Four-year college coaches are already salivating over the potential of two South Carolina products that just completed their freshmen seasons at Hutchinson Community College (N.C.).
Marlboro County product Elliott Alford and Northwestern product Cordarrelle Patterson had solid seasons in 2010, leading the Dragons to a 9-2 record. Both were once highly regarded prospects before they failed to qualify and were forced to reroute their careers through junior colleges.
Alford passed for 1,351 yards and 10 scores, completing 59 percent of his passes this season. He also rushed 77 times for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Those were solid numbers for a true freshman that was forced into the starting role from his first days on campus.
“He’s got a big-time arm,” Hutchinson coach Rion Rhoades said. “He can really put some zip on the ball. He’s been accurate with his passes. He’s athletic enough to get himself out of trouble. He’s been pretty complete for what we ask our quarterbacks to do.”Alford, who is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, will spend another season at Hutchinson and plans to graduate next December, giving him three years to play two seasons of eligibility at his next school.
Marlboro County coach Dean Boyd said that Alford already has offers from a number of FBS programs, including Kansas, Kansas State and others. Alford likely was bound for Appalachian State before he was unable to qualify out of high school.
Patterson is likely one of the best athletes in the Jayhawk Community College Conference. The 6-4, 200-pounder boasts a 39-inch vertical leap and used it to catch 43 passes for 841 yards (19.6 per catch) and nine touchdowns this season. Patterson also averaged 44 yards on seven kick returns, taking two of them back for touchdowns.
“He’s had a pretty remarkable year,” Rhoades said. “He was first-team all-conference at receiver and return specialist. I think there is a good chance he’ll have a chance to be an All-American. I’ve had a number of coaches tell me he’s probably the best player in our league, which is a pretty big statement. There are some great players out here.”Rhoades said a number of FBS schools are already lining up to recruit Patterson, who will also spend another year at Hutchinson.
A player emerging as one of the Carolinas’ top quarterback prospects in the Class of 2013 has a surname familiar to South Carolina fans.
Concord (N.C.) sophomore signal caller B.J. Beecher, the brother of former USC quarterback Tommy Beecher, has put up big numbers this season, leading the Spiders into the N.C. Class 3A quarterfinals. The 6-foot-5, 185-pounder threw for 319 yards and three scores, including a game-clinching, 74-yard touchdown, in last week’s 30-21 win over Carson (N.C.). He now has thrown for 2,418 yards, completing 53 percent of his passes for 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
“He’s going to be a good one,” Concord coach Glen Padgett said. “When he gets a little weight on him, gets a little quicker and faster, he’s going to be a good one.“He’s thrown for over 2,000 yards as a sophomore. I think that says a lot about what he’s done. He’s done a great job. He’s getting better at reading coverages and he’s tough.”
Beecher plays in a pass-first offense. However, the Spiders used principles of a pro-style attack, so he is already used to taking snaps from under center and making college-style throws.
He needs to improve on his accuracy and his arm isn’t the strongest yet, but he’s got plenty of time to mature athletically. He already has the type of height and savvy that college quarterback coaches drool over.Those factors may ultimately make him a better prospect than his brother, who was not ranked within North Carolina or among the nation’s quarterbacks by Rivals.com out of high school. However, he’s helping his younger brother improve.“He’s taught me quite a few things, especially ball positioning,” B.J. Beecher said. “He always makes fun of me when I hold the ball down, so he’s definitely taught me lots of things.”
Concord (9-4) faces a monumental challenge this week against 13-0 West Rowan (N.C.), which holds the nation’s longest winning streak at 43 games.
Only five players committed to South Carolina still have games left to play in their senior seasons.Miami Central (Fla.) corner Thomas Finnie and First Coast (Fla.) safety Jared Henry have second-round games this week in the Florida state playoffs. Central faces national power Miami Northwestern (Fla.) in the Class 6A bracket. First Coast faces Fleming Island (Fla.) in Class 5A.
Goose Creek offensive tackle Brandon Shell faces Northwestern in the Class 4A, Division II semifinals Friday. The game pits Goose Creek’s run-based attack against the Air Raid, pass-first offense of Northwestern.Carver (Ga.) offensive lineman Quincy McKinney faces Thomasville (Ga.) in the Class 2A quarterfinals. Carver, led by tailback Isaiah Crowell, one of the nation’s best at his position, is the favorite to win the state title.The playoffs are over for Timber Creek (N.J.) athlete Damiere Byrd, but he still has one regular-season game left in his career. Timber Creek faces Triton (N.J.) in a Thanksgiving Day showdown for bragging rights in south Jersey.