I have begun the class breakdowns on SCVarsity.com, and we are now beginning to put together our spring team rankings for the state by each classification. Here is the spring top 10 for Class 5A and where some of the Midlands teams fit into the state-wide climate.
1. Fort Dorchester: The Patriots return a wealth of talent, including the state’s top 2018 prospect at quarterback, experience in the trenches, skills position and a stout defense.
2. Northwestern: Returns the top talent in the state at quarterback and running back, but just lost its head coach to Clemson. Talent is there, but success will hinge on the coaching hire.
3. Dutch Fork: The Silver Foxes have solid skills players returning, promise in young talent in the trenches and solid coaching. If they get the transfer of quarterback Jake Bentley as expected, they’re a major contender.
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4. T.L. Hanna: The Jackets have a strong roster returning, including experience at quarterback, one of the top running back prospects in the state and a solid defense.
5. Dorman: The Cavs lost their starting quarterback but have a capable returner to step in, along with five starters on offense and four on defense from their state runner up teams.
6. Byrnes: The Rebels lost a lot of talent to graduation, but will see several playmaking skills players back on both sides of the ball. This team has seen a slight drop off, but should be back in contention.
7. Westside: The Rams are going to be as athletic as ever, with one of the state’s top quarterbacks leading the offense. Defensively, this team will be strong.
8. Lexington: The Wildcats return, perhaps, the best group of linemen on both sides of the ball in 5A. There is talent at the skills positions, but depth might be a problem in the secondary and at wide receiver.
9. Spartanburg: The Vikings took a big hit to graduation, but Chris Miller has been building a program and his backups from 2015 will step up as starters and leaders.
10. Sumter: The Gamecocks played aggressive football in coach Mark Barnes’ first season, and return the talent and the attitude to be a state contender after a third-round playoff loss to Byrnes.