When a running back gazes over the offensive line at the Greenbrier linebackers, he sees two players bent on bringing him down with as much force is possible.
Those two players are Reggie Rice and Erik Smith, both juniors and both among the best linebackers in the area.
Although a strong senior class has been called one of the best in the county's history, Rice and Smith highlight a junior class that might be better. Rice and Smith are invariably tied together because of their position and their friendship.
"Those guys get along well," Greenbrier defensive coordinator Charlie Fales said. "Good communication skills and trust are a must for their position and they have both."
Rice is the quicker of the two, darting from sideline to sideline to make plays. He says he is interested in Duke, but head coach Mickey Derrick says more will come calling.
"Reggie is a great player and a great kid," Derrick said. "I believe he will receive a lot of attention next year."
One of the leaders of the weightlifting team, Smith uses power and aggressiveness to make plays. He says he doesn't know where he wants go to school but said, "Hopefully somebody will let me keep playing football for them."
However, Rice and Smith are hardly the only prominent underclassmen in the county.
Greenbrier quarterback Sean Gray joins his teammates as a junior to watch. Gray has been in a competition all summer with Lakeside transfer Brandon Hicks for the rights to fill the departed Brooks Robinson's shoes. He has been impressive all summer, including in a recent scrimmage against Cross Creek where he ran for two scores.
Gray's maturation could be the determining factor of whether the Wolfpack makes the playoffs.
Hard-hitting corner back Charlie Kupar is another junior to watch for Greenbrier.
Lakeside has three juniors to watch in Chris Drayton, Arthur Marshall and Paul Miller.
Drayton, a receiver and safety, has the potential to play college football at a "high level," according to head coach Randy Hill.
Marshall will be part of the Panthers quintuplet backfield of Kyle Hill (also a junior), Reggie Porter, Carl Burrow and Blake Goolsby.
Miller has been strong in practices and had two sacks in a scrimmage against Butler.
Lakeside sophomore Jermel Bennett has also played well on the defensive front.
Two of Augusta Christian's most important players are junior quarterback Lee Banks and sophomore running back Kyle Meeks.
"I have been very impressed with those young player's ability to step up as leaders," Lions' head coach Bruce Lane said. "They have been vocal and have led by example."
Leading by example is something Evans' freshman Kevin Millward will try to do this year.
The former NFL Punt, Pass and Kick champion will play quarterback on the junior varsity team, but he could start at punter for the Knights.
"I just want to show what I can do," Millward said. "Whatever I can do to help the team is my goal for this season."
Linebacker Darel Ketchup is another underclassmen to watch for Evans.
Harlem's team is full of underclassmen, but Gabe Greer, Brandon Gray, Alex Hintz, Mark Boiter and Maurice Williams all have a chance to be special.
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