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High school football: Valdosta board will reconsider firing of embattled coach Rush Propst - OFFICIAL
High school football: Valdosta board will reconsider firing of embattled coach Rush Propst
Rush Propst, the well-traveled and embattled former high school football coach at Valdosta (Ga.), might get a second chance, media reports indicate. The Valdosta City Schools will revisit the coach's April 27 firing Monday after a board member who supported Propst motioned for the special meeting, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Wednesday.

The school board voted 5-3 to dismiss the coach amid allegations of the coach illegally recruiting five players to Valdosta, including Californian Jake Garcia. However, Warren Lee, one of the three to back Propst, called for the board to reconsider the decision. An announcement post on the school board website read "Revisit non-renewal of head football coach at VHS - Mr. Warren Lee - action required."

That means the board could reinstate Propst, even after the Georgia High School Association upheld the $7,500 fine levied on the program in addition to forcing the school to forfeit seven wins in 2020 and banning the team from the 2021 playoffs.

In February, Propst was the subject of a lengthy deposition that alleged he was involved in recruiting, mishandling money and even interfering in the hiring process that brought him to the program to begin with. Michael Nelson, who has been involved with the Valdosta Touchdown Club booster organization for many years, said in his sworn deposition that Propst, among other things, paid for housing for two transfers, facilitated recruiting of players with the help of college coaches, asked for a "funny money" slush fund and meddled in his own hiring process.

Propst owns a career record of 299-92 – including 7-5 in his lone season at Valdosta – and has won seven state titles during a high-profile, 30-year career. He garnered national attention while at Hoover (Ala.), which was featured on MTV's popular "Two-A-Days" reality show. He resigned there in 2007 and was dismissed at Colquitt County (Norman Park, Ga.) in 2019 after being charged with lack of compliance, improper conduct with students, dishonesty and misuse of public funds and property.

The AJC reported Propst remains under investigation by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, which can deny teaching certificates. The commission pulled Propst's credential after his Colquitt County dismissal, but regained in on appeal, leading to his hiring at Valdosta.
Former Valdosta coach Rush Propst
File photo by Gary McCullough
Former Valdosta coach Rush Propst
2021 NFL Draft: Trey Lance leads Top 10 under-the-radar high school players selected - OFFICIAL
2021 NFL Draft: Trey Lance leads Top 10 under-the-radar high school players selected
Dozens of high school football players every year miss the attention of experts and recruiters and eventually go on to productive college careers. But those surprise kids or late bloomers making it all the way the the NFL are extremely rare.

Here are 10 of the biggest surprise under-the-radar recruits who were selected in last week's 2021 NFL Draft.

1. Trey Lance
Marshall (Minn.) | Quarterback
Third pick (first round) | San Francisco 49ers

Though clearly recognized as a top athlete, Lance was projected more of a running back or safety, or even basketball player, coming out of Marshall. He had a late growth spurt. He played in a run-oriented offense and once attempted more than 20 passes in a game. One Big Ten school even offered him a scholarship as a linebacker.

He was ranked the No. 49 dual-threat quarterback in the country as a senior by 247Sports composite after throwing for 3,026 career yards and 33 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,177 yards and 18 more scores. The then 6-foot-4, 195-pounder (he's now listed at 224) had seven college offers, the biggest one from Boise State, before signing at North Dakota State, which produced Carson Wentz and Easton Stick.

"We always thought he'd be a running back," Longtime Marshall coach Terry Bahlmann told CBS Sports. "But in terms of athletes I had over the years, he'll go right to the top. He played strong safety for us, returned punts, returned kicks. I remember his freshman year, I told my wife, Jan, he was a special athlete. I just didn't know what he was gonna do yet."

2. Zaven Collins
Hominy (Okla.) | Linebacker
16th pick (first round) | Cardinals

A three-star recruit, Collins had one college offer and took it at the University of Tulsa. From the Class of 2017, he ranked 2,142nd overall by 247Sports, and the 148th best athlete. He obviously leaped over many on the way to 16th overall selection.

3. Payton Turner

Westside (Houston) | Defensive end
28th pick (first round) | Saints

Like Collins, he had one offer and he took it at the University of Houston. A two-star recruit, Turner was ranked the 272nd best player out of Texas from the Class of 2017 and 117th best defensive end in the country. His overall national recruiting rank: 2,548.

4. Richie Grant
Choctawhatchee (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) | Safety
40th pick (second round) | Falcons

Another player with one offer, the two-star recruit signed at the University of Central Florida where he arrived as a wide receiver. From the Class of 2016, Grant's 247Sports Composite rankings: Florida (352), national receiver (357) and overall national (2,520).

5. Dillon Radunz
Becker (Minn.) | Offensive tackle
53rd pick (second round) | Titans

Without an FBS offer, Radunz instead attended FCS power North Dakota State where he starred with Lance. Radunz earned a national recruiting ranking, but it was at 3,828 and No. 165 as a defensive end. He found his calling on offensive side, plus he put on 36 pounds of muscle from high school.

6. Spencer Brown
Lenox (Iowa) | Offensive tackle
93rd pick (third round) | Bills

One of at least two who played 8-man football in high school, Brown did it all at Lenox, where he racked up 24 catches for 388 yards and seven touchdowns as a receiver. He also lettered in basketball and baseball, earning first-team all-conference in all sports. He had no stars or no offers out of high school, but grew to 6-9, 311 pounds by his third season at Northern Iowa. He entered at 6-8, 238.

7. Quinn Meinerz

Hartford (Wis.)| Offensive line
98th pick (third round) | Broncos

No recruiting stars as a prep, Meinzerz found his way to Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater. In high school, he earned All-State honors honorable mention, while also competing in wrestling, and track and field. He was attracted to Wisconsin-Whitewater's business program and glad they had a football squad.

8. Elerson Smith
Minneapolis South (Minneapolis) | Defensive end
116th pick (fourth round) | Giants
A teammate of Brown in college, Smith was a no-star recruit out of high school and Northern Iowa was his only offer. He entered at 6-6, 205 and left at 6-7, 245. He hasn't played since 2019.

9. Robert Rochell
Fair Park (Shreveport, La.) | Cornerback
130th pick (fourth round) | Rams

Another recruit with no stars, Rochell signed at the only FCS school that offered, Arkansas State. At Fair Park, he earned All-District and All-Shreveport honors in 2016 when he rushed for 922 yards and had 25 catches for 465 yards, but no interceptions (three pass breakups). He had speed, however, finishing third in the state 100 meters (10.8 seconds).

10. Jacob Harris
Palm Harbor University (Fla.) | Wide receiver
141st pick (fourth round) | Rams

The Rams went for back-to-back longshots, and a soccer player to boot. Harris didn't play football until his senior year at Palm Harbor and was recruited as a soccer player. He had five goals in 14 games as a senior. On the gridiron, he rushed for 231 yards, had 46 tackles at safety and 215 more yards as a returner. With no recruiting stars or offers, Harris walked on at Western Kentucky before transferring to UCF, where he didn't see significant playing time until he was a senior.
Virginia crowns first spring football champions in high school history - OFFICIAL
Virginia crowns first spring football champions in high school history
Like any other year, the Virginia High School League crowned six state football champions Saturday afternoon in six different classifications. But these were clearly different.  From all records MaxPreps has researched, Virginia is the first state to ever award football championships in the spring.

The Riverhead Gladiators were officially the first ones crowned, with a 65-29 victory over the Galaxy Maroon Tide in the Class 1 title game. A 34-point second-point explosion led the Gladiators to their 10th straight win of the season. They outscored opponents 483-119 on the season. 

Perennial East power Oscar Smith (8-0) followed with a 62-21 Class 6 title win over South County, and Stone Bridge (8-0) took the Class 5 crown with a 13-10 overtime win over Highland Springs. (See all the champions below).

The VHSL was one of 15 states to move the traditional fall 2020 season to the spring due to COVID-19 pandemic. Of those states, 11 decided on abbreviated spring seasons, with just three opting for playoffs. North Carolina and Rhode Island have scheduled state championship games next week.

According to MaxPreps senior writer and historian Kevin Askeland, no states have ever held football championships in the spring, although one in California was scheduled in 1919. That title game was called off when Orange League champion Fullerton disbanded a month before the scheduled contest.
Oscar Smith turned around a loss in the 2019 VHSL Class 6 title game with a resounding 65-21 win over the Stallions on Saturday.
File photo by Fred Ingham
Oscar Smith turned around a loss in the 2019 VHSL Class 6 title game with a resounding 65-21 win over the Stallions on Saturday.
2021 Spring VHSL State Football Championships

Class 1Full bracket can be found here - 2020 Virginia High School Football Playoff Brackets: VHSL Class 1
NFL Draft: 10 players who could've been first-round picks out of high school - OFFICIAL
NFL Draft: 10 players who could've been first-round picks out of high school
The NFL Draft is set for tonight in Cleveland, Ohio, with 32 NFL teams prepared to choose from among the nation's best college players. But what if they were able to choose high school players?

Baseball, hockey and basketball professional leagues have all drafted players right out of high school while the NFL requires a player to be three years removed from his graduating class. Opponents of drafting players out of high school into the NFL site maturity level, physical strength and quickness and knowledge of the game as reasons why prep players just aren't ready.

However, there are always those precocious players mature beyond their years who possess the size, strength and speed to compete at the professional level. The emergence of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence as a "once-in-a-generation talent" leads those to wonder if Lawrence might have been a first-round pick right out of high school.

MaxPreps takes a look at 10 players, including Lawrence, who were "once-in-a-generation talents" in their own day. Not all of them succeeded in the NFL while others have gone on to be Hall of Famers. The argument here is that all 10 were phenoms coming out of high school and highly likely that some NFL general manager would have been willing to take a first-round gamble on their potential.
Jadeveon Clowney, South Pointe
File photo by Ron McCann
Jadeveon Clowney, South Pointe
10 NFL-ready players out of high school

Trevor Lawrence, Cartersville (Ga.), 2017
Resume:
The presumptive first pick in this year's draft has been the nation's most coveted quarterback since his freshman year at Cartersville. The No. 1 ranked quarterback in his class throughout his high school career, he's been labeled by some scouts as the greatest quarterback prospect of all-time, along with Hall of Famer John Elway. He became a starter early in his freshman season at Clemson and led the Tigers to a national championship.
Why he would be drafted: At 6-foot-6 and and 208 pounds, Lawrence definitely had the size that NFL scouts like to see in a quarterback. However, he also has arm strength, quickness, maneuverability in the pocket, and passing instincts that make him a once in a generation playcaller.

Herschel Walker, Johnson County (Wrightsville, Ga.), 1979
Resume:
He was the biggest thing to ever happen in Wrightsville (Ga.) in 1979. Colleges from all over the country came to the small town of 2,000 people to watch Walker practice. He rushed for 3,167 yards and 45 touchdowns as a senior, a rushing record that lasted for 21 years. He was a Heisman Trophy candidate as a true freshman after rushing for 1,616 yards. He left Georgia after his junior year to play football in the USFL and eventually played 12 seasons in the NFL.
Why would he be drafted: Very few running backs coming out of high school have ever had the total package that Walker presented. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, he was big for a halfback. However, he was also the fastest player on the field — he won the 100 and 200-yard dashes at the state meet — and one of the strongest, he was a state shot put champion as well.

Jadeveon Clowney, South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.), 2011
Resume:
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Clowney had strong credentials as a edge rusher coming out of high school. He had 69.5 sacks in his three years on the varsity, including 29.5 as a senior when he was regarded as the nation's No. 1 overall recruit regardless of position. He was a two-time All-American in college at South Carolina, starting as a freshman and essentially recognized as college football's best defensive player by his sophomore season. He's a three-time Pro Bowler in the NFL.
Why would he be drafted: Clowney was not only viewed as the top player in the class of 2014, but that he would have been the top player in many other classes as well. At 6-5, 250 pounds, he'd already developed into a player capable of playing at a much higher level.

Adrian Peterson, Palestine (Texas), 2003
Resume:
One of the more recent players who could have made the jump, Peterson was the national player of the year while running for 2,950 yards as a senior in 2003. The following year as a true freshman, Peterson finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting after rushing for 1,925 yards. He has since gone on to become the fifth all-time leading rusher in NFL history.
Why would he be drafted: Peterson has given several interviews to ESPN, noting that he felt he was capable of making the jump from high school to the pros. According to an article by Len Pasquarelli in 2007, Peterson is often named by talent evaluators as the player who most capable of making the jump.

Marcus Dupree, Philadelphia (Miss.), 1981
Resume:
The most prized high school prospect in the nation in 1981, Dupree scored on his very first possession as a freshman and finished his career with 87 touchdowns. When he arrived on campus at Oklahoma, head coach Barry Switzer reportedly said, "He was the best player on the field ... physically ready, as a true freshman, to be the best player on a great college team. Maybe even ready for the NFL at that age." Dupree came through as a freshman, rushing for 1,144 yards and earning second team All-America honors. However, he left Oklahoma after his freshman year and ended up playing the USFL at the age of 19. After a brief stint with the Los Angeles Rams, Dupree was out of the NFL due to injuries.
Why would he be drafted: Dupree was 210 pounds as a freshman in high school, eventually growing to 235 pounds. He also had sprinter speed, reportedly posting a 4.29 40-yard dash.

Andy Katzenmoyer, Westerville South (Westerville, Ohio), 1995
Resume:
A 6-foot-5, 240-pound linebacker in high school, Katzenmoyer devastated opponents with his speed and instincts. He was named the best player, not just linebacker, in the Detroit Free Press's Best in the Midwest rankings. USA Today named him National Defensive Player of the Year. He was Mr. Football in Ohio. He was also the top linebacker on the Parade Magazine All-America team. As a true freshman at Ohio State, he beat out a Butkus Award finalist from the year before, Greg Bellisari, at middle linebacker and set school records for sacks and tackles for loss while earning All-Big Ten honors. Ohio State had the nation's top passing defense with Katzenmoyer leading the way.
Why would he be drafted: Speed, instinct and tackling ability were Katzenmoyer's trademarks (his coach at Westerville South held him out of tackling drills to prevent other players from getting hurt, according to the Detroit Free Press). A neck injury as a rookie brought a premature end to his career.

Cookie Gilchrist, Har-Brack (Natrona Heights, Pa.), 1953
Resume:
Gilchrist was the top player in Pennsylvania in 1953. Just a junior, Gilchrist was one of the leading scorers in the state with 184 points on 24 touchdowns and 42 extra points. He earned all-state honors, receiving the most votes on the team. The problem for Gilchrist, however, is that he was ineligible to play as a senior. WPIAL rules prevented any senior who turned 19 prior to Sept. 1 from playing. Gilchrist turned 19 in May of his junior year. Fortune found Gilchrist in the form of Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown, who signed Gilchrist to a contract. However a disagreement led to Gilchrist leaving the Browns. He did play in the Ontario Rugby Union (a precursor to the Canadian Football League) as a 19-year-old. He later played in the AFL and was the AFL MVP in 1962.
Why would he be drafted: Obviously talented enough to gain the attention of Paul Brown, who had coached the Browns to an 11-1 record and a runner-up finish to Detroit in the NFL championship game.

Orlando Pace, Sandusky (Ohio), 1993
Resume:
Pace was bigger than most professional offensive linemen when he was still in high school. At 6-foot-8, 320 pounds, Pace was the state lineman of the year as a senior while also earning All-America honors. He became one of just two Buckeyes to ever start as a true freshmen. He is the only two-time winner of the Lombardi Award, winning it as a 20-year old sophomore. He's in the NFL and College Halls of Fame.
Why would he be drafted: Size alone would have made Pace a tempting pick. He's one of the largest players ever selected to the Hall of Fame. However, he was also characterized as being very athletic for a player his size. It was those attributes that made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft.

Bill Fralic, Penn Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1980
Resume:
A four-year starter at Penn Hills, Fralic helped his team win three WPIAL championships. As a senior, he earned the Dial National Athlete of the Year Award, which had been given the previous year to Herschel Walker. A two-way lineman, Fralic had 15 sacks as a senior, but he found his way into the starting lineup at Pittsburgh as a college freshman. He eventually earned consensus All-America honors twice and was twice a top 10 finisher in the Heisman Trophy voting. He was a four-time Pro Bowl player in the NFL with the Falcons.
Why would he be drafted: Fralic's versatility would have been a huge bonus as he was able to play on both the offensive and defensive lines as well as tight end. He dominated high school opponents with his quickness and strength.

Bronko Nagurski, Bemidji (Minn.), 1926
Resume:
More legendary stories have been told about Nagurski than probably any NFL player in history. Noted for his incredible strength, speed and agility, Nagurski was a powerful runner on offense, but also strong enough to play offensive tackle. He ran the 100-yard dash in 10.2 seconds and reportedly had a 19.5 inch ring size — the largest of any NFL Hall of Fame member. He reportedly could have played any position on the field during the 1930s, including quarterback. He threw several touchdown passes in leading the Bears to two world championships.
Why would he be drafted: At 6-2, 220 pounds, Nagurski was bigger than over half of the linemen on the Chicago Bears when he joined them. His natural strength made him such a valuable player at the University of Minnesota and later with the Bears.
High school football: Valdosta program hit with $7,500 fine, postseason ban for using ineligible players - OFFICIAL
High school football: Valdosta program hit with $7,500 fine, postseason ban for using ineligible players
Valdosta (Ga.), the winningest high school football program in history, was hit with a historic punishment this week by the Georgia High School Association over alleged recruiting violations and lack of institutional control, according to media reports.

The school was fined $7,500 and the football team banned from the 2021 postseason as five players from the 2020 team were deemed ineligible. Valdosta finished 7-5 last season and reached the AAAAAA semifinals. The school's 939 wins are the most in prep history, though victories with ineligible players become forfeits.

Valdosta coach Rush Propst remains on administrative leave last month after allegedly asking former booster club director Mike Nelson for "funny money" to help recruits and their families with rent and other expenses.

GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines announced the fines as $1,000 for each of the five ineligible players as well as $2,500 for "lack of institutional control."

"The evidence is clear that this is not an isolated instance (of recruiting) and that Coach Probst (sic) and members of the Valdosta Touchdown Club have on other occasions contacted other student athletes or their families and provided gifts of money, payment of utilities and housing incentives in an attempt to persuade those student athletes to transfer to Valdosta High School," Hines told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Among the ineligible players was Jake Garcia, who transferred to Valdosta from California. He played one game for Wildcats before being declared ineligible and transferring to Grayson, where he helped the Rams to a AAAAAAA title. Garcia is now enrolled at the University of Miami.

Propst owns a career record of 299-92 and has won seven state titles during a high-profile, 30-year, seven-school career that included an eight-year stint at Hoover (Ala.), which was featured on MTV's popular "Two-A-Days" reality show. He resigned there in 2007 mired in controversy, and was dismissed from Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.) in 2019 after more alleged impropriety.

The school has seven days to appeal to the GHSA.

Propst declined comment on any allegation or GHSA's ruling, but told the AJC, "We've got to let the (appeals) process play out, and we respect that process, and hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this."
Rush Propst, Valdosta
File photo by Gary McCullough
Rush Propst, Valdosta