Jeff Hurndon Photography / Twelve Most Wanted selection Isaac Rochell of ELCA hasn't had the statistically dominant year like last season due to an injury that forced him out of four games.
At the beginning of the season, the Clayton News Daily/ Henry Daily Herald sports staff chose its annual Southern Crescent Twelve Most Wanted list.
With the regular season winding down, the staff takes a look back at the selections to see how they have been performing.
Travis Custis, Lovejoy
Why he was chosen: Coming into the season, he was considered one of the top returning running backs in the state. He was named a preseason all-state selection, and a three-star recruit by the majority of the recruiting services.
Meeting expectations: With Lovejoy having several blowout wins, Custis has seen limited playing time in the majority of the ninth-ranked Wildcats region games. On the season, he has rushed for 1,002 yards and 14 touchdowns on 116 carries. He also has 14 catches with one going for a score.
Coach Al Hughes says: “He’s a phenomenal football player. We’ve had great ones in the past, and hopefully we’ll have some great ones in the future. But he’s a fabulous football player.”
Taurean Ferguson, Jonesboro
Why he was chosen: Ferguson is a speedster who excelled on both sides of the ball as a junior. He committed to Vanderbilt last spring and has played a large role on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Meeting expectations: With many opposing defensive scheme concentrating on him, the wide receiver has been able to excel despite some double teams. He has 11 receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Ferguson is also one of the leaders on defense and has become stronger against the run.
Coach Tim Floyd says: “He has really stepped up to another level. On defense, we are playing him a lot up on near the line. He has had a great impact on special teams.”
Zane Fields, Lovejoy
Why he was chosen: Coming off a standout junior season, the defensive end/linebacker was one of the top players on a strong defensive unit. Not only do the Wildcats coaching staff look for Fields to be a leading tackler, he also a vocal leader. Fields, who is being recruited by several Div. I programs, is strong coming off the edge.
Meeting expectations: With several blowout wins, he is only playing about three quarters a game for one of the top Class AAAAAA defenses. When he is in the game, Fields has had a great impact. He has 31 tackles, three sacks, four caused fumbles and 12 quarterback hurries.
Coach Al Hughes says: “He’s just having a breakout year. He’s really stepped it up this year. First year playing as an outside linebacker. He was like new money when he came out this year. He’s been special.”
Keyante Green, ELCA
Why he was chosen: The running back/linebacker has been a four-year starter at the Class A school and been one of Henry County’s most accomplished players. He entered the season with over 3,000 career rushing yards, 300 career tackles and has been at the forefront of the Chargers’ emergence into a state title contender.
Meeting expectations: Green got off to a hot start, especially in a road win at Briarwood Christian of Alabama, but missed three games with an injury. In four games, Green has rushed for 423 yards and eight touchdowns on 38 carries. He returned from injury with a bang rushing for 123 yards and three touchdowns on just eight carries against Holy Innocents’.
Coach Jonathan Gess says: “[Keyante] still averages 11 yards a carry. Some of the load has been taken off of him by having [quarterback] Dalton [Etheridge] being able to throw and run. But he’s still a leader of our team.”
Jordan Harris, Dutchtown
Why he was chosen: At 6-foot-5, 330 pounds, Harris is one of the area’s most imposing offensive lineman. He’s been a starter since his sophomore season, when he helped Dutchtown to an 11-2 record and quarterfinals appearance. Harris was coming off an appearance in the 2011 Georgia Junior Bowl.
Meeting expectations: Dutchtown associate head coach Terry Herrod says Harris is having his best season yet. Harris has graded out at over 90 percent on his blocking assignments and has seven pancake blocks. The Middle Tennessee commitment is a leader on an offensive line that’s helped the Bulldogs rush for 213 yards a game.
Coach Jason Galt says: “Jordan is playing the best he’s ever played. This year he’s been pretty dominant. He’s gotten a lot of pancake blocks. The lights have finally turned on for him on how to play offensive line. It’s been a pleasure to see the progression he’s made.”
Arshad Jackson, Lovejoy
Why he was chosen: Coming into the season, he was rated one of the top tight end prospects in the state. At 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, Jackson was a hybrid type receiver who possesses good size, speed and skill set. He towers over most cornerbacks and other defenders.
Meeting expectations: He might not have as many catches as he would like, but Jackson said he has worked on improving his blocking this season. The Auburn commit has four touchdown receptions, three coming in one game. He also have 12 catches for 148 yards.
Coach Al Hughes says: “He’s become a complete player for us and has become a great leader on this team. He is just one of our skill guys that can do pretty much anything you ask him. He’s a target you can't miss.”
Donovahn Jones, Dutchtown
Why he was chosen: After a flurry of attention by college coaches during the spring and summer, Jones entered the season as an emerging star with the ability to play quarterback, safety and even wide receiver. At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Jones is a three-star recruit by several recruiting services.
Meeting expectations: Jones has been as good as advertised. The senior quarterback has passed for 1,139 yards, 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions and rushed for 575 yards and six touchdowns. Jones committed to new SEC member Missouri in September. As one rival coach put it: “He’s special. You don’t go to the SEC by accident.”
Coach Jason Galt says: “We always knew he was a great athlete, but this year he’s really shown what kind of quarterback he can be. He’s completing over 65 percent of his passes. He’s making really good decisions. ... He’s surpassed my expectations.”
Tevin Jones, Luella
Why he was chosen: Jones was a starter since the day he entered the Lions program as a freshman. But the defensive lineman really started to emerge this summer after putting on more weight. At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Jones got the attention of college coaches.
Meeting expectations: Now, Jones is committed to Georgia State and has already matched or eclipsed several of his statistics from last season. Jones has 49 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and eight quarterback hurries. He’s also recovered three fumbles and scored a touchdown off a blocked kick.
Coach Nic Vasilchek says: “I think Tevin’s having a great season. We were really excited to see how he would play with the extra weight and strength he got in the offseason. It’s clearly made a great impact.”
Isaac Rochell, ELCA
Why he was chosen: The 6-foot-5, 260 pound defensive end was ranked the No. 7 senior prospect in Georgia by Rivals.com coming off a season in which he had 97 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and seven sacks. His mix of size and strength had just about every significant college football program in the country offering scholarships, but Rochell chose Notre Dame in early June.
Meeting expectations: Rochell hasn’t been able to match his statistical dominance of last season after suffering a broken hand that’s caused him to miss four games. Rochell just made his return in the Chargers’ 62-0 victory over Mount Vernon last Friday. He’s playing with the injury thanks to a heavily-wrapped cast.
Coach Jonathan Gess says: “He’s still a dominant player. You can’t block him. I’m excited to see how he’s going to finish. His leadership has really allowed us to continue the success we’ve had with him out.”
Cameron Sutton, Jonesboro
Why he was chosen: Might be the most versatile player in the area. He can play running back, wide receiver, and quarterback on offense. Rated as one of the top players in the state by several recruiting services. The three-sport athlete committed to Tennessee just before the state of the season.
Meeting expectations: As expected, several opponents have concentrated on trying to prevent Sutton from having the ball in his hands. He has 22 receptions for 407 yards and three touchdowns. Sutton, who also stars on the baseball and basketball teams, has four rushing touchdowns and has returned a kickoff for a score.
Coach Tim Floyd says: “I’m real pleased at where he is at this season. Cam has definitely elevated his game to another level. He is really helping others on the team to be better.”
Terrance Waugh, Henry County
Why he was chosen: The defensive end is sort of a late bloomer after transferring from Union Grove. He came into the season with several Div. I school interested in recruiting him. Although the team has not fared as well, Waugh is having a solid season.
Meeting expectations: Since the start of the season, Colorado State and Missouri have shown interest. He has been the leader on the defensive side of the ball. Waugh has 60 tackles and seven sacks.
Coach Joe Dupree says: “He is the best player we got on the defensive unit. Teams have been trying to double team him. He is meeting all the expectations that we have for him.”
Troy Wyche, Riverdale
Why he was chosen: The linebacker was expected to be one of the team leaders. The improvement on the defense has been one of the big keys to the team’s success.
Meeting expectations: Coming into the year, Wyche has drawn interest from several colleges. He averages double figures in tackles for the Raiders, who are in the hunt for a playoff spot.