Spring Valley football coach Robin Bacon has plenty of question marks on his team going into the season, but his secondary isn’t one of them.
The Vikings have three college prospects in their defensive backfield — seniors Jalen Geiger, Anthony Wilson and Akele Pauling. Geiger committed to Kentucky and is the No. 17 prospect in the state, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
Wilson is committed to Wofford, while Pauling has FCS and FBS offers.
“Secondary is really good,” Bacon said this week. “I have been coaching for 30 years. It is probably the best secondary including the depth and guys playing behind.”
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The senior trio share a strong bond off the field and have known each other for a long time. This will be the first time they are on the same team. Geiger played at Cardinal Newman his first two years before transferring last season, while Wilson was at Hammond before arriving at Spring Valley before his junior season.
Pauling played at Ben Lippen and was also at Dutch Fork in the spring before ending at SV.
“It is great to be at Spring Valley — to be playing here our senior year and something special happen on field,” Pauling said.
“We are hungry, work hard and push each other every day. We are a group of guys who get after it,” Wilson said.
Geiger said the competition between the players helps push each to get better. The trio also is versatile, with each being able to play cornerback or safety.
All three can play offense, with Wilson at running back and Geiger and Pauling at receiver.
“We are real physical, got great size and we are smart,” Geiger said. “We go at it every single day whether I am on offense or defense.”
Spring Valley is coming off an 11-2 season and third-round loss to Dutch Fork in the playoffs. The Vikings return 11 starters but must replace most of their backfield, including quarterback Quincy Hill, in their option offense.
Alex Herrera and Cardinal Newman transfer TJ Wise are competing for the QB job.
“We lost 75 percent to 80 percent of our offense, but we got some young kids that worked hard in the offseason. So, it will be a learning curve with our offense,” Bacon said. “Takes about three or four games before our offense starts clicking. But I feel really good, especially our offensive line.”
About Spring Valley
Coach: Robin Bacon (4th year, 26-12)
Last year’s record: 11-2
Starters returning: 11
Key returnees: CB/WR Jalen Geiger, RB/SS Anthony Wilson, OL/DL Max Shropshire, WR Malik Wesley, QB/K/P Alex Herrera, OL/DL Donovon Toomer, OL/DL Aidan Long, OL/DL Jaylen Keels, OL/DL Shaun Wiley, WR/CB Khalif Poag, OL/DL Eric Porter, OL/DL Reggie Stewart
Newcomers to watch: WR/CB Akele Pauling, LB/FB Skylar Mack, QB/WR TJ Wise, LB/FB Skylar McCants, WR Manny Moore
Aug. 24: at Dutch Fork
Aug. 31: vs. Brookland-Cayce
Sept. 7 vs. Richland Northeast
Sept. 14: vs. Chapin
Sept. 21: at Lexington
Sept. 28: vs. Irmo
Oct. 5: at Lugoff-Elgin
Oct. 12: vs. White Knoll
Oct. 19: at Sumter
Oct. 26: vs. Blythewood