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June 17, 2011
Notebook: North Carolina team turning heads
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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
DUNCAN, S.C. - Outside of the Pac-6 in Durham, there are very few people who have heard of Durham (N.C.) Southern High.
But with a returning group of stellar players and an ambitious coach, that could change.
"This should be a good team," head coach Adrian Jones said. "We struggled a little last year, but we were young. Now with all these guys rising, we should be making a move."
The move that team wants to make is back in front of its rival, Durham (N.C.) Hillside.
After beating Hillside in each of the first three years of his coaching career, Jones and Southern High fell last season, 13-12. Hillside went unbeaten, winning a state title and finishing the year ranked No. 44 in the RivalsHigh 100.
While Jones said he was happy for the success Hillside had, the near-miss frustration was evident.
"It is all about the rivalry there," he said. "Hillside and Southern. These kids grow up together and then get split in junior high."
The coaching ties of the two schools are split, too.
"I played at Southern," Jones said. "And (Hillside) coach (Antonio) King played at Hillside. We have been going back-and-forth for a while.
"It is a healthy respect. I will root for them to do well at these events, but when we play them, we don't like each other."
So far, both teams are representing North Carolina well and the Southern players are getting noticed.
Dorian Belcher, the quarterback for Southern, has been the leader of the offense.
He has led the team to a near-perfect start to the tournament with the team's lone setback to Woodruff (S.C.) High.
His play gives Jones more confidence moving forward.
"He is a good leader," Jones said. "I think he can take us deep into the playoffs."
And beat Hillside, of course.
Propst would prefer early signing period
One of the most controversial discussion points in football recruiting has been the desire of college coaches to have an early signing day as opposed to just the National Signing Day event that happens in February.
Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County head football coach Rush Propst said he would be in favor of that proposal passing.
"It is hard on the kids and hard on the high school coaches," he said.
Propst estimates that he has placed more than 200 kids to all levels of college football in his 27 years of coaching.
He sees three major problems with the current process: third party involvement, early commitments and continued college involvement.
"I don't like the bad third-party people," he said. "Sometime you see them trying to get involved in the decision making for the kids. It is hard enough on them without folks trying to help themselves."
The veteran coach added that once a kid is committed the process is still not over, and it is distracting.
"A kid will commit, say he is going to a school and it doesn't matter to the other coaches," he said. "A lot of the time, these are 17-year-old kids. The last thing they need is 25 coaches telling them they are the best and they are the top guy on their radar. Once the kid picks a school, I would like to see the other schools accept that and move on."
A situation that would happen if there were an early signing period, Propst added.
The last of the three was, as Probst admitted, selfish.
"Too many times these college coaches will think the kid belongs to them and not us," he said. "I am sure those same coaches wouldn't want their players getting ready for the NFL Draft in the middle of the season. There have been kids getting put on workout regimens in the middle of my season. It is hard enough getting them to do what I say without their next coach trying to get involved."