Herons New Hire

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Brantley County has their new man in David Shores.

Coach Shores comes to Brantley County after a 3-year stint at Brunswick High School.

Shores served as the Assistant Head Coach, Special Teams Coordinator and Safeties coach for the Pirates.

During the school day, Coach Shores also wore the hat of Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for the Pirates.

Before Brunswick, Shores served as the Defensive Coordinator at Camden County High School from 2017-2020. Prior to Camden, Shores orchestrated defenses at Lowndes (2015-16) and Peach County (2014).

Coach Shores has coached in the GHSA playoffs nine out of ten seasons, since moving to Georgia, from his home state of Alabama.

In his thirteen-year tenure as a high school coach in Alabama, Coach Shores was a part of 2 State Championships, 1 6A Runner-Up, 3 Quarter-Final appearances, 1 Second-Round and 3 First-Round appearances.

Shores began his coaching career as graduate assistant at Auburn University in 1998. From Auburn, Shores served as an assistant coach at both Opelika High School and Hoover High, before going back to the SEC to work as an analyst at Louisiana State University, under Nick Saban.

Shores became defensive coordinator at Pelham High School in 2005, before taking the same title at Spain Park High the following season. He then served as Head Coach at Spain Park from 2008-2010 and Head Coach/Athletics Director at Pell City High School from 2011-2013.

Coach Shores’ record as head coach currently sits at 27-18, with a 3-2 playoff record and 19-11 in region play.

Coach Shores is married to the former Alison Still, of Waycross. Alison currently serves as the President of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce. David and Alison are extremely excited to join the Heron family!

Coach Shores had this to say to me after his hiring became official:

“I am excited about the opportunity ahead of me at Brantley. I feel like this opportunity was meant to be.

I have had a desire to be a head coach again for quite some time and usually apply for numerous openings, but this one just felt right and was the only opening I applied for this year.

It is close to home and Alison, and I really love this area. I grew up playing high school football in a small town. The small-town atmosphere really appeals to me. I feel like smaller communities are more supportive and really buy-in to what we are trying to accomplish with the young people in our program and community.

There are a lot of wonderful things happening at Brantley County High School and I hope to be a great ambassador for the county and play winning football on top of it.

Coach Cannon did a fantastic job here, and he played a lot of kids so we have some experience coming back in 2024, and we will need it because we are in a new region that includes Thomasville, Fitzgerald, and Worth County. Iron sharpens iron is our approach and people better buckle up when they play us.

I begin on March 1st, and we have a lot of work to do between then and August, but we have good kids in the program, great community support, great support from the school system and BCHS administration. I am ready to get to work! Go Herons!”

This is a great hire for Brantley County. David Shores has a great defensive mind and will run the Brantley defense.

He will bring in an offensive coordinator and will not change much scheme wise in year one. Brantley plays single A football and should compete for a playoff spot this fall.

A lot of exciting things are happening in Brantley County, and for the Shores family.

Dynasty

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Go ahead and crown the Kansas City Chiefs as the fourth NFL dynasty of the Super Bowl era.

They have joined the post-2000 New England Patriots, 1980s San Francisco 49ers and 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers in a class apart from all others. Theirs is a dynasty in progress — just getting started, perhaps. But these Chiefs have done enough to belong.

That is the big-picture takeaway from the Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII which delivered Kansas City its third Lombardi Trophy in only five seasons.

What makes an NFL dynasty? Patrick Mahomes- obviously, and there’s more to it than just that.

The Joe Gibbs-era Washington Redskins and early 1990s Dallas Cowboys were great, but they belong in separate categories, as we’ll explain.

The public-address announcer at Allegiant Stadium introduced the Chiefs as a “dynasty in the making” before the team ran onto the field.

For much of the game, the Chiefs played like a dynasty in the unmaking. They fumbled, wasted timeouts, incurred costly penalties and were fortunate to trail only 10-3 at halftime.

But when Kansas City had to score or else, Mahomes and the Chiefs did, just as even the most ardent 49ers fan should have expected.

Here they are, with three Super Bowl victories in five seasons, are they a dynasty?

After studying the greatest Super Bowl-era runs, the 1974-79 Steelers, 1981-94 49ers, 2001-18 Patriots and 2019-23 Chiefs emerged as the only teams fitting what I think are logical requirements for dynasty status:

After studying the greatest Super Bowl-era runs, the 1974-79 Steelers, 1981-94 49ers, 2001-18 Patriots and 2019-23 Chiefs emerged as the only teams fitting what I think are logical requirements for dynasty status:

  • Winning three-plus Super Bowls over five-plus seasons
  • Posting the NFL’s best regular-season winning percentage, beginning with the first Super Bowl-winning season and ending with the most recent one
  • Reaching the conference championship round more than half the time during the dynasty

These benchmarks display dominant success over time.

The Chiefs to their dynastic peers in the Super Bowl era. All the relevant boxes are checked. Kansas City, like New England, has won big in the free-agency era, which complicates keeping great teams together.

For now, the Chiefs are the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the 2003-04 Patriots.

If they become the first team to win three in a row, they’ll match those 1970s Steelers with four Super Bowl victories in a six-season span, leaving only the 1980s 49ers and post-2000 Patriots left to conquer.

That will take time, maybe some luck.

Mahomes did it again on the biggest stage. Just think how many Super Bowls the Chiefs will win once they get Mahomes a little more help on offense. They’ve already given him a young defense that ranked among the NFL’s top five in EPA (Expected Points Added) per play this season.

Red, yellow and white confetti falling at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas was the confirmation of their coronation. Once again, the Chiefs experienced the feeling only one team achieves in an NFL season, accomplishing a daunting objective that leads to an exhilarating sensation.

To quote Ric Flair,”Whether you like it or not, learn to love it, because it’s the best thing going. Wooooo!”

Top Chiefs

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2023 NFL season officially has ended.

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 25 – 22 to win Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The Chiefs have repeated as world champions, which has not happened since the 2003-04 New England Patriots.

This is the third Super Bowl win for head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Reid coached the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 – 2012 and he never won a Super Bowl with them. Now that he has an elite QB, he cannot be stopped.

“This is awesome. This is legendary,” game MVP Mahomes said after the win.

Since they won two in a row, Mahomes answered the question of if they should be considered a dynasty now. “It’s the start of one. We aren’t done,” the now three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback said.

Mahomes threw for 333 yards, 2 touchdowns, I interception and rushed for 66 yards on 9 carries.

San Francisco was a more talented team but they faced the best quarterback in the game.

Brock Purdy was the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft (262nd overall), making him Mr. Irrelevant. He has far outperformed what anyone could have expected from him. He will have to live with questions about his talent this offseason.

Purdy had 255 passing yards, 1 TD and 12 yards rushing on 3 carries.

NFL Offensive Player of the Year and First-team All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey was the focal point of the offense. He rushed for 80 yards on 22 carries, which is only 3.6 yards per carry. He also lost a fumble in the first half. He led the team in receiving with 8 catches, 80 yards and a score.

KC was down 10 – 0 in the second quarter before they kicked a field goal before halftime.

Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce only had 1 catch for 1 yard at halftime. He finished the game with 9 receptions and 93 yards so they started getting the ball to him in the second half.

He’s best known this season for dating pop star Taylor Swift, who was in attendance.

“Vivaaaaaaaaaaaa, Vivaaaaaaaa, Las Vegasssssssssssssss!!” a hoarse Kelce, Lombardi Trophy in hand, scream-sang into the microphone as CBS’ Jim Nantz interviewed him on stage.

San Fran head coach Kyle Shanahan has the unique distinction of coaching in both of the Super Bowl games that went into overtime. He was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, when they blew the infamous 28 – 3 second half lead. This is also his second Super Bowl loss to Kansas City as the coach of the 49ers.

The 49ers have several playmakers on offense but they did not get the ball to them. Deebo Samuel had 11 targets but only had 3 catches for 33 yards. He also had 3 carries for 8 rushing yards. Tight end George Kittle had 2 catches for 4 yards. Brandon Aiyuk had 3 receptions and 49 yards.

In overtime, both teams get one possession in the playoffs. Several 49ers players said they were not aware of this after the game. They won the coin toss and decided to receive the ball first. They kicked a field goal to take a 22 – 19 lead.

Mecole Hardman caught a three-yard TD to win the game.

“I knew I was going to get the ball, caught the football, and I blacked out,” said Hardman after the game. “I’m not going to lie, I blacked out. I (saw) Pat running towards me, and I’m thinking, ‘We just won.’ I understand now and after that.”

The Franchise

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2024 quarterback class may be the deepest in years at the position.

There is the potential to have as many as six QB’s selected in the first round when April rolls around. Let us look at the top 6 QB’s in the draft:

Caleb Williams, USC: Regarded as the best QB prospect in years, all signs point to Williams being selected by the Chicago Bears with the first overall selection in the draft.

Williams, a former Heisman winner, has the arm and mobility to be a franchise QB in Chicago.

The Bears will part ways with Justin Fields and hopefully learned a valuable lesson about putting pieces around a young QB so he can be successful. Atlanta Falcons are you paying close attention to this situation?

Drake Maye, North Carolina: Expect a run on QB’s with the first few selections, and now the beauty contest begins.

With the third overall pick in the first round the New England Patriots select the big bodied, big armed prototypical QB that fits right into the Patriot way.

Mac Jones will be cast off to greener pastures and Maye will lead a proud franchise for the next 12-15 years. Maye will have a distinguished career for the Patriots.

Jayden Daniels, LSU: The 2023 Heisman winner revives football in the nation’s capital.

The Commanders select Daniels with the second overall pick in the first round and Commanders begin the March back to being a playoff team in the NFC East.

Michael Penix Jr., Washington: Experts think Penix will drop into the second or third round, but his productivity cannot be questioned.

Could the Bucs at 26 or the Steelers at 20 take a shot at a productive player like Penix Jr.?

I can hear the so-called draft experts use every draft day buzz word phrase regarding this player. Penix could be a steal for someone. I predict the Raiders will take the QB with the 44th overall selection in the second round.

Bo Nix, Oregon: Bo Nix is quietly rising up draft boards. I now fully expect Bo Nix to be drafted by the Denver Broncos with the 12th selection to be the replacement for Russell Wilson, who will get traded before the 2024 draft.

Sean Payton will have his QB moving forward to turn Denver into a Super Bowl contender.

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan: Jim Harbaugh thinks his national title winning QB should be one of the first QB’s off the board.

I will take it a step further as I think the Minnesota Vikings will draft McCarthy with the 11th pick in the first round to replace Kirk Cousins who will be somewhere else this fall.

McCarthy has the arm talent and mobility that the Vikings want moving forward.

Sleeper Selection: Spencer Rattler, South Carolina: I think Rattler could be on the biggest steals of this draft.

The QB was the only bright spot on a bad football team in 2023. Regardless of what the New York Giants say publicly about Daniel Jones they are not saying it privately.

The Giants take their QB of the future with pick seventy in the third round.

This 2024 QB class will go down as one of the greatest QB draft classes in history a decade from now.

 

Help Needed

By: Colin Lacy

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Just a couple of days after the 2023 Atlanta Falcons season came to a close in New Orleans, the change at the top was made with Arthur Smith out.

Earlier in the month Arthur Blank announced that Raheem Morris would be the new head ball coach in Atlanta.

As the fresh staff begins to roll into Flowery Branch, the biggest question is “How do the Falcons answer some key questions in the NFL Draft?”

The NFL will flock to Detroit on April 25th through 27th for the 89th annual First Year Player Draft, and the 8th name that will be read by Commissioner Roger Goodell will be the newest Atlanta Falcon.

With the 8th pick in the first round, most Falcon fans are praying for a quarterback. Draft experts however aren’t convinced that there will be that first round QB talent available after the seven previous picks are made. So, what are the QB options available?

Most “experts” believe that former USC quarterback Caleb Williams will be the first signal caller to hear his name on draft night. It’s believed that Williams will be taken off the board by the Bears with the number one pick, or at the very latest, will be reunited with former USC coach Kliff Kingsbury in Washington (hired as Commanders OC) with the second pick.

Seems all but certain that Williams will not be on the board for the 8th selection.

The next couple of QB prospects have at least a possibility (some slight, but still possible) of being on the board when Atlanta is on the clock.

North Carolina Drake Maye was destined to be the unanimous first selection, but a up and down 2023 season with the Tar Heels has seen his stock dip just a touch.

Maye is undoubtably uber talented and looks the part at 6’3” 230 pounds. Maye’s combination of accuracy with the arm and ability to make plays on the ground has shown his proficiency at times to run a high-powered offense.

The third “high first round” option potentially available for the “Dirty Birds” is Jayden Daniels. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner may be the player that had his draft stock soar the most in 2023 leading the LSU Tigers.

To me, Daniels seems to be the most realistic and to me frankly seems to be the best fit with the Falcons organization.

Daniels turned into a “human highlight reel” for the Bayou Bengals throwing 40 touchdowns (rushing for 10 more) and only four interceptions on the year.

The biggest improvement (and one of the largest knocks on Daniels entering 2023) was the deep ball, but Daniels proved all the naysayers wrong launching numerous balls down field with impressive, improved accuracy.

There are a couple other QB options in this draft, that if in desperation could be on the board, but I don’t believe are top 10 picks.

A couple names that will be heard in the first two to three rounds will be JJ McCarthy from Michigan, Michael Penix Jr out of Washington, and Bo Nix from Oregon.

To me the Falcons first round selection turns into one question. Do we think either Williams, Maye or Daniels will be available when we hit the clock?

If the answer is yes, fantastic. I think the Falcons will have to make a trade to move up a couple of spots (maybe as few as two spots to the 6th pick). To me, Jayden Daniels should be the play, and a lot depends on if the Bears take a quarterback with the first pick. If so, Atlanta will have to move up to get the former LSU Fighting Tiger.

What are the other needs? What happens if all -you know what- breaks loose, and the three quarterbacks are gone?

The next biggest need for new Head Coach Raheem Morris is an edge rusher on the defensive front. Dallas Turner from Alabama would be a powerful addition to the Falcons organization and would help erase a question that has been near the top of the Atlanta faithful for a number of years.

Overall, the Falcons have the potential to be an up-and-coming team in the near future and I understand that the draft is a full weekend of multiple rounds and the Falcons have eight picks in the Draft, but Atlanta unequivocally needs a quarterback pronto and the draft would be a huge key in addressing the need!

The Future Is Now

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The two most powerful conferences in the NCAA are teaming up to tackle the biggest issues in college athletics.

The Big Ten and the SEC are forming a joint advisory group of university presidents and athletic directors.

It will discuss recent court decisions, pending litigations, governance proposals, and state laws. Their goal , is to “take a leadership role in developing solutions for a sustainable future of college sports.” (Whatever that means).

The two conferences are the richest in the country and deal with large scale issues like NIL on a  differently from their peers. Sankey has long complained that the NCAA governs across too diverse a membership, with the schools in the highest-resourced leagues needing to make more decisions for themselves.

No one is looking out for the greater good of the college sports. There never has been, and I’m not sure there ever will. I’d sure love for there to be a commissioner of college football (an ideal candidate just became available in January), but why would the conferences voluntarily hire a boss?

Oh, I don’t believe Greg Sankey and Tony Petittii aren’t plotting a full-on breakaway by their conferences. At least not yet. It’s more that big market administrators want to throw their weight around while college sports are reconfiguring.

Sankey, who came up through the NCAA model and remains largely loyal to it, seems unenthused by NCAA president Charlie Baker’s proposal in December for a new subdivision of schools that can pay their athletes $30,000 per year.

Petitti is a college sports outsider who may be more willing to think outside the box than most NCAA lifers.

Also: the SEC and Big Ten need a functioning NCAA more than many suggest. Do you think Kentucky is going to bow out of March Madness in favor of a Big Ten-SEC March Challenge? Do you know what a big deal the College World Series is in the SEC and the Frozen Four in the Big Ten? Not to mention all the regulatory headaches the leagues currently get to outsource to the folks in Indy.

The issue at hand is centered around college football, but this affects all athletes across the country. Any College Football Playoff format that leaves out the ACC, Big 12 and Notre Dame, among others, would lose credibility.

I suppose they could just absorb all the most credible remaining contenders (Clemson and Florida State, etc.), but unless or until a court invalidates the ACC’s Grant of Rights — which could be years — that’s not feasible.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t use their leverage to secure the most favorable terms possible in the new CFP deal in 2026. They’re certainly not going to let a two-team conference dictate how many leagues (if any) get automatic berths.

For years, College Sports Inc. has been in a state of limbo where everyone recognizes the system is broken, but no one is stepping up to do anything about it.

This was the SEC and Big Ten taking it upon themselves to do, which undermines the entirety of College Athletics for personal gain. As for the athletes and supporting conferences, they don’t have much choice but to follow their lead.

Portal Power

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The transfer portal has changed college football drastically.

Players seem to hop from school to school now without much thought. Any team that wants to be a contender has to get talent from the transfer portal.

The 30-day winter transfer period ended January 2, 2024. Let’s take a look at the schools with the best transfer portal classes.

Ole Miss has the top ranked transfer portal class for 2024. The Rebels have 17 commits. The five-star player is defensive lineman Walter Nolen (Texas A&M). He was the #1 football recruit in the class of 2022 as a senior in high school. He played for the Aggies for two seasons, totaling 11 tackles for loss and 5 sacks.

The rest of the class consists of seven four-stars and nine three-star players.

Some of the top players are defensive end/edge Princely Umanmielen (Florida), wide receiver Antwane Wells (South Carolina), linebacker Chris Paul Jr. (Arkansas), corner back Trey Amos (Alabama), safety Yam Banks (South Alabama), running back Logan Diggs (LSU) and tight end Daequan Wright (Virginia Tech).

Texas A&M has the #2 class. The Aggies have 23 commits and 8 of them are four-star players. That’s great, considering they lost two five-stars in the transfer portal.

We already discussed Walter Nolen leaving for Ole Miss but they also lost wide receiver Evan Stewart to Oregon. Four-star defensive lineman LT Overton transferred to Alabama, tight end Jake Johnson transferred to UNC and wide receiver Raymond Cottrell transferred to Kentucky.

Four-star right tackle Chase Bisontis started all 12 regular season games for the Aggies last season. He entered his name in the portal but withdrew it and decided to return to College Station.

The top incoming players are edge rusher Nic Scourton (Purdue), corner Dezz Ricks (Alabama), wide receiver Cyrus Allen (Louisiana Tech), defensive end Cashius Howell (Bowling Green), corner Will Lee III (Kansas State), safety Marcus Ratcliffe (San Diego State), corner Donovan Saunders (Cal Poly) and linebacker Scooby Williams (Florida).

Florida State has the #4 transfer portal class.

The last time we saw the Seminoles was in the Orange Bowl where Georgia demolished them, 63-3. That did not stop them from getting 15 new transfer players and ten of them are four-stars.

Something that is very interesting is the amount of players coming in from Alabama.

The five incoming Crimson Tide players are linebacker Shawn Murphy, running back Roydell Williams, corner Earl Little II, offensive lineman Terrence Ferguson and receiver Malik Benson.

They also have two Oregon State players; defensive lineman Sione Lolohea and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. Uiagalelei started his career at Clemson so he is at his third school.

They are also receiving edge rusher Marvin Jones Jr. (Georgia), wide receiver Jalen Brown (LSU) and defensive lineman Tomiwa Durojaiye (West Virginia).

South Carolina has the #9 class. The Gamecocks class only has four four-star players.

The top player is running back Raheim Sanders (Arkansas). Sanders had a breakout year in 2022 as a sophomore, rushing for 1,443 yards, 10 touchdowns and he averaged 6.5 yards per carry. Unfortunately, in 2023 he tore his labrum in November. He also suffered a knee injury in Week 1.

South Carolina is also receiving linebacker Grayson Howard (Florida), linebacker Demetrius Knight (Charlotte) and edge rusher Kyle Kennard (Georgia Tech).

Later Gators

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Recently it was announced that the Florida football program is under NCAA investigation, and yes, that investigation is still ongoing.

Moreover, the investigation started months before the NCAA sent a Notice of Inquiry to Florida President Ben Sasse back in June.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the investigation centers around the recruitment of four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada. He flipped from Miami to Florida on Nov. 10, 2022, after signing an NIL deal with the now-defunct Gator Collective for $13.85 million over four years.

The contract was terminated on Dec. 7, less than a month later. Rashada still signed early with UF but never enrolled last January and was released from his letter of intent after the NIL deal fell through.

He landed at Arizona State and opened last season as the starter, and only played three games due to injury.

According to sources, the NCAA investigation into Rashada’s recruitment involves Marcus Castro-Walker and Hugh Hathcock. Castro-Walker serves as the director of player engagement and NIL for the football program, while Hathcock a longtime UF donor pledged a record-setting $12.6 million to Gator Boosters in 2022 and has spearheaded Florida’s NIL efforts.

NCAA rules prohibit boosters from using NIL as an incentive or inducement to recruit high school or transfer players.

California became the first state to allow high school athletes to be paid through NIL contracts, so Rashada was legally allowed to sign with Gator Collective. The issue at hand, however, is when, how and by whom that deal was facilitated.

Florida recently came under NCAA investigation in 2020 under former coach Dan Mullen. The inquiry found two violations: a Level II violation with Mullen and an assistant- they met a recruit before his junior year of high school, as well as  a Level III violation involving members of the Gators’ coaching staff having impermissible contact with over 120 prospects when seven 7-on-7 football teams visited the campus and toured the football facilities.

The assistant coach had incidental and impermissible contacts with several prospects, according to the agreement.

Last May, the NCAA Board of Directors sent out a new guidance to its Division I member schools clarifying their NIL stance and prohibiting.

“The guidance is effective immediately,” the NCAA release stated. “For violations that occurred prior to May 9, 2022, the board directed the enforcement staff to review the facts of individual cases but to pursue only those actions that clearly are contrary to the published interim policy, including the most severe violations of recruiting rules or payment for athletics performance. Schools are reminded of their obligation to report any potential violations through the traditional self-reporting process.

 

Today, the Division I Board of Directors took a significant first step to address some of the challenges and improper behaviors that exist in the name, image and likeness environment that may violate our long-established recruiting rules. While the NCAA may pursue the most outrageous violations that were clearly contrary to the interim policy adopted last summer, our focus is on the future. The new guidance establishes a common set of expectations for the Division I institutions moving forward, and the board expects all Division I institutions to follow our recruiting rules and operate within these reasonable expectations,” board chair Jere Morehead, president, University of Georgia, said in the statement

The NCAA is out to make a statement, but a toothless statement, because they are so afraid of a lawsuit and court date. Is Rashada going to haunt the Florida Football?

A Different Bird?

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Atlanta Falcons coaching search is over. They hired Raheem Morris to succeed Arthur Smith.

Smith was fired after the Falcons’ season finale in January.

“He was offered (the job),” Morris’ agent Brian Levy confirmed in a text after reports of the Morris hire. “He accepted.”

“I am overjoyed for the opportunity for my family and I to return to Atlanta as the Falcons head coach,” Morris said in a statement posted on the team’s website.

“We know from firsthand experience what a first-class organization Atlanta is and what this team means to its city and its fans. I am incredibly appreciative of Arthur Blank for his leadership and for this entire organization for putting its trust in me to help lead this team.”

Morris, 47, has extensive coaching experience in the NFL and in the NFC South.

He was the defensive backs coach for Tampa Bay in 2007-08. He became their head coach for 2009-11. In three seasons his record was 17-31. The Buccaneers were 10-6 in 2019 but they missed the playoffs. He also coached in Tampa from 2002-05 as an assistant defensive coach.

He was the defensive backs coach for Washington from 2012-14. He was named the assistant head coach & pass game coordinator for the Falcons in 2015. He was moved to wide receivers coach (2016-19), then defensive coordinator in 2020. Atlanta got off to a 0-5 start in 2020 and Dan Quinn was fired. Morris was promoted to interim head coach on October 12, 2020. They were 4-7 under Morris.

He has been the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams from 2021-23. The Rams won Super Bowl LVI on February 13, 2022.

Blank said something interesting earlier in January that still resonates as the coaching search came to an end.

“At the end of the day, I understand the final decision will be mine, but mine will be in collaboration with others,” Blank said Jan. 8. “Like I said initially, we’ve kind of begun the process if you will. It doesn’t take long to get going, so we’re moving.

“But I also want to be clear on this is that there is no timetable. The only timetable is to do this correctly, take our time, be thoughtful, do all of the interviews, be respectful, make sure we have a full diverse set of candidates that we’re considering in every way.”

I’m not sure what to make of this hire. Morris has proven that he’s a good defensive coach.

Atlanta needs to get a franchise quarterback as soon as possible. They have a good offensive line and several talented skill position players.

Some examples are running backs Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Drake London.

He will need to hire an offensive coordinator that will put the ball in their hands.

Up to this point General Manager Terry Fontenot has failed to address the quarterback position.

This will be the biggest hurdle to overcome for the team to have success. If Desmond Ridder is under center in September then Morris is destined to fail in his first year.

 

Farewell

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Legendary Camden County Wildcats Coach Jeff Herron recently announced his retirement.

Throughout the early 2000’s the Camden County Wildcats Football Program was a juggernaut under Jeff Herron. During his first tenure with the Wildcats, he won 12 straight region titles and 3 state championships.

Herron left the Camden County Wildcat football program after the 2012 season to pursue other coaching opportunities.

In 2021, it was announced that Camden was going to welcome Jeff Herron back home and offered him a second stint as Wildcats’ Head Coach, which Herron accepted.

In Herron’s second year he took the Wildcats to the second round of the GHSA playoffs, a feat that had not been accomplished since 2015.

This past season, Herron led the Wildcats to the Final Four of the GHSA playoffs, eventually losing to powerhouse Walton. The Wildcats were the only team from their region to advance that far in the playoffs.

The legendary coach retires with a career record of 335-69.

Before the second go around with Camden, Herron’s last head coaching job was at T.L. Hanna High School in South Carolina and in 2 years there he amassed a 25-2 record. A year before that he won his 5th state championship with Grayson in Atlanta going 14-1.

Herron was the Head Coach at Oconee High School from 1997 to 1999 and won his first state title there. He went 33-6 at Oconee. When Herron took over the Oconee program the school had won a total of 8 games in 4 years.

During Herron’s first stay in Kingsland, he had a record 154-18. At one point the Wildcats won 58 straight regular season games under Herron, which is a Georgia record.

Herron had the Wildcats ranked inside the top 25 nationally six different seasons and the Camden program was named the program of the decade in the state of Georgia in the 2000’s.

The Wildcat program is looking to become a consistent state power once again and have returned to their roots to do so.

When the Camden administration hired Jeff Herron they asked him to get the football program moving in the right direction again. As always, Jeff Herron over-delivered. He amassed a 23-15 record in his second stint as Wildcats coach.

In his illustrious coaching career Herron only suffered one losing season ever, that was 2021, his first season back as head coach. The Wildcats still made the playoffs that season, finishing 4-7.

Herron leaves the program in far better shape than he found it.

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