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September 20, 2007

Rivals.com's staff of recruiting analysts offer thoughts on things they learned while on the road scouting some of the nations top prospects in this week's edition of From the Road. Here is a closer look at some of the sights, storylines and recruiting scoop from the big weekend in high school football.

From the Road Gallery

Mike Farrell, Rivals.com Recruiting Analyst
Good news for the Gators: Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep athlete Will Hill is about to end a very busy week. It started on Friday by leading his team to a 61-0 win over Memorial. In a half of play, Hill completed 5 of 6 passes, threw for a touchdown, ran for another and also scored defensively on an interception return.

Hill followed that with a flight to Gainesville for his long-awaited official visit to Florida. Hill was hosted by star quarterback Tim Tebow and hit it off with fellow 2008 defensive back Jeremy Brown who committed on his trip.

Hill was supposed to take an official visit to Southern California this upcoming weekend before making a decision, but the Jersey star will instead announce on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU at the ESPN Zone in Times Square. The recruiting process, which Hill hasn't been fond of, is about to be over and Urban Meyer will land his first five-star recruit for 2008.

Barton Simmons, Rivals.com Recruiting Analyst
Last Friday night in Nashville, Tenn., Hillsboro High School was at Montgomery Bell Academy for a matchup that pitted one of the top public school programs in the state against one of the top private school programs in the state. The game could be generalized into a showdown of size vs. speed. The size and strength of the MBA offensive line and defensive front against the speed and athleticism of Hillsboro's numerous offensive and defensive skill players.

Flash Gordon: In the first half, offensively and defensively, Eric Gordon was the player to watch for Hillsboro. Lining up at safety, the junior was all over the field and very active in the run game. Gordon showed great acceleration out of the back pedal and an eagerness to get involved in the run game. A huge solo tackle on fourth down turned away a promising opening drive for MBA. ( Gordon on defense vs. MBA)

On offense, Gordon was one of the top threats for the Burros and was dangerous every time he touched the ball. He ended the night with seven catches for 68 yards. Gordon, the brother of Mississippi State point guard Jamont Gordon, has potential to be one of the top junior prospects in Tennessee.

Prospect to watch: One intriguing prospect on the field was MBA's junior right tackle, Wesley Johnson. Johnson has height at 6 feet 5, but at just over 230 pounds lacks weight. However, through the first four games of the season, the 2009 prospect has been just as dominating as his fellow bookend, four-star Tennessee commit Preston Bailey. With the way Johnson finishes blocks, his stock will rise as his weight does. Come 2008, he could be a name to remember.

Volunteer help: It was a busy night for MBA's two University of Tennessee commits. Left tackle Preston Bailey was a dominating force on the offensive line all night, but his biggest play may have come on the other side of the ball. With the third quarter winding down and MBA clinging to a slippery five-point lead, Bailey came in at nose-guard for a crucial 4th and inches inside the MBA 30. Behind a push from Bailey, the MBA defense turned back the fullback dive for a huge momentum swing ( Watch play).

Bailey's fellow Tennessee commit Ben Bartholomew had his hands full all night trying to corral the shifty Hillsboro backs. But when the Big Red of MBA really needed a stop, the 6-foot-3 225-pounder provided it. Bartholomew snuffed out a fourth down attempt on Hillsboro's last offensive possession to secure the 17-12 win for the Big Red ( Watch play).

Barry Every, Rivals.com Recruiting Analyst
Skilled duo victorious in two OT's: Warner Robins (Ga.) Historic McConnell-Talbert Stadium was the sight of a North Georgia vs. South Georgia showdown where the visiting Central Gwinnett Black Knights were able to pull out a 27-24 victory over the Warner Robins Demons.

Class of 2009 backfield mates Diante Drake and Malcolm Moten, both did their part to pull out a hard fought victory for the Black Knights. Drake came into the game with all the accolades after his 195-yard performance against a good Dacula team.

"Watch out for No. 5," Central Gwinnett coach Dennis Roland warned before the game.

Moten (No. 5) turned two short passes into 65 and 55 yard lightning-strike touchdowns. He demonstrated extreme quickness and acceleration, and the ability to make guys miss even when they are on top of him. It's hard to believe after seeing him play that no college has contacted him yet.

Other highlights included a Warner Robins record 53-yard field goal by junior David Clark, who would later just miss a 57-yard attempt which had plenty of distance. The Demons also have a very impressive sophomore defensive lineman in Jeff Whitaker.

One to watch: Gainesville (Ga.) Chestatee class of 2009 linebacker Chase Vasser did not disappoint in his team's 49-10 victory over Dawson County. Coming off of a 20-tackle performance in week one versus West Hall, Vasser recorded double-digit tackles again with three sacks to go along with three tackle for loss.

When asked who he likes to emulate, Vasser responded, "Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher. Just ask my teammates, I bruise them every day in practice."

Right now, Wake Forest and Kentucky are pursuing this 6-foot-3, 200-pounder the hardest.

Chad Simmons, Recruiting Analyst
Mettenberger has some tools: One thing I learned while in Clarkston, Ga. last week was that Watkinsville (Ga.) Oconee Class of 2009 quarterback Zach Mettenberger has pocket awareness and his mobility was a little better than I thought originally.

He did not have many opportunities to throw the ball because of the way Oconee jumped on Clarkston early, but he had a very nice 31-yard completion. He felt the backside pressure on the play, so he stepped up in the pocket and threw a strike down the field off the wrong foot.

The arm strength is there, he has the size and he has a lot of the tools colleges will look for in 2009 if they are looking for a pure drop back passer.

Woods coming on: Athens (Ga.) Clarke Central offensive tackle Trevino Woods is kind of sliding under the radar. This big 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman committed to Kentucky when they offered him early, but some new schools are getting into the mix.

Georgia and Clemson are involved and could be close to offering. Woods is new to football and has only played the game for a couple of years, but he grew up playing basketball, so that has helped him with his footwork and his athleticism.

Woods is a name to watch as we get deeper into the season and closer to signing day because I expect more schools to offer this kid if he takes care of academics. His first SAT will be taken on October 6. If he does well, then look for the offers to arrive.

Leaving the state?: Jonesboro (Ga.) Mount Zion running back Martin Ward was one time committed to the University of Georgia, but it looks like now he is all but set on leaving the state.

The schools that look to be high on Ward's list are South Carolina, North Carolina and Clemson. Florida is on there too, but Ward does not seem as high on them now as he has been in the past.

The Dawgs and Ward look like they have parted now and the UGA rival Gamecocks of South Carolina could be the team to beat. Ward does not plan on making another commitment anytime soon.

Blowing up: Brookwood, Ga., running back Kenny Miles is starting to blow up and get some attention. He played very little last year behind a senior, but he has taken the job this year and run with it.

After three games, Miles has more than 700 yards and showed power, speed and the ability to find the end zone. This prospect has just hit the scene, so no offers are in yet, but look for his name to get out there a lot more over the next couple of weeks.

Standing out: Junior linebacker Brandon Watts of Washington County definitely looks the part.

Watts is close to 6-foot-2 and weighs 227 pounds. He is lean, ripped, in great condition and he really looks the part. He was bothered by a minor shoulder injury, so we did not get to see his full potential, but he still had a couple of tackles and showed good quickness.

He plays a little safety and linebacker at WACO, but he is a definite 'backer on the next level. Watts looks to be one of those prospects that could play any of the three linebacker spots, so that makes him even more valuable.

You will hear a lot about this 2009 prospect in the future. Georgia Tech has already offered and you can expect many more schools to follow.

From the Road Gallery

Previous From the Road: Sept. 6 | Sept. 13

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