay-Chalkville prior to the release of the schedule.

I am, for lack of a more flattering description, completely clueless. The only thing I know about either of these teams comes from the dozen or so interviews I have done, several newspaper articles, emailing with Lloyd, and watching an hour of a Niceville practice in which they wore shorts and helmets.

I know next to nothing.

That said, I’m a sports writer, which means I always think I’m right when it comes to predicting games, and I stand by it.

Also, Lloyd offered his own prediction: Clay-Chalkville 38, Niceville 31.

Link dump

Niceville senior safety garners Dandy Dozen nod

Sharkie on the attack: Eagles’ senior hopes injuries are thing of the past

Preparing for earlier game, national TV gives Niceville extra urgency

Clay-Chalkville the 'team to beat' in 6A

Cougars open with Niceville on national stage

Clay-Chalkville defense brings confidence into 2014 season

By TRAVIS MEWHIRTER Published: August 21 20:57, 2014

Bracket madness: Here it is, pick by pick

This blog entry will be simple: You read along as I make my March Madness picks. It may be exciting, it may not be. Hey, nobody forced you to click the link.. The rules are simple: This is the first time I’ve picked a bracket this year. I’m going straight through, picking game-by-game. None of this “I’ll pass and come back to that game later” tomfoolery. Also, a few years ago, the NCAA added play-in games, thus the first round became the second round, the second round became the third round. Not here. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Here we go.

 

SOUTH

First Round

1 Florida vs. 16 Somebody Tech – No matter who wins the play-in game, this will be a romp for the country’s best team. FLORIDA
 

8 Colorado vs. 9 Pittsburgh – Two teams with terrible color schemes. I’ll take Pitt because of the Big East memories they gave me. PITTSBURGH
 

5 VCU vs. 12 Stephen F. Austin – Tough one because SFA assistant Erik Pastrana was at Northwest Florida State last year and he told me “we’re real good.” But way too many people are picking the upset. I believe in avoiding the fashionable 12/5 upset. Doesn’t matter, I’ll pick Stephen F. Austin. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN
 

4 UCLA vs. 13 Tulsa – Almost yearly now, there’s at least one second-round matchup of double-digit teams. That’s what I’m going for here. Tulsa is the pick. I am beginning to hate this bracket, and we are four games in. TULSA
 

6 Ohio State vs. 11 Dayton – I bet Dayton would love to knock off the in-state team that thinks they are so high and mighty. Then again, I’d love to be a millionaire. Ohio State. OHIO STATE
 

3 Syracusevs. 14 Western Michigan – Fun fact: I pick either Florida or Syracuse to go to Final Four nearly every single year. You’d be surprised how effective that can be. Now they are in the same bracket, and I sense trouble ahead…Syracuse. SYRACUSE
 

7 New Mexico vs. 10 Stanford – The girl who won our office pool last year is a diehard New Mexico fan. So yes, I am picking Stanford purely out of spite. Don’t judge me. STANFORD
 

2 Kansas vs. Eastern Kentucky – Not much to say here. Kansas rolls. KANSAS
 

 

Second Round

1 Florida vs. 9 Pittsburgh – I am nowhere near a Gator fan, but I seriously have picked Florida to the Final Four every year since their back-to-back titles. It kills me every time. This could be the year. FLORIDA
 

12 Stephen F. Austin vs. 13 Tulsa – I immediately regret picking these two teams. Stephen F. Austin to the Sweet 16. I hate this bracket so much. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN
 

6 Ohio State vs. 3 Syracuse – Ohio State seems to be the trendy pick here. Judging by my Reebok pump-up shoes, I’m not a trendy guy. Cuse. SYRACUSE
 

10 Stanford vs. 2 Kansas – I feel like Kansas is the most overlooked team in this tournament. I’m not sure why. Kansas. KANSAS
 

 

Sweet 16

1 Florida vs. 12 Stephen F. Austin – I have really enjoyed this ride, Stephen F. Austin. But it’s over. FLORIDA
 

3 Syracuse vs. 2 Kansas – Syracuse started 25-0, then struggled. I think that has caused people to sleep on the Orange. Never doubt Boeheim in March. SYRACUSE
 

 

Elite 8

1 Florida vs. 3 Syracuse – I knew it would come down to this. It’s like picking between my kids, except these two teams aren’t currently urinating on my houseplants. Long story. I’ll miss you, Gators. SYRACUSE
 

 

Final Four

Syracuse

 

EAST

1 Virginia vs. 16 Coastal Carolina – After the brutal South bracket, the East looks like the Over-30 league at the YMCA. Virginia wins. VIRGINIA
 

8 Memphis vs. 9 George Washington – I could spend 20 minutes breaking this game down analytically, or I could just rely on the fact I once saw Derek Rose at the Memphis airport. Memphis wins. MEMPHIS
 

5 Cincinnati vs. 12 Harvard – I love 12/5 games so much. They are always the perfect matchup. Cincy is under-valued though. CINCINNATI
 

4 Michigan State vs. No. 13 Delaware – Never doubt Tom Izzo in March, either. MICHIGAN STATE
 

6 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Providence – Both times I have ever won bracket challenges, UNC has won the national title. That does not bode well for either of us. NORTH CAROLINA
 

3 Iowa State vs. 14 N.C. Central – I spent the weekend in Jacksonville, and once I ran out of money 36 hours into my trip, I holed myself in the room to watch hoops. I saw Iowa State and I liked it. IOWA STATE
 

7 Connecticutvs. 10 Saint Joe’s – This bracket is such child’s play compared to the South and Midwest. UConn here. CONNECTICUT
 

2 Villanova vs. 15 UW-Milwaukee – Villanova might be the quietest 2 seed I’ve ever seen. No matter against UW-M though. VILLANOVA
 

 

Second Round

1 Virginia vs. 8 Memphis – Virginia is really good. I don’t know how far I can advance a team that calls themselves the ‘Hoos though. VIRGINIA
 

5 Cincinnati vs. 4 Michigan State – I am gonna regret this one. Gut feeling though says Cincinnati. CINCINNATI
 

6 North Carolina vs. 3 Iowa State – I feel the Iowa State train picking up steam. IOWA STATE
 

7 Connecticut vs. 2 Villanova – I work in sports for a living and I am only 75 percent confident I can name which conference these two teams play in. Sad for such a great old Big East rivalry. Nova is the first 2 seed out. CONNECTICUT
 

 

Sweet 16

1 Virginia vs. 5 Cincinnati – I want to pull the trigger here. Too risky. VIRGINIA
 

3 Iowa State vs. 7 Connecticut – I’m about to be driving the Iowa State bandwagon…IOWA STATE
 

 

Elite 8

1 Virginia vs. 3 Iowa State – And there it is. Iowa State to the Final Four. IOWA STATE
 

 

Final Four

Iowa State

 
 

WEST

1 Arizona vs. 16 Weber State – I think it’s crazy how easy ‘Zona’s road is compared to other No. 1 seeds. ARIZONA
 

8 Gonzaga vs. 9 Oklahoma State – Am I the only one who has a strong dislike for Gonzaga? I legitimately can’t explain it though. OSU. OKLAHOMA STATE
 

5 Oklahoma vs. 12 North Dakota State – Every tournament has at least one 12 over 5 upset. I’m picking two this year. NORTH DAKOTA STATE
 

4 San Diego State vs. 13 New Mexico State – My general rule is never trust a State that isn’t really a state. Or something. I don’t know. I’m getting loopy. SDSU. SAN DIEGO STATE
 

6 Baylor vs. 11 Nebraska – It may be a sign that I haven’t watched as much college bball as I needed to this year, but I had to double-check that Nebraska was really in the tournament. Yep, that’s them. Not for long, though. BAYLOR
 

3 Creighton vs. 14 UL-Lafayette – Watch, way too many people are going to hop on the Creighton bandwagon. They win here, though. CREIGHTON
 

7 Oregon vs. 10 BYU – Another example of my NWF State bias. Oregon’s Elgin Cook was an All-American here, so that’s my pick. OREGON
 

2 Wisconsin vs. 15 American – Back to my kids. My son washed my iPad with shaving cream and soap two weeks ago. If he does it again, I’m punishing him by making him watch an entire Wisconsin basketball game. WISCONSIN
 

 

Second Round

1 Arizona vs. 9 Oklahoma State – This is probably Arizona’s toughest matchup in the entire region. They’ll win, but barely. ARIZONA
 

12 North Dakota State vs. San Diego State – I once spent a week in Fargo. It was 82 degrees in June and the locals kept apologizing for how hot it was. Irrelevant, but I liked it. NDSU to the Sweet 16. NORTH DAKOTA STATE
 

6 Baylor vs. 3 Creighton – Remember that Creighton bandwagon? Let me off here, please. BAYLOR
 

No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 2 Wisconsin – I just can’t pick Wisconsin. Ever. I don’t know why, but watching UW basketball depresses me. OREGON
 

 

Sweet 16

1 Arizona vs. No. 12 North Dakota State – Fargo was also a very interesting movie. Then again, so was Raising Arizona. Don’t look at me like that, it’s all I’ve got at this point. ARIZONA
 

6 Baylor vs. 7 Oregon – Well, as far as color schemes go, this game would be disgusting. Oh well. Oregon to the Elite 8. OREGON
 

 

Elite 8

1 Arizona vs. 7 Oregon – I’m a sucker for conference matchups in the Elite 8. Arizona is my second 1 seed to Final Four. ARIZONA
 

 

Final Four

Arizona

 
 

MIDWEST

1 Wichita State vs. play-in winner – Unbeaten, and WSU got the toughest bracket that I can remember in a long time. Oh well, them’s the breaks. WICHITA STATE
 

8 Kentucky vs. 9 Kansas State – People say Wichita State got a raw deal because they’ll get a talented Kentucky team in the second round. No they won’t. KANSAS STATE
 

5 Saint Louis vs. 12 NC State/Xavier – I don’t like any of these three teams to make a run I’ll stick with seeds at pick Saint Louis. SAINT LOUIS
 

4 Louisvillevs. 13 Manhattan – Former NWF State all-american Chris Jones is at Louisville, and he retweets me at least twice a week. I’m sold. LOUISVILLE
 

6 UMass vs. 11 Tennessee/Iowa – I am an SEC fan, diehard. So far I’ve picked Cuse to beat Florida and I have Kentucky going out early. I’ll make up for it with Tennessee advancing here. TENNESSEE
 

3 Duke vs. 14 Mercer – How well would you do on a test of which state each tourney team comes from? I think I’d do fine, but I’d whiff on Mercer. DUKE
 

7 Texas vs. 10 Arizona State – Texas is another team that I pick irrationally each March. TEXAS
 

2 Michigan vs. 15 Wofford – Wofford. The Terriers. Is that right? Are they the terriers? Either way, Michigan wins. MICHIGAN
 

 

Second Round

1 Wichita State vs. 9 Kansas State – Hard to believe that Wichita State’s reward is either Kentucky or an in-state rival in the second round. I like Shockers so much though. WICHITA STATE
 

5 Saint Louis vs. 4 Louisville – Louisville had a guy break his leg in half and still won the title last year. What have you done today? Slacker. LOUISVILLE
 

11 Tennessee vs. 3 Duke – I want to pick Tennessee here, I do. But this bracket is so loaded, I want to keep the top 4 seeds intact. DUKE
 

7 Texas vs. 2 Michigan – And to do that, Michigan has to win here. MICHIGAN
 

 

Sweet 16

1 Wichita State vs. 4 Louisville – Steve Forbes was 62-6 in two years at NWF State with Chris Jones as his star guard. Now, Forbes is an assistant at Wichita State, Jones is at Louisville. The student beats the teacher. LOUISVILLE
 

3 Duke vs. 2 Michigan – A rematch of last year’s fantastic national title game in the Elite 8? Yes, please. MICHIGAN
 

 

Elite 8

4 Louisville vs. 2 Michigan – And Louisville wins the rematch. LOUISVILLE
 

 

Final Four

Louisville
 

 

National Semifinals

3 Syracuse vs. 3 Iowa State – Iowa State’s run ends, Syracuse plays for another national title. SYRACUSE
 

1 Arizonavs. 4 Louisville – The defending national champs are taken out by the most complete team in the tournament. ARIZONA
 

 

National Championship

3 Syracuse vs. 1 Arizona – For the first time since 1997, the Arizona Wildcats will become the national champions. Or maybe not. Who knows? Man, this is going to be fun. ARIZONA

By BRANDON WALKER / Daily News Published: March 17 22:34, 2014

Auburn rallies, Ole Miss rolls and Wisconsin gets bedeviled

Sports Editor Brandon Walker's views on another wild Saturday in college football.

Auburn 24, Mississippi State 20: Both teams absolutely had to have this game in order to become bowl-eligible.

Only Auburn played like it, however.

Despite three turnovers and an offense that struggled for much of the game, Auburn survived its first gut-check of the Gus Malzahn era.

Quarterback Nick Marshall engineered an 88-yard drive in the game’s final two minutes when Auburn absolutely had to have it, helping the Tigers show more fight in one drive under Malzahn than they showed in 12 games under Gene Chizik last season.

The stomach-punch of a loss is crippling to a Mississippi State team that seems to invent new ways to lose when it visits the Plains. It’s the second straight trip to Auburn that has gone south on Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs on the final possession, and it seems to be emblematic of a program that, for whatever reason, can’t get over the hump in close SEC games, having won just three of 10 games under Mullen that have been decided by a touchdown or less.

For Auburn, the come-from-behind win is a shot in the arm for a program that has lacked momentum recently. Now 3-0, the Tigers are halfway to bowl eligibility. With non-conference games remaining against Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic, as well as SEC games left against Ole Miss, Arkansas and Tennessee, Auburn has a path to a possible eight-win season in Malzahn’s first season. At the very least, the Tigers will almost certainly go bowling.
 

Ole Miss 44, Texas 23: Ole Miss entered the 2013 season with plenty of momentum, thanks to surprising 7-6 season in Hugh Freeze’s first year and a top 10 recruiting class.


So far, the Rebels have done nothing to slow that momentum as they’re off to the program’s first 3-0 start since 1989. While I believe the fast start is a product of playing a disappointing Vanderbilt squad and a Texas team that is nearing Mack Brown Cliff on Mediocre Mountain, 3-0 is 3-0.


A reality check could be looming for Ole Miss in the form of a trip to Tuscaloosa next week, but Freeze hasn’t made a misstep during his season-and-three games in Oxford, and the Rebels look poised to win at least eight games.
 

Arizona State 32, Wisconsin 30: Like most of you, I spent much of Saturday watching college football. Following the Alabama-Texas A&M game, the Auburn-Mississippi State game and a host of others, I was nearly comatose on my couch after goring myself on a buffet of football.

Half-asleep, I found myself paying semi-close attention to Wisconsin-and Arizona State, which seemed to begin around midnight Sunday morning. With Arizona State nursing a 32-30 lead and Wisconsin in prime position to kick a game-winning field goal, Badgers’ QB Joel Stave appeared to run to the middle of the field and take a knee, setting up a spike that would stop the clock and set up the FG attempt.

However, the Pac-12 officials were all apparently trying to make sense of the latest plot twists on Breaking Bad, as not one of the six officials involved looked interested in spotting the ball and giving Wisconsin a chance to win the game. Instead, with an Arizona State defender laying on the football like he was asleep, the officials simply let the clock expire and the sprinted off the field like showcase winners on The Price is Right running to view their prize.

It was one of the more stunning endings I’ve seen in a long time, and someone owes Wisconsin an apology – and a win.
 

By BRANDON WALKER / Daily News Published: September 16 21:47, 2013

What to Watch For: NFL Draft

In eight days, the dreams of two local players could begin to come true. The NFL Draft opens on Thursday, April 25, and local fans should keep an eye on two players with area ties:

 

Akeem Spence, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound defensive tackle from the University of Illinois, is a 2009 graduate of Fort Walton Beach. Spence, a Second-Team All Big-Ten selection during his time at Illinois, graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications in December and opted to skip his senior season to declare for the NFL Draft. Ranked third among all defensive tackles in bench press reps with 37 at the NFL Combine, Spence has been projected by numerous draft prognosticators to go anywhere in the 3-5 round range, with projections varying.

 

Terren Jones is a 6-foot-8, 345-pound mountain at left tackle, and he's also a graduate of Choctawhatchee High School. After four solid years at Alabama State and a career that included three-straight All-SWAC selections, Jones could be a wild card in this year's draft, with small school experts believing he has a very strong chance to get drafted. Jones has a private workout with the Atlanta Falcons scheduled for this Friday, and reports have indicated the teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks are high on the Choctaw product.
 

I will be talking to Jones on Wednesday morning to get an update on his thoughts as the draft nears, and I'll hopefully get Spence on the phone later this week.

By BRANDON WALKER / Daily News Published: April 16 22:16, 2013

Draft

In eight days, the dreams of two local players could begin to come true. The NFL Draft opens on Thursday, April 25, and local fans should keep an eye on two players with area ties:

Akeem Spence, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound defensive tackle from the University of Illinois, is a 2009 graduate of Fort Walton Beach. Spence, a Second-Team All Big-Ten selection during his time at Illinois, graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications in December and opted to skip his senior season to declare for the NFL Draft. Ranked third among all defensive tackles in bench press reps with 37 at the NFL Combine, Spence has been projected by numerous draft prognosticators to go anywhere in the 3-5 round range, with projections varying.

Terren Jones is a 6-foot-8, 345-pound mountain at left tackle, and he's also a graduate of Choctawhatchee High School. After four solid years at Alabama State and a career that included three-straight All-SWAC selections, Jones could be a wild card in this year's draft, with small school experts believing he has a very strong chance to get drafted. Jones has a private workout with the Atlanta Falcons scheduled for this Friday, and reports have indicated the teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks are high on the Choctaw product.

I will be talking to Jones on Wednesday morning to get an update on his thoughts as the draft nears, and I'll hopefully get Spence on the phone later this week.

By derpina derpington Published: March 4 10:33, 2013

Draft

In eight days, the dreams of two local players could begin to come true. The NFL Draft opens on Thursday, April 25, and local fans should keep an eye on two players with area ties:

Akeem Spence, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound defensive tackle from the University of Illinois, is a 2009 graduate of Fort Walton Beach. Spence, a Second-Team All Big-Ten selection during his time at Illinois, graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications in December and opted to skip his senior season to declare for the NFL Draft. Ranked third among all defensive tackles in bench press reps with 37 at the NFL Combine, Spence has been projected by numerous draft prognosticators to go anywhere in the 3-5 round range, with projections varying.

Terren Jones is a 6-foot-8, 345-pound mountain at left tackle, and he's also a graduate of Choctawhatchee High School. After four solid years at Alabama State and a career that included three-straight All-SWAC selections, Jones could be a wild card in this year's draft, with small school experts believing he has a very strong chance to get drafted. Jones has a private workout with the Atlanta Falcons scheduled for this Friday, and reports have indicated the teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks are high on the Choctaw product.

I will be talking to Jones on Wednesday morning to get an update on his thoughts as the draft nears, and I'll hopefully get Spence on the phone later this week.

By derpina derpington Published: March 4 10:24, 2013
 

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