We have only two more weeks – beginning this week with the 70s – of beefy linemen before we get into the really hotly contested numbers in the Numbers Game.
The 90s and 60s have been the most difficult to get quality candidates, but the 70s wasn’t much better. The 80s are certainly the most competitive 10 of the first half of the numbers game.
The toughest choice of the 70s was probably Craig Hertwig vs. George Foster at No. 73. Both guys have pretty comparable careers. Foster was a better high school player, and he may have a slight edge as a pro. But Hertwig had an outstanding collegiate career at Georgia. “Sky” made an AP All-America team, which is a rare occurrence for Bulldogs’ offensive tackles.
We couldn’t find a ton of candidates at No. 70, but we went with Wayne Johnson over Nic Riley and David Brookins. Riley and Brookins were all-state offensive linemen just like Johnson, but Johnson was The Telegraph’s city player of the year as a senior.
Early in the decision-making process, I thought No. 77 would shape up as a battle between Ben Claxton and Victor Perry. My research assistant on this project Eric Moyer – dude’s been a huge help – found out about Bill Spivey and that changed things. Spivey wouldn’t be a guy who would easily turn up in research. He played basketball in the early years at Warner Robins, but much of his career has been brushed under the carpet thanks to a point-shaving scandal during his time at Kentucky. He was banned from the NBA, which wrecked his chance of big-time fame. Spivey, however, has his jersey retired at Kentucky, which is an honor few came claim. Mucho credito to Mr. Moyer.
I thought maybe Seth Watts or Tony Guyton may have had a shot at No. 76, but that was before I grasped the scope of Al Lucas’ achievements at Troy. Lucas was the best defensive player in Division I-AA as a senior, and he was a solid player with the Carolina Panthers and a potentially great player in the Arena Football League before his untimely death following an injury sustained during an AFL game.
There weren’t many others considered this week that didn’t make the main honorable mention lists in the newspaper and in the main story online. But there were a few others considered.
David Brookins, Westside: Brookins made an all-state team in 2003 while blocking for Travis Evans.
Jeremiah Wright, Peach County: Wright earned all-state honors in 2006 as the Trojans won their second straight state title.
Jason Peacock, Baldwin: Peacock made an all-state team as a senior in 2007, and he is currently a senior offensive lineman at Arkansas.
Jeffrey Cowart, Mary Persons: Cowart followed up an All-Middle Georgia senior season by signing with Duke.
Trey Dunmon, Hawkinsville: Dunmon made the 2004 all-state team before signing with Georgia Tech.
Spencer Slocumb, Central: Slocumb was an All-Middle Georgia pick in 1985 before landing at Georgia Tech.
Stephen Rykard, FPD: The two-time all-state player served as a versatile offensive lineman and defensive tackle in 1980-81.
Jerry Habersham, Treutlen: One of only 10 all-state players from Treutlen since 1972, Habersham signed with South Carolina.
Jeff Leonard, Northside: Leonard was a standout during Northside’s 1978 undefeated regular season.