Photo by Derrick Mahone
Aaron Adwater will move from the outside linebacker spot to the middle linebacker position in hopes of being more of a playmaker for the Eagles this season.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Aaron Adwater will move from the outside linebacker spot to the middle linebacker position in hopes of being more of a playmaker for the Eagles this season.

At the beginning of each season, coaches find themselves having to replace top quality players. This season is no exception as the 2011 season is set to begin tonight. Derrick Mahone takes a look at players that have big shoes to fill this season in replacing former all-star caliber teammates.

Scott Barlow

School: Eagle’s Landing Christian

Grade: Senior

Who he replaces: Christian Reeves

How good was Reeves: Last season, the 6-foot-4 Reeves was called the best wide receiver in Class A. He had 43 receptions for 872 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is a freshman at ACC powerhouse Virginia Tech.

What Barlow did in 2010: He was mainly a backup on a talent-laden team that reached the Class A quarterfinals. He only had two receptions for 28 yards.

What’s expected in 2011: The Chargers return all-state candidate quarterback Aaron Spratlin alonw with Keyante Green, who has rushed for over 1,000 yards the last two seasons. Barlow is expected to be the top receiver for the Chargers, who are expected to have a potent rushing attack.

Barlow says: “Those are some big shoes to fill in taking Christian place. I feel like I can be a good receiver, and now is my year.”

Dejuan Smith

School: Dutchtown

Grade: Junior

Who he replaces: Ryan Kay

How good was Kay: He won the first two playoff games for the Bulldogs last season. Kay had 15 fields goals, three over 50 yards, and averaged 43 yards per punt. Kay earned a scholarship to Troy, a Football Bowl Subdivision team in the Sun Belt Conference. Full scholarships to kickers in college are very rare.

What did Smith do in 2010: This is his first time kicking. His main position is linebacker.

What’s expected in 2011: Dutchtown coach Jason Galt says that replacing Kay is nearly impossible and might be the hardest position to field of any in the area. Galt says that Kay’s punting is perhaps the biggest hold to fill. Kay was good at limiting the opponents fill position, and he always put the ball in the end zone on kickoffs. Without that luxury this season, the Bulldogs’ kickoff coverage team will have to work this season.

Galt says: “We might not punt at all this season. We may go for it every time. There's a school in Arkansas where the coach never punts. Even if they’re on their own 5-yard line. We have went old school and got him a leather kicking shoe.”

Aaron Adwaters

School: North Clayton

Grade: Junior

Who he replaces: Amarlo Herrera

How good was Herrera: Over the last two seasons, the former all-state linebacker had 300 total tackles. He was the Clayton News Daily/Henry Daily Herald Clayton County Player of the Year last season. Herrera is now at Georgia, as part of the much-heralded “Dream Team” recruiting class. Until sustaining a shoulder injury during preseason drills, Herrera was competing for playing time on the defense.

What did Adwaters do in 2010: He had about 80 tackles last season playing opposite of Herrera in the Eagles’ 3-5-3 defensive scheme.

What’s expected in 2011: The coaches are looking for an increase in tackles as they move him to the middle spot on the defense. He is also being counting on to be more of a vocal leader, not only on defense, but the entire team.

Adwaters says: “There will not be that much of a dropoff between me and Amarlo. He was able to cover more ground than me, but I have the ability. I just have to hustle more and lead this team.”