High School Sports

Former Tiger, NFL star Davis big hit with players at North-South preparations

MYRTLE BEACH -- One of the big hits for the North team this week was not one made on the field, although it's been mentioned more than once that Northwestern linebacker Jerel Miller lowered the boom on one of his teammates Monday.

This hit was Dexter Davis, a former North-South All-Star, who played at Sumter High School. From there, Davis moved on to Clemson, where he was an all-American defensive back. He played five seasons in the NFL with the Cardinals and Rams.

Davis was in town representing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He gave devotion for the North team Monday and Tuesday, watched practice and ate several meals with the players.

Tuesday at breakfast. Davis quickly ate before working the tables to talk to the players one more time before heading home.

"He was very hands on with the kids,'' said Tommy Mitchell, a long-time escort for the North. "He was the defensive MVP when he played in the game. I think Dexter must have spoken individually to each player.

"He told them that they could go as far as they want, but not to just count on football. He stressed the importance of good grades. He showed several kids moves that would improve their games. And he told them importance of letting God into their lives.''

• BIG HIT II: As stated above, Miller is a hitter and was told to take it easy on his teammates so none of them would get injured and miss Saturday's game.

Miller is one of several North linebackers that could end up being the best group to ever play in the game.

Another is Lancaster's Dawan Thompson, who is called "Superman'' by his teammates. One of the Bruins' assistant coaches was at practice and asked Thompson if he was stressing because he wasn't getting to lift weights every day.

Get the picture?

"Our linebackers are big, strong, fast and ready to start hitting the other team,'' Thompson said. "I feel really good about our unit, and we have some really good players.

"There's Jerel, everybody knows about Jerel; Columbia's Lorenzo Boyles, Daniel's Wynton Botchway and of course, Northwestern's Hakeem Adams. We are a bunch of heavy hitters.''

• MR. VERSATILE: Lewis- ville's Isaiah Johnson played quarterback and defensive back for the Lions.

I don't care where they put me because I'm happy just to be here,'' said Johnson, who ran for 995 yards this season. "And it's good to have Josh Lynn here. He plays for Great Falls, so we are rivals. But we've been friends for several years.

"This is a great atmosphere, and it's been great meeting new players, some I've heard or read about all season. And the coaches are great. They are tough, but they're making it fun.''

• DOUBLE TAKE: Lynn has a striking likeness to Rock Hill tight end Asa Watson, who will play in next week's Shrine Bowl.

It's such a close resemblance, that if they Lynn and Watson stood side-by-side, you'd think they were brothers, maybe even twins.

Rock Hill's roster lists Watson at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. Lynn, a defensive end, is 6-5, 240.

• ALL-REGION: Gaffney coach Phil Strickland left for home after watching his two players practice. He said when he got there he'd e-mail the All-Region 3-AAAA team.

Strickland is a man of his word. The list arrived and included four North-South players -- Northwestern's Miller and Adams, and Gaffney's Emison Hughes and John Michaels.

Northwestern's Jimmy Wallace was named Coach of the Year. Trojans running back Jarrett Neely was named Player of the Year. He'll play in next week's Shrine Bowl.