What to watch for: 2016 Bearcat football breakout players
The opening game for the 2016-17 Bainbridge High School football game is now just over a month away.
The team has multiple holes to fill on both sides of the ball following the departure of seniors, including wide receiver Tyler Storey and defensive end Calvin Isom. On both sides of the ball there are multiple players poised to take that next step forward and have breakout seasons in 2016-17.
On offense, the wide receiver Zyon McGee and guard Ernest Williams are poised to breakout and become major contributors this season. McGee spent last season as the number two receiver behind Storey, but he enters this season as quarterback Brett McLaughlin’s primary target.
Last season he had 31 receptions for 387 yards and three touchdowns.
“[McGee] will have the same chances as Tyler had to make a lot of catches and get a lot of receiving yards,” head coach Jeff Littleton said.
According to Littleton, McGee has worked this summer to improve his route running and his hands.
“He’s shown a lot of potential this summer getting more consistent catching balls,” Littleton said. “He’s grown a little bit. He’s a lot stronger and faster. We look for him to do a great job for us out there.”
On the offensive line, three-year starters Christian Glover and LaDarius Garnes occupy the left side, but on the right side Littleton is looking for Ernest Williams to step up at guard.
“[Williams] need to have a breakout year,” Littleton said. “He’s gotten stronger and pretty much our left side of our line are three years starters.”
On defense the team is looking to replace multiple starters, including five players on the defensive line. The only returning starter on the line is defensive end Devin Morris.
“He’s really worked hard in the weight room,” Littleton said. “Gotten a lot stronger and doing something this summer. So we look for him to have a great year.”
Morris had 30 tackles including eight for loss in 2015. He also had seven quarterback hurries, including two sacks.
Also looking to breakout is cornerback Vonderious Campbell.
“He needs to have a breakout year,” Littleton said. “He’s got real good feet, real fast, real quick, and good closing speed.”
Campbell is expected to be the team’s top corner and cover the opponent’s top receiver.
“He’s worked hard to improve his hands, so hopefully he’ll do some good things at the corner spot,” Littleton said. “You always want to have at least one defensive back, a corner, that can shut down the other team’s best receiver, and hopefully he’ll be able to do that.”
Campbell had 38 tackles last season and tied for the team lead with nine passes defended, including one interception.
On special teams, Littleton said he expects punter Clark Wiggins to continue to improve and become an important contributor.
“He’s really worked hard this year as far as camps and he even went to some combines where he did well,” Littleton said. “I look for him to be a big plus.”
He averaged 31.3 yard per punt last season on 48 punts.
This is the first article in the season preview series. Check back next week for a breakdown of the position battle at wide receiver.
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