Southern Meck 8 4A
The Observer’s high school football previews continue. Past previews are at charlotteobserver.com/prepspreview.
Ardrey Kell, Berry, Charlotte Catholic, Harding, Olympic, Providence, South Mecklenburg, West Mecklenburg.
Charlotte Catholic: 33 lettermen return from last season’s 13-2 state finalist. The Cougars will be faster on offense than in recent years. On defense, the secondary returns all but one starter. The defensive line only has one starter back, but All-American RB Elijah Hood also returns for his senior year.
Olympic: Trojans return nine starters and 20 lettermen, including all-conference defensive end Robert Dinkins (6-2, 248), who has committed to North Carolina, and QB Rod Tinsley (5-11, 190), who threw for 1,469 yards and 15 TDs and ran for 225 yards.
West Mecklenburg: The Hawks were 9-4 last season and had one of the best seasons in school history. QB Jalan McClendon, an N.C. State recruit, leads the offense with BCS college recruit Shaun Wilson at RB. West Meck has some question marks on the offensive line but could have another big year.
Providence: New coach Justin Hardin inherits a team that was 5-6 last season and returns eight starters, including several college recruits.
5 players to watch
Bentley Spain, Providence, OT, Sr (6-6, 297): Preseason All-American has committed to North Carolina. Teammate and wide receiver Austin Proehl (5-11, 170) also has committed to the Tar Heels.
Mason Veal, Ardrey Kell, OT, Jr (6-5, 288): BCS recruit has offers from Clemson, North Carolina, N.C. State and South Carolina.
Corbin Daly, Ardrey Kell, K/P, Sr (6-3, 185): Averaged 47 yards per punt last season; preseason all-state pick committed to Texas.
Cayson Collins, Berry, LB, Sr (6-2, 207): One of 10 starters back from a 4-6 team, Collins has committed to North Carolina.
Elijah Hood, Charlotte Catholic, RB, Sr (5-11, 221): Reigning All-Observer offensive Player of the Year rushed for 3,309 yards and 48 touchdowns as a junior. Committed to Notre Dame.
Charlotte Catholic looks like a big favorite to win this league, but the Cougars must stay healthy through a rough preseason schedule that includes games against Gonzaga (Md.), Northwestern (S.C.), Country Day and Mallard Creek.
Oct. 25 – West Meck at Charlotte Catholic: This game could help decide the league championship, and there will be very few games played in the area with this type of power at the skill positions.
Langston Wertz Jr.
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