John Hicks (9), Brook Chapman (25), Anthony Parks (15) and Malek Johnson (2) are being counted on to lead Greer to the state playoffs. They were practicing punt coverage during this part of today's practice.
John Hicks (9) is a key returning player for the defense at linebacker. Hicks covers a lot of territory and delivers powerful hits.
Water breaks are welcome during summer practices for players and coaches. Greer coaches provide designated water breaks and encourage players to replinish their liquid throughout the practice.
Gold helmets line the Greer practice field fence to symbolize players being prohibited from wearing helmets and shoulder pads during the first days of summer practice.
Today is the first day high schools were allowed to practice and Greer Head Coach Will Young took advantage of mandated non-contact practice to familiarize the Jackets with techniques, schemes and special teams practice.
The Jackets escaped the oven-like afternoon forecast by working out in warm and humid conditions with a slight breeze. The afternoon forecast called for high 90s with a real feel of 105+ degrees.
Young begins his ninth year at Greer and has a 52-32 record. The Jackets will move to the Greenville County region, 3A Region II, with the realignment taking effect for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Young returns 9 starters – five offense and four defense – from last year’s playoff team, which lost to Fairfield-Central 24-21 in the first round of the state playoffs at Greer. The Jackets finished 9-2 going undefeated in 3A Region III, averaging 40 points a game and giving up 15.8 points per game.
Brook Chapman, the team’s best physical specimen, will be in the backfield offering power running and excellent speed that became valuable last year when Quez Nesbitt was shut down by opponents late in the season, partly because of the one-dimensional running attack and an ankle injury. Chapman played some defensive end last year and is available if needed.
With D’Anta Fleming at wide receiver Greer has the mechanics of being an explosive offense that can strike from any distance. Corbin Nesbitt, Josh Gentry and Jalen Stokes gives Greer plenty of depth catching the ball.
Emanuel Kelly is a work in progress at quarterback. He is being schooled on running the diverse offense and learning the discipline and responsibility the position demands. The loss of Reese Hannon to graduation, now at Furman University, will be felt with his calm, confident demeanor running the offense.
Corbin Nesbitt, Josh Gentry and Jalen Stokes are weapons at wide receiver.
Alex Waters, arguably the best athlete on the team, and Merrill Connor will provide solid anchors on the offensive line with their size, speed and strength.
John Hicks is a big reason for Greer’s enthusiasm of fielding a strong defense. Hicks is a big playmaker and big hitter. Jarrett Szabo, a transfer from Florida, will play end. Ray Booker, who had an excellent preseason last summer but struggled during the season, is counted on to anchor a defensive line with his power and speed.
Opponents should be encouraged with Greer’s young defensive secondary. Malek Johnson, a junior, has played two years in the backfield. Sophomore Jackson Tipton, who has a standout Greer bloodline with his father and grandfather playing on state championship teams, will also play in the backfield.
Greer practices at 9 a.m. Saturday. Camp Swarm will be held Wednesday through Friday.